What is the Internet of Things? IoT explained in simple terms

04/01/2019     Author: Billy Gray

Any explanation for the Internet of Things found online is confusing enough to make you question your own IQ. We break it down simply in this article.

Perhaps you’ve heard the term Internet of Things (IoT) and took to Google as any good researcher does to find out what it’s all about. Only to be met with a slew of jargon and technical terms that make your head spin with the unnecessary articulation of it all.

That’s why were here. To give you the best tech tips and break down complex xxxx into simple, digestible nuggets of information.

IoT is an interesting topic, and one of importance as we become ever more connected via the internet. Read on to find out what it’s all about.

What is IoT? A simple explanation

Firstly, IoT stands for the Internet of Things, and shouldn’t be referred to as “the” IoT. I know what you’re thinking, “tell