What is the IoT?

Karolina Walczewska, 9 September 2020

IoT is a shortcut for the Internet of Things. This term is one of the newest IT concepts, and it is becoming more and more popular all around the world. The notion of an Internet of Things was presented to the market in 1999 by Kevin Ashton – British businessman and startups founder. He explained IoT as a “system where the Internet is connected to the physical world via ubiquitous sensors”. Nowadays, in major simplification, the IoT can be defined as a set or system of electronic devices that automatically communicate and exchange data with each other thanks to their internetworked relationships. Whereas the user of this technology has the ability to control these devices via the Internet and a dedicated application. Such solutions are implemented in projects associated with Smart Cities, Smart Homes, or Smart means of transport. According to various forecasts about devices connected to the Internet in 2020, such devices account for over 30 billion.

What exactly means IoT?

Despite the fact that a large part of the society still doesn’t know the term of IoT and what it means, a vast majority of them use such devices every day, often without knowing it. IoT devices can be divided into two categories. The first one is the devices intended for everyday usage. Such a category includes smartphones, smartwatches, Smart Home devices like smart refrigerators sending notifications about lack of products and shopping lists, smart cars that propose a change of road with up-to-date information about traffic and traffic jams, or intelligent heating and lighting that help to reduce energy consumption and also bills. IoT means also the conception of Smart Cities equipment with some sensors, thanks to which, the city is able to direct traffic to avoid traffic jams or manage water supply to reduce pointless consumption of water.

The second category is the devices dedicated to professional usage, that is, all industrial equipment, including various types of robots on production lines equipped with sensors that send data about the production, about problems, and ways of solving them (the devices informs, among others, about the consumption of consumables, or when inspection and maintenance are needed). This helps to optimize work and reduce possible production downtime.

The advantages and disadvantages of IoT

The IoT systems and devices certainly offer a lot of benefits to their users. Thanks to such solutions, many companies can sense possible problems in a short period of time, make a better decision based on reliable and detailed data, and also increase profitability and productivity, as well as decrease costs. The Smart Home and Smart Cities solutions help households and cities reduce the usage of electrical energy and water, and thus reduce costs. The network of smart sensors is able to sense acts of vandalism and crime, and even guide the car to the nearest available parking spot.

All benefits mentioned above point to the assertion that implementing IoT solutions brings numerous advantages. That’s why, in the nearest future they will become common things, used in every city, household, and company.

However, bear in mind that using IoT systems has some disadvantages. Among the most commonly reported are threats associated with security and privacy, meaning that some confidential data might end up with the wrong person. Such electronic devices gather huge amounts of data, often confidential, explaining why many entrepreneurs hesitate to implement such solutions quickly. Moreover, many people who use Smart Home devices face these problems, when it comes to such systems that control their home’s front door locks, for example. That’s why it’s very important to implement IoT services from proven, respected, and experienced suppliers, who will secure a given IoT system at the appropriate level and provide programming support in the field of modernization or updating.