In recent times, you often hear people talk about the Internet of Things, aka IoT, which is nothing more than its acronym. You begin to find this word a bit everywhere and sometimes without having the slightest idea what they’re talking about. In this article you will see in more detail what the Internet of Things is, and how it is gradually more and more influencing your lives.
What is the Internet of Things
This term was coined for the first time in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, an engineer, so as you see it is not really a term was created recently, but it has almost twenty years of use. This term is coming back into vogue precisely because the progress that communication between objects is doing. In fact, if the years between 2000 and 2010 were the decade of the ” Internet of People “, ie the development of technologies designed to increase and facilitate communication between people via the internet (just think of the social networks and smartphones) this decade, however around the world focused on the development of technologies to create a communication between objects, precisely the Internet of Things.
So if you want to give a more accurate definition of the Internet of Things (IoT), you could say that “it is a network of physical objects like devices, vehicles, buildings and other items, all fully integrated with electronic components, sensors, software and connectivity the network that enables exchange and collection of data“.
The development of the Internet of Things: the numbers
The Internet of Things is growing gradually more and more, involving more and more existing technologies, and manufacturing processes and sales. There is no field of activity where the IoT is not involved, or that are not affected by the innovations that this new “philosophy” is making.
The complex electronic equipment such as computers or smartphones, have been the first to be involved in this trend, but the Internet of Things has certainly not stopped here: vehicles, measuring devices and appliances are those on which there is a greater focus at this time. Also in the near future, many other common objects come into this context (clothing, street lighting, public works, etc ..)
The numbers are staggering, it is expected that in 2020 the interconnected devices together will be about 50 billion (Steve Weinwright, general manager of Freescale Semiconductor EMEA).
What is the role that human beings play? IoT and remote control
The Internet of Things is therefore a communication network between the various objects, with the exchange of information and data. But what role does the human being in all this? Well, it is not easy to make a prediction of how our society will be affected by these innovations. The conditions can be good or bad, as in all things, depends on the use made of it.
However, the more incisive aspect is that the IoT will allow to increase the control over the objects also “remotely”, increasing the reception and the exchange of information with the objects. Furthermore objects should control themselves more “autonomously” without that whenever expect man’s decision to carry out the operations. So the keywords should be more control and automation. This should improve the level of people’s lives, changing gradually more and more the approach it with everyday objects.
The only concern is the risk, if you overdo it, you come remotely controlled, but that’s a risk you have, and that there has been, since we opened the world to the Internet, and perhaps even earlier. So we’re optimistic, and we see things in the good wind of the innovation.
The IoT bases – sensors e microprocessors
The IoT bases – sensors and microprocessors
So far you have read the communication between objects, and remote control, but in reality the IoT is also aimed at collecting data. In fact, in a particular IoT it will rely on sensors. Or rather, on the millions of data these sensors collect every day to come in later elaborated and translated into actions.
Thanks to the thrust of the Internet of Things, this decade is proving itself as the golden era of the sensors. Many innovative types of sensors are developed. Sensors that until a few years ago were unthinkable. Especially their size goes away increasingly miniaturizing and also the costs are lowered. These sensors will have to adapt to all our everyday objects, even including clothing.
But not only the sensors, but also microcontrollers are gradually more and more lowering of price and becoming smaller. The Kinetis KL03, get to 1.6x2mm and fits comfortably within the dimple of a golf ball.
Three factors to be solved for successful IoT
The further development and spread in society of IoT technologies will have to play on 3 factors. Soon These factors will play a key role and if they are not addressed properly, these will become soon bottlenecks.
- Computer literacy
- The communication protocols
- The bandwidth capacity
Computer literacy is an important factor because it takes account of who will be the users of this technology. Despite the new generations and the development of more and more intuitive interfaces, sometimes the technological leaps and their consequences can weigh in misunderstandings by society.
The currently used communication protocols are too numerous and too dependent by manufacturers. Even here, it is necessary, as it was in other fields, standardize and uniform as possible. Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE, RFID, NFC, Bluetooth and ZigBee are only the most famous of these protocols, and if the languages are to humans, the protocols are to objects, then when objects speak different languages, they do not understand each other.
It will be necessary to develop standards soon to put an end to this Babel of protocols.
The bandwidth capacity is another technological factor that could soon turn into a limit. The greater the number of objects (device) or “Things” that will be in communication, the greater the bandwidth required. An adequate infrastructure of networks will soon be required to manage such a huge amount of information. It must also be capillary and cover every possible area. Also the security of this band will be a very important aspect, since the control objects in malevolent way can lead to serious consequences. In this regard the United States, Japan and South Korea are at the forefront of the development of such infrastructures and already benefit from good levels. Italy unfortunately is not taking it seriously, and risks falling behind, losing large market share worldwide in the next 20 years.
This article described what the IoT only in general terms, and therefore the argument analysis would be necessary in more detail, although it would require too much space and time to be reported even in a single post. Probably in the future, we will publish some articles that describe the IoT in small areas with concrete examples of innovative technologies.[:]