Over 127 devices connect to the Internet using IoT technology every second.  That is an astounding figure that should help explain how popular the Internet of Things has become.  It’s little wonder that IoT technology will connect over 64 billion devices by 2025.  By 2035, the United States will boast 29% of the world’s autonomous, self-driving vehicles.

You’ve no doubt heard the term “Internet of Things” thrown around quite a bit in recent years.  If you’re uncertain what it means and wondering how it affects you, then keep reading.  In this guide, we’ll explore what IoT is, how it’s applied, and what it means for you.

What is the Internet of Things?

Digital devices are no longer limited to the smartphones in our pockets.  They’re now in our homes, cars, and more.  To give you a simple definition: the Internet of Things is a collective network made up of digital devices connected to the Internet.  These devices collect and share data without any need for human assistance.

IoT Examples

Many different types of devices can connect to the Internet and become part of the IoT.  The possibilities are limitless when it comes to the IoT.  The most common example of a device using IoT technology is your smartphone.  Your phone connects to the Internet and can keep track of a variety of things, such as your local time, your current geographical location, how many steps you’ve taken in a day, and far more than can be listed here.

Other examples of popular IoT devices include:

  • laptops
  • refrigerators
  • smartwatches
  • thermostats
  • Alexa

Almost anything can be turned into an IoT device if it can connect to the Internet.  For example, if you have a smartphone app that lets you turn on your room light, then that lightbulb is an IoT device.

How IoT Technology is Changing the World

The Internet of Things is beginning to affect all aspects of our lives.  IoT sensors can help provide real-time data to both you and law enforcement for your home security system.  Ever lose a pet? Thanks to the Internet of Things, you can now track a beloved lost pet if it’s given an Internet-linked chip or collar.  There are many new IoT projects in the works.  All of them aim to improve and simplify our lives in one way or another.

As a consumer, we can use the IoT to help us make doctor appointments, monitor our heart health, or let us know when our car’s air filter needs changing.  The Internet of Things can also aid businesses. IoT can streamline certain processes, such as tracking supplies and auto-ordering inventory.  IoT companies can automate much of their production through the use of smart machinery.

The field of agriculture even stands to benefit from the IoT.  Farmers can use IoT devices to monitor soil health, track the weather, and control irrigation and fertilizer systems.  For example, if an IoT device senses that heavy rains are on the way tomorrow, it can save on water expenses by turning off the irrigation for that day and instead let natural rainwater do the job.

IoT devices stand to have a profound impact on how healthcare is approached.  Doctors can now monitor a patient’s health at home, thanks to them wearing a portable IoT device.  Patients can regain a bit of their independence and freedom.  Should a patient experience a heart attack, their device can send an instant alert for help to 911.

Manufacturing has perhaps made the most significant leaps in IoT technology.  Manufacturers were among the first to adopt the Internet of Things in production.  Thanks to the IoT, a factory can automate the production of goods from start to finish.  The manufacturer can track a product from the factory floor, through its delivery route, to placement on a store shelf.  This allows business owners to judge their supply chain better.  With the IoT able to gather information on travel time and remaining inventory levels, manufacturers are better able to reduce lost resources and waste.

The Hidden Dangers of IoT

Security is a looming worry with the Internet of Things.  Most smart devices are collecting personal and private data about our lives.  Yet many devices are lacking in security, failing to even so much as encrypt data.  If a device can connect to the internet, then hackers can target said device.  What does this mean for you?

Let’s say you have a smart home.  If a hacker can break into your home system, they could take control of your home’s security system and use the security cameras to spy on you.  There is already a case of a stranger hacking a Seattle couple’s baby monitor.  The hacker used the monitor to spy on the couple’s 3-year-old daughter.

Even businesses have fallen prey to security breaches in their IoT devices.  In 2014, Target was hacked through its HVAC vendor.  The hackers then proceeded to steal all of Target’s customer’s personal information.  IoT technology helps to combine the digital and physical world.  This is why the danger of an IoT device being hacked can lead to serious real-world problems.  The Internet of Things will need to strengthen its security as it continues to grow into mainstream use.  Otherwise, the threat of someone taking control of a driverless car could lead to fatal consequences.

The Future of IoT

IoT technology has come a long way and will continue to grow in prevalence.  The Internet of Things will bring drastic changes to both our professional and personal lives.  These innovations are meant to help improve the quality of our lives by giving us more control over our environment and making tasks more efficient and streamlined.

Though the IoT introduces new security concerns, Safe Systems understands the security risks associated with it and we take steps to make sure that our solutions are secure. Call to talk to one of our business security experts today at 1.800.466.7519.

About Safe Systems, Inc.

Safe Systems is one of the largest alarm firms in Colorado.  It has been family-owned since 1982.  Safe Systems provides business alarmsfire alarmscard accesssecurity cameras, and home security systems.  Our main office is in the Denver metro area.  We service all of Denver, Boulder County, Northern Colorado, the Eastern Plains, and Colorado Springs.