Technology is changing the world at a rapid pace. It seems like only yesterday that mobile phones first became popular, and now we have smartphones and tablets that are capable of controlling devices around the home. The future has arrived, but things are going to get even more exciting now that the Internet of Things (IoT) is about to take off in a big way.
The IoT refers to the way in which everyday devices will soon be able to connect to the internet. At the moment, it is more common for devices such as computers, tablets, phones and watches to connect to the internet. But this is now changing, and an increasing number of everyday devices are getting connected.
In theory, any device will soon be able to connect to the internet. By making a device capable of transmitting Wi-Fi signals, that device can become part of the IoT. This has not become mainstream yet, but it is already happening.
For example, fridges, freezers and washing machines are increasingly appearing with internet capabilities. Some run on Google’s Android system and incorporate apps in the same way as smartphones. This could allow your fridge to remind you of purchases you need to make. In the future, perhaps your fridge will order your shopping for you automatically.
There are many ways in which the IoT will help us to save time, resources and money as it becomes more commonplace in everything we do.
Take the Nest Learning Thermostat, for example. Yes, the IoT is even being put to use in a thermostat. This thermostat can program itself and turn itself down when you are not in. It learns your preferences, and as a result it can help you to reduce your energy usage. This could become a simple way to cut back on your energy expenses, saving you a considerable amount of money.
The IoT will also help in industry where sensors can be used to keep closer track of systems. For example, in Philadelphia they are estimating saving $1m a year due to the implementation of sensors in bins to tell them when they need to deploy a bin lorry.
Smart lighting is another area where money could be saved. Lighting used in buildings and in public areas could turn on and off, or vary in intensity, according to the surrounding conditions, reducing the amount of energy used to power them.
Another area that is generating increasing interest is self-driving cars. These will be able to communicate with each other and use the information to take the quickest routes. They may also cut down on fuel costs by driving in a more fuel-efficient manner.
Even cars that are not self-driving could use sensors to provide feedback on the driver’s habits to help them improve their driving, save fuel and reduce wear and tear, with all the information sent directly to their smartphone app.
The IoT is already here, and the truth is that it has been around for years already. However, clearly not many people have fridges and washing machines that connect to the internet yet, and there are probably a few years to go before it takes off in a big way. When it does, it will surely lead to many improvements in the way we go about our daily lives, both in ways that we predict and in other ways that we do not yet even know about.