If you're reading this article, then you've probably already heard of 'The Internet of Things (IoT)' but need a bit more clarity on what it actually is.
Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is inter-connecting and controlling any device via the internet. Such devices have fitted sensors to allow real-time collection of useful data that can be analysed, controlled and further used to our advantage. The device in question could be anything, from a smart phone, thermostat, watch, car or even a coffee-maker.
Now, why would we want a giant network of connected things and how can it work to our advantage?
Think of the possibilities - we could have intelligent devices around us, working for us as per our lifestyle and preferences – a coffee-maker that starts brewing your coffee and keeps it warm based on your wake-up alarm timings; a thermostat that controls your room temperature based on the weather conditions and your personal thermal preferences; a smart phone that communicates with your car's sensors to detect a car crash and automatically makes an emergency call; a refrigerator that updates you with a list of items to be bought from the groceries store (or directly places an online order to refill your supplies) .. the list could go on.
IoT has the potential to not only impact our day to day activities but also improve the way we work.
Businesses are slowly understanding the importance of adopting IoT and the benefits it can offer while bringing a significant competitive edge. Enterprise businesses have found effective use of IoT to make way for better decision-making with real-time data analysis. Industries have been able to reduce downtime, isolate risks and manage maintenance in a more efficient manner. IoT has been used for remote monitoring of energy consumption, which also results in cost savings. A number of retailers have already installed in-store location services to better understand their customer preferences and accordingly recommend product offerings.
According to Gartner, by the year 2020, there will be over 26 billion connected devices. With the easy availability of broadband networks and with most of our smart devices today already having Wi-Fi capabilities, this easily seems like a real possibility. Each of the IoT devices is assigned a unique identifier to allow all of the devices to communicate with one another. Now, you may wonder if it is indeed possible to have an address space assigned to each and every device in the world. This is possible by leveraging cloud technologies and with the use of Internet Protocol version 6 (or ipv6), which can accommodate billions of interconnected devices with its extended address capacity.
The advent of IoT will definitely offer endless opportunities in creating a smart and efficient world, however, it also brings along its share of risks and threats. In order to avoid exposing your organization from a catastrophic data breach, or having your personal information accessed in an inappropriate manner, it is essential to take preventive measures with the use of pre-authorized policy configurations and have strict regulations in place for controlled and secure data access.
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