In a nutshell, the Internet of Things (IoT) concept is about extending the internet to the physical objects surrounding us to make those objects even more useful. In some cases, it means adding sensors & connectivity to objects so they can monitor our environment and send the collected information to the Internet. In other cases, the objects will be connected so they can be activated/controlled from the Internet.
There are many description of the IoT, right now, but they all have a few things in common:
– Objects that are enhanced with sensors and with Internet connectivity
– A data repository where to store the information gathered by the objects.
– The ability to analyze the information and eventually trigger something in reaction to a given situation (some data threshold met)
As you can see from the examples, the IoT can be applied both to your personal life but also in a commercial context.
There are zillions of situations where the IoT could be applied.
For now, if you want to implement something in the IoT you will have to go for a custom solution. What I mean by that is that you will have to design and manufacture your own IoT objects and use your own communication protocols. But, as anything else, we should eventually see IoT standards emerge and I believe this is when it will become even more interesting for commercial applications.
Imagine if there was a standard to gather information from your weight scale at home. Your insurance company could use that information to make sure you are not suffering from overweight while your personal trainer, at the gym, could use the same information to monitor your progress. Today, you would most likely need 2 scales, one for the insurance company and a 2nd one for the gym! 🙂
What I also find interesting is the fact that the IoT will probably result in the apparition of a new kind of job. Implementing the IoT requires analysts who will know how to analyze the information gathered by the objects and make sense out of it. They will have to identify what data is relevant and when it should trigger some events. Then, that person will have to setup rules that will trigger some events when required (business event, having an IoT object doing something, …). Since the IoT objects will generate a lot of data, it is also very likely that this new kind of job will involve strong knowledge of BigData tools and concepts.
If you want to look at a simple example of DIY IoT object, have a look at that other post that I did previously.