Things have come a long way since life was changed by the invention of the world wide web in 1989. Now it is estimated roughly 4.66 billion people around the world use the internet – almost 60 per cent of global population. With more people using the internet and many having more than one device, the way they interact with each other and share data led to the development of the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT).

What is the Internet of Things?

The IoT is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “objects with computing devices in them that are able to connect to each other and exchange data using the internet”.

The rise in smart technology has led to most of our devices being in some way capable of connecting to the internet and other devices. The IoT is the network created by these users and devices, all of which share data.

IoT Uses in business

Connected equipment can give businesses much greater insight into their operations and the way customers engage with their product or service.

It can also improve efficiency and productivity and help guard against potential downtime. However, purchasing equipment capable of doing this work is not always expensive.

Raspberry Pi is a low-cost, credit-card sized computer that is considered the next generation of IoT devices. It can be held in the palm or be plugged into a computer monitor and can perform all the tasks that would be expected of a typical computer.

Uses at home

Examples of where you can find the IoT at home include:

  • Lightbulbs that can be switched on using a smartphone app.
  • A refrigerator that can add food to your shopping list when you start to run low
  • Fitness devices that monitor your activity and heart rate

Through the IoT, a device with an alarm clock – such as a voice assistant – could in also turn on your lights on in the morning and recommend a breakfast based on what’s in your fridge and your physical condition at that time.

Future of IoT

Fifth generation (5G) mobile connectivity is rolling out into the mainstream and is expected to boost the IoT by offering lower latency data transmission, higher speeds and better coverage.

The proliferation of 5G will therefore help in the drive in the development of smart cities, which will heavily rely on the IoT to function. It is already happening in some places, with Singapore using a Smart Nation Sensor Platform to gather, analyse and share data from connected sensors and devices to improve urban planning, transport and public safety.

The IoT is gradually moving into new areas of life but its future leans heavily on other technology evolving the same pace.