The Internet of Things (IoT) is a giant system of interrelated, smart devices, machines, buildings or people, that are provided with software, electronics, sensors and network connection in order to exchange data.
Each thing in the Internet of Things is provided with a unique identifier and the ability to automatically transfer data over a network. In the Internet of Things, a thing can be anything: a person with a heart monitor implant, a car with built-in sensors that alerts the driver when something doesn’t work properly, an alarm clock that wakes you up and then notifies the coffee maker to start preparing the coffee, a refrigerator that knows that you are running low on supplies and automatically re-orders more, smart thermostats that regulate heating, farm animals with biochip transponders etc.
This process of data exchange does not require interaction between humans or between humans and computers and everything is controlled remotely across network. Therefore, the Internet of Things allows the integration of the physical world into the computer-based systems, creating a world of cyber-physical systems, such as smart homes, smart cities and smart transportation. According to experts’ estimations, by 2020 the Internet of Things will consist of almost 50 billion objects.
The Internet of Things is a major breakthrough, that is changing the way we live and work. People are not very accurate when it comes to capturing data about things in the real world. So, if the computers automatically gather all necessary data, they can offer us all necessary information about the things around us. That means less waste, loss and cost.
The Internet of Things opens the door to great opportunities, but also raises concerns about data security, data sharing and privacy. Another issue is that the Internet of Things will generate vast amounts of data that will have to be tracked, analyzed and stored. Yet, for now there is no secure answer on these subjects and the best thing we can do is understand the Internet of Things and predict the potential impacts on our life and work.