What is the Internet of Things (also referred to as IoT) and why does it matter? Furthermore, what does it have to do with home automation?
In this article we are going to answer every one of the above questions in brief but thorough detail.
In a world as interconnected as ours, it must stand to reason that modern home technology makes use of this interconnection. Now, this ‘interconnection’ is basically what the Internet of Things is. According to Wikipedia, the definition of the Internet of Things is: ‘the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity—that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.’
So what it is really is a wide network of devices linked to each by the Internet. It could mean several smart devices in your home linked by Wi-Fi, it could mean your smartphone’s GPS linked to satellite networks allowing you to make use of applications such as Google Maps, in order to reach your destination.
From the above examples, you’re probably already getting an idea of why it’s important and how it impacts you personally. The idea behind it is ‘anything that can be connected will be connected.’ This idea is definitely getting widespread as projects like Google’s Project Loon and Facebook’s Free Basics raise awareness of the importance of an Internet connection. With broadband connections becoming commonplace in most delevoped and developing countries, as well as the spread of wireless Internet networks and smart devices, the range of devices and people connected by the Internet is wide and everyday getting wider. In fact, the analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will be around 26 billion interconnected devices.
The term ‘the Internet of Things’ was first used by Kevin Ashton, a British entrepreneur as well as co-founder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, in a presentation in 1999. He explained its application thusly:
‘Today computers — and, therefore, the Internet — are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture or scanning a bar code.
The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy — all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things — using data they gathered without any help from us — we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.’*
Now we come to another function. What does the Internet of Things have to do with home automation? Well, from the above explanations you can see that the network of interconnected devices can be used to great effect inside a home. Light switches, thermostats, even your coffee maker could be controlled through a smart device. Your home itself would become a network. Your devices would share and collect data from you thereby making sure your preferences are not just remembered, but followed. This is the basis of most Smart Homes today.
The IoT is of course subject to much controversy. There are security issues as well as objections to what people see as an easy way to gain control and manipulate data.
Despite the controversy, the Internet of Things remains the next step in the technological revolution.
At Silvan we use this complex interconnection of smart devices or the IoT to bring you a Smart Home experience unlike any other. We have taken the utmost care and precision to make sure your house is not only interconnected but safe and efficient. When you want to take the next step towards the future, choose smart, choose Silvan.