“There will be no alarm in your wake-up routine – at least, not in the traditional sense. Instead, you’ll be roused by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, by light entering your room as curtains open automatically, and by a gentle massage administered by your high-tech bed. You’re most likely to awake refreshed, because inside your mattress there’s a special sensor that monitors your sleeping rhythms, determining precisely when to wake so as not to interrupt an REM cycle.”
“Suppose while you are going to office, traffic signal board is guiding you what route to follow to avoid traffic.”
How does this world look? Futuristic? Or do you think we are pretty close to this future? I think we are somewhere in the middle – our world should look like this in 5 – 8 years from now! All thanks to “Internet of Things”.
WHAT IS IOT?
Internet of Things refers to network of objects, each of which has a unique IP address & can connect and communicate with each other via internet. These objects can be people, animal and day to day devices like your refrigerator and your coffee machine.
The IoT creates an intelligent and invisible network that can be sensed, controlled and programmed.
Imagine a world where every small thing in your home is connected to internet and is speaking to each other – the coffee maker, refrigerator, doors, heating units, your watering system, your weighing scale, your car, mobile phone, watch, TV, your wardrobe, your house cleaning machines, everything on a single network and all interacting and communicating with each other.
If this sounds like a scene from the movie Transformers – its not! It is much closer to reality than you would think.
WHAT CAN THESE DEVICES DO?
There is no rule which defines what these devices can or cannot do. So, it is pretty much open to your imagination. However, here are a few obvious things, which come to my mind:
• These devices would interact and communicate – to humans or to other machines, as appropriate.
• These devices would have sensors to capture data – it could be your heart beat, your temperature or the traffic in front of the car.
• These devices would be able to compute. Driverless cars would do the route planning and collision avoidance all by themselves.
• Storage of data
• These would have embedded controllers to switch things on and off.
DAILY LIFE APPLICATIONS:
• As soon as you close the door to go out of home, it asks all the energy units in the house – lighting, heater, stove, refrigerator to go into energy preservation mode. When you come back, as you approach the door of your home, it senses your presence and automatically unlocks itself.
• Your wrist band senses when you fall asleep and automatically asks your headphones and lights in your room to switch off.
• The sensors in the soil of your garden gauge the level of moisture in soil and accordingly switch the watering unit – efficient watering of plants!
• Health care – Imagine your watch is monitoring your heart rate regularly and notifies you at the first instance of any irregularity. It can also shoot a message to your doctor and near by hospital.
• Smart cities – How about designing a city, which is thriving on this data to take decisions on its infrastructure? Which roads should be widened? Which routes need alternatives to ease traffic? What is the right location for a hospital? What should be its capacity? Imagine – all these decisions being made on data, with logical planning.
I am sure, you get the idea. Basically, Internet of Things (IoT) is set to change how we work and interact with the world in every possible manner.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES IN REALIZING INTERNET OF THINGS?
While the picture I painted is definitely rosy, there are a few significant challenges to overcome before we reach there.
• The first question to solve for is how do you get machines from different manufacturers to talk to each other? How do they communicate sensitive customer data across to each other? Who owns the data? Who can use the data? How?
• Privacy: Privacy would be shouting on top of their voices by now. Internet of things will expose whatever privacy is left today to be exposed – both at personal and industrial levels.
• Information Security: Each of these devices would have their own security challenges. Our PCs, Laptops and mobiles, even after years of efforts still have security challenges. With more devices coming on the internet, this challenge now goes to a different level. Imagine being driven around in a car which is hacked?
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