What is the Internet of things and why it could revolutionize our lives

Alina de los Santos
8 min readApr 25, 2022

It’s Friday morning at 6 AM. My Apple Watch vibrates thus waking me up, I reach over and grab my iphone and check a sleep app which tells me how long I have slept and the quality of my sleep. I say my prayers with a prayer app, check email, alerts, messages and the like. I drag myself to the bathroom where I weigh myself and my connected scale automatically sends several body composition parameters to a health app on my phone. At breakfast I scan my granola bar with MyFitnessPal so I can keep track of my nutrients intake. Then I go to the gym where my watch keeps track of every step I take, calories I burn, monitors my heart rate and such. I listen to some podcast which streams from the cloud to my wireless headphones.

This is a sneak peek of a random morning at my place which hardly qualifies as a high tech laboratory. However, the app for my router shows 17 wireless clients, each one with its own IP address. Most of these use mobile apps and all of them make use of lots of data sources residing within IoT. As you can see, these provides us with new ways to access contect, gain insights and manage devices thus sparing us manual tasks and even energy. Needless to say, this overconnected reality is expanding. In this day and age there are smart toothbrushes and even toilets. Facial recognition cameras use IoT as well as surveillance robots and drones. This is not only limited to objects but even human beings and pets are microchipped. If there is a way to connect A to B, then there is a use for IoT.

Unfortunately, there is no single all encompassing definition of IoT. However, we can agree that it refers to objects (“things”) connected to each other through a global framework of storage, communication and computation. Among the many IoT devices there are we can name very diverse examples such as smartphones, door locks even shoes. But what these have in common is a chip that connects it to other devices thanks to a UID (unique identifier) as well as an IP address. They connect through wires and wireless tech such as satellites, wifi, Bluetooth or cellular networks. What is important to remember is that IoT allows data transfer, thus allowing computation, to another point in space.

Who watches the watcher?

However, security and privacy concerns are drastically altered by connected devices and ecosystems. Data is no longer stored locally within the confines of a device or an organization. Within IoT it moves across companies, computer systems, and, in many cases, general public infrastructure. It ends up in many databases, clouds, and other places such as storage devices It’s then recycled and blended with other materials. Adding to this confusión, manufacturers utilize a variety of standards, device designs, operating systems, and authentication criteria.

As a result, the Internet of Things has become a paradise for hacking, data breaches, malware, cyberattacks, snooping, and a variety of other controversial practices. Break-ins and other infractions have been reported in connected cars, webcams, video doorbells, medical gadgets, robots, and smartphone apps. Similarly, privacy is under attack like it has never been before. For example, in China, police officers now employ augmented reality glasses to spot suspects in crowds without the direct consent of the individual. Also, businesses in the United States have scraped pictures from public domain sources and used them in conjunction with AI for marketing studies.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a pushback. There are rising concerns about how corporations use and preserve data. IT companies and law enforcement are sparring over whether or not the police should have access to devices. Meanwhile, political bodies such as the European Union and the State of California are establishing strict legislation that restricts how firms can utilize data. Furthermore, customers and the US Congress are closely scrutinizing Facebook and other social media sites’ security and privacy rules.

Many people are clearly concerned about security and privacy in the Internet of Things era. Although a hacker taking control of a computer’s webcam may cause anxiety and creepiness, programming a vehicle’s brakes to fail or disrupting a pacemaker or other medical device might have fatal repercussions. Engineers, designers, developers, and security professionals must deal with a variety of security concerns in order to build confidence and adoption.

Emerging tech at the core of the IoT

Without mobility and wireless technologies, the Internet of Things would not be possible. However, it’s critical to remember that the Internet of Things is truly a set of interconnected technologies and frameworks. The IoT connects gadgets, data, and people in the same way that the Web connects computers and content. Furthermore, as more types of technology and systems interconnect — and data generation accelerates — this connected world gains power and value. The Internet of Things nowadays is based on a number of digital concepts and tools.

