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(IoT) Internet of Things

This phrase is quickly getting traction among tech enthusiasts and the common fellows alike. There are many advantages that have been put forward and security risks as well as compromises that now more than ever seem to be taking root. Leading tech industries are moving their resources to achieve the feat of connecting electronic devices from computers to cameras to microwaves and spoons – we don’t have smart spoons yet, but who knows what the future holds. The question that arises here is this; why is this so important? Let us demystify the concept and understand why it has become so important in the recent past.

In very simple terms, IoT is an interconnection of everyday-use devices over the internet enabling them to send and receive data. These everyday-use devices include smartphones, watches, household systems and security systems among others. This has caused the extension of networking services beyond standard devices such as desktops, laptops and smartphones into new horizons of household items and linked systems.

In the early days of the internet and prior to the year 2003, the most widely know devices that could connect to the internet we computers in the desktop and laptop categories. One of the greatest inhibitor to connecting mobile phones (cellphones) to the internet was the technologies required to make the motherboard of computers fit onto a small device like a mobile phone. This was a challenge in the case that such devices had to be produced in large scale. Technology was not there yet and production was expensive.

To realize the ability to produce microprocessors – smaller than regular laptop microprocessors – and regulate the amount off heat produced as such devices worked was an uphill battle. How could it have been possible to fit a fan into a mobile phone, for example? Technology eventually got there leading to the production of the very first smartphones that were damn expensive. With advancement in technology, the processors became even smaller and it became even possible to fit a full motherboard on an area smaller than the processor of a desktop. So, we can have any device with a chip making it possible to communicate over the internet? Yes!

As I said earlier, even spoons shall be smart in the future – possibly. What I mean is that you can have any primitive appliance in your household turned smart and with current advancements, this is becoming a reality each day.

But having these devices connect to the internet could not be enough. There would be need to have some seamless communication between devices belonging to the same person. For example, it would be very useful if I could start typing this paragraph and … finish typing on my smartphone without really logging in or needing to verify it is me on the smartphone every time. I could do it seamlessly within my household. I could turn off the security system from my office to allow a person into my house without compromising the overall security of the house. I could even cook on my way home without having to carry around my oven in the car. That seamless communication is the point here.

The communication of devices in a seamless fashion over the internet or even a local network is the aim of this phrase. Remote monitoring and control also comes up and make no mistake, even dumb devices can be made smart. All this is possible by embedding capable hardware into devices.

The applications of IoT are diverse. Not only is it applied to home appliances but there are hundreds of sectors where it is embraced ranging from manufacturing, health, agriculture, telecommunications, hospitality and so many more. IoT allows seamless communication of devices over the internet – it makes your work so easy.

Sure enough, with all these goodies there must be some cons, and there are. The major concern is security because with the internet, the risk of a cyber attack is 100% present. Of course, there are protocols in place to ensure that cyber security for IoT devices is present but with technology, there is always going to be an ever-present risk. Make sure to observe guidelines of the products you purchase. That’ll be all for now.

Gichuki P. Mwangi

A computer scientist with a passion to solve real world, day to day problems using new computer technologies and those already in existence.

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