Imagine waking up promptly at 7:00 from your alarm. Your coffee is brewing and starting to fill the air as you go hop in the shower. You come back, cup already made and sugar added. That is perhaps the most basic consumer application that the Internet of Things (IoT) is able to make a possibility. Your alarm is connected to your coffee maker and when you set your alarm, your coffee maker knows to be ready with a nice hot cup 10 minutes later.
Next, let’s get a bit more advanced. Your car is now connected to your alarm system and is able to access the internet and know the temperature. It’s a chilling 4°C. You open your garage door, your alarm system recognizes this and sends a signal to your car. Your car, in turn, starts up and sets the heat going because it’s cold. Your garage door notices your car is on and within ten feet and up goes your door. All you had to do was walk out a door and suddenly everything is already ready for you to get going. Sure, this saves only about 30 seconds, but that’s just one example of just how connected things are able to become.
Now what about some real world, current uses. The first ever use of the Internet of Things was a coke machine at the Carnegie Mellon University in 1982. It was able to both report its inventory and whether newly loaded drinks were cold or not. Since then, the IoT has spread rapidly. We can now find it in loads of manufacturing, transportation, and monitoring technologies. Perhaps the biggest use of this though is in city infrastructure where variables constantly change on a second-by-second basis.
Not everything is perfect in this system though. With more devices connected, you’ve got more threats to your security. In theory, all someone would have to do is find the weak link in the chain to make it all come tumbling down. The IoT works better and better when more devices are connected, but it also makes it harder to secure. The potential for the IoT is amazing and probably the biggest leap in technology since we invented the internet, however, matching security with ease of use is not going to be simple.
We are living in an information age and the Internet of Things is the newest child of that age. It exists to give real-time data faster and easier than anything else. It’s not just the future, but the world we live in even now and it’s only just begun. 10 years from now, we might really be waking up with a fresh brewed cup just waiting for us.