Automation. From the printing press to conveyer belts, history is littered with equipment and methods that aid with automation. When people are removed from a process, it frequently leads to improvements in speed, efficiency, safety, and cost. The concept is crucial in the IoT. The Carnegie Mellon researchers’ Internet-connected Coke machine wasn’t the only early attempt at automation. The OnStar system, which included remote diagnostics, was introduced by General Motors in 1996. Smart homes, smart buildings, and smart factories are all conceivable today thanks to automation. Lighting controls, smart speakers, security systems, smart appliances, and robots are among the objects it affects.

Computer Vision is a term that refers to the study of Sensors paired with AI algorithms allow computers to understand photos and movies in the same way that people do, but with often greater capabilities. Face recognition, assisting drones and autos in steering and avoiding collisions, and developing better machine learning models for assessing the accuracy of chemotherapy and other treatments through the analysis of photos and scans are all examples of how the technology is now being used. In industry, the method can increase the rate of fault identification by 90% or more.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a field that combines linguistics, computing, and artificial intelligence to detect and utilise human language. NLP interfaces such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are well-known examples. Voice interfaces, on the other hand, are becoming more common on connected devices and machines. Chatbots and automated online systems that require typing or speaking are also using the technology. Systems that identify emotions and sentiment are currently being developed by researchers.

Machine Learning is a term that refers to the study of This technology, which is a subset of AI, extrapolates and predicts future outcomes using mathematical models based on “training data.” Email filtering, computer vision, natural language processing, and a variety of other tasks are all made possible by this technology. Machine learning aids globally distributed systems in doing tasks without explicit programming in the Internet of Things. It’s very handy for telemetry, monitoring, and prediction.

Deep Learning is a term that refers to the study of To solve complex issues, this type of machine learning employs the human brain as a model. It mostly avoids rules in favor of graphical processing units (GPUs), which act as artificial neural networks. The technology solves complex computing problems using supervised (human oversight) and unsupervised (the system operates autonomously) learning, particularly in areas like computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, audio recognition, social network filtering, and machine translation.

Edge AI. Local task processing is becoming more common in digital gadgets. Sensors on a device, such as a robot or an autonomous car, provide this data. The results of the calculation are stored on the device by the edge AI system. It may also send this info to the cloud in some situations. This architecture enables devices to perform more quickly, intelligently, and efficiently while using less energy. It transforms the way self-driving cars work and extends the battery life of sensors for years.

3D printing is a method of producing three-dimensional objects. This technology, also known as additive manufacturing, allows for faster production and lower prices. It’s currently being utilized to make everything from household products to factory machine parts and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health-care professionals. Open source printing scripts make it simple to share ideas and quickly manufacture goods. This has far-reaching implications, particularly in the event of a crisis or pandemic, when supplies must be delivered quickly.

Mixed Reality (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR). The ability to add, alter, and merge the virtual and actual worlds is the power of AR and MR. In the consumer arena, AR is used in smartphone apps to enhance images, allow consumers to virtually try on clothing, and play games. Various glasses and goggles are used in the business world to assist with duties ranging from training to engineering. The Internet of Things makes this possible by gathering the appropriate data and transferring it to a device, where a rendering engine generates the text and visuals.

Blockchain. The distributed ledger technology, which was first linked to the digital currency Bitcoin, has a significant role to play in the Internet of Things. It can track and validate data as it moves from one device to another, as well as between databases and microservices. As a result, it can help with automation while also detecting tampering and other infractions. This is particularly beneficial in a highly decentralized IoT context, where data is frequently transferred between organizations, servers, and systems. A drinking water app developed by academics at Zhejiang University in China for schools is an example of Blockchain being used with IoT. Connected water filters, the Internet of Things, clouds, and blockchain are used to authenticate and automate data processing across 39 schools in Hangzhou’s Shangcheng District using encrypted algorithms and encrypted data in a blockchain. More than 40,000 pupils benefit from the system, which includes 326 IoT meters.

So…is IoT the main tool for a Brave New World?

We have entered the era of intelligent machines and networks. The Internet of Things has advanced to a degree of “smartness” that equals or exceeds human powers and cognition in many circumstances, thanks to sensors and artificial intelligence. There will be winners and losers in the introduction of any technology — the printing press, the cotton gin, the telephone, the vehicle, the computer, and the smartphone — just as there will be winners and losers in the introduction of any technology. Only time will tell whether or not a hyperconnected world truly is a better world.

Wanna know more? Check some of these interesting references I used!!