IoT is a broad term, often defined in different ways. To get a good understanding of what the Internet of Things actually is, it’s best to break the term down into few parts.
What is referred to as a “Thing” in the Internet of Things are objects, animals and even people equipped with smart devices (sensors) to collect certain information. So that thing could be either a fridge that uses a smart module or an animal with a smart band applied to it that monitors its vital functions. Devices communicate to send and receive data. In order for them to communicate, they need a network connection, and this is referred to as the “Internet” in IoT. This connection can be made with a variety of data transmission technologies. We can mention Wi-Fi, 5G networks, Bluetooth, as well as more specialised protocols such as Zigbee, which, thanks to its low power consumption, is great for IoT devices where lifespan is of key importance, or Z-Wave often used in smart building systems.
It’s a good idea to mention here that not every IoT device needs to have direct access to the Internet. The data collected by IoT devices is then uploaded and analysed. In order to efficiently collect and analyse large data sets, as well as to ensure high system scalability, cloud technologies are often used. In this case, Internet of Things devices can send data to the cloud via an API ( (API gateway). This data is then processed by various software and analytical systems. Big Data, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are used to process data.
IoT has many various applications, using household items, lighting or biometric devices, to name a few.
The figure above shows 101 terms related to the Internet of Things, divided into categories. It’s plain to see that there are many technologies associated with IoT, ranging from connectivity issues, data processing and analysis to security and IoT network architecture. We will not describe the above-mentioned technologies in this article, but we should bear in mind what an immensely extensive field IoT is and how many other technologies are involved.
The Internet of Things is developing at a very fast pace, recording high annual growth rates. According to various estimates, the IoT market will grow at a rate of 30 per cent in the next few years, and in Poland this rate could reach up to 40 per cent. By 2018, there were around 22 billion connected Internet of Things devices, and it is estimated that this number could be up to as many as 38.6 billion devices by 2025.
The Internet of Things in the future
The Internet of Things is finding its way into more and more areas of our lives. Household goods and lighting items are things we use pretty much every day. If we add some “Intelligence” to ordinary objects, it becomes easier to manage the entire ecosystem of our home or flat. As a result, we will be able to optimise the costs of equipment wear and tear and their working time. The collection of huge amounts of data, which will then be processed and analysed, is expected to bring about even better solutions in the future. In recent years, it’s often been mentioned that “Data is the gold of the 21st century.” and IoT is also used to collect this data. With IoT progressing like that, it won’t be long before smart devices are with us in the vast majority of our daily activities.
Controversy around the Internet of Things
The development of the Internet of Things will bring many changes to everyday life. The biggest problem with this is security. Because of the amount of data collected by devices, which very often have no or very low levels of security, exposes the user to breach or having no control over such data. Another issue is the dispute over who should have access to the data. Questions of morality are raised here, such as whether large corporations should be able to eavesdrop on the user on a daily basis. The companies explain their modus operandi by the fact that the data collected is a tool for the development of the offered services.
Opponents, on the other hand, see it the other way around, considering an intrusion into user privacy and uncertainty with where the collected data may end up. However, a new avenue is emerging, namely – the use of blockchain technology to securely store data in the IoT network. By using a decentralised blockchain network, there will be no central entity with control over user data. The technology also ensures the non-repudiation of the data, meaning the certainty that the data has not been modified by anyone.
Who will benefit form the Internet of Things?
IoT is targeting different industries. Solutions are being developed for both the consumer market and the business market. The companies involved in this area will have a substantial platform to develop their solutions. The upcoming revolution will also change many areas of our lives. Also, the ordinary user will also get something out it, as he or she will have access to many solutions that will make his or her life easier. The Internet of Things presents tremendous opportunities, but there is no denying that it can also bring entirely new risks. So – in theory – the IoT will benefit everyone. You can read more about the security of IoT devices in our article.
BFirst.Tech and IoT
As a company specialising in the new technology sector, we are not exactly sleeping on the subject of IoT either. Working with Vemmio, we are developing the design of a voice assistant to manage a house or flat in a Smart Home formula. Our solution will implement a voice assistant on the central control device of the Smart Home system. Find out more about our projects here.
With biometric authentication, the first thing that gets checked is the voice that issued the command to activate the device. If the voice authentication is positive, the device is ready to operate and issue commands through which home appliances can be managed. That’s exactly the idea behind the Smart Home. This solution makes it possible to manage a flat or smaller segments of it or even an entire building.
Individual household appliances, lighting or other things are configured with a device that helps us manage our farm. This is the technical side, where the equipment has to be compatible with the management device. This puts the control centre in one place, and today operating entire system can be managed with a smartphone is already a standard. With the voice assistant feature, the entire system can be controlled without having to physically use the app. Brewing coffee in the coffee machine, adjusting the lighting or selecting an energy-saving programme will be all possible with voice commands.