The Internet of Things is a phrase largely attributed to being created by Cisco in the early part of the 21st century to describe the emerging trend for more and more “dumb” devices to contain internet connection functionality.
To begin with we had smart TV’s and Fridges, but the lowering cost of internet bandwith, the cheapness of “simple IoT operating systems" on devices and the improvements in battery life, have lead to an explosion int IoT devices.
Today we have internet connectivity in everything from Fridges to Fish Tanks. The true value of these capabilities is yet to be clearly understood and the risks are not clearly understood:
- What value does an internet connected washing machine give that it couldn’t provide by beeping when it’s finished a load?
- Being able to set my house temperature remotely has value – but how much and is it worth the cost of retrofitting the entire house ?
- What are security implications of all this internet connectivity ?
There are broadly 4 “Models” for the connection of the internet of Things:
- Smart, modern high powered devices such as Smart Phone’s, tablets, TV’s , typically these will use WiFi/Cellular or wired connections to the internet. They require large band-with, significant battery power and can transfer large amounts of rich data, over existing broadband technologies
- Smart sensor networks with low power requirements and in theory a low cost. These devices typically send small amounts of data infrequently and will use emerging IoT specific networks like LoRaWAN, NB-IoT and Sigfox, or the emerging 5G IoT networks.
There is an excellent primer on the difference between the three main approaches to IoT available from Link Labs here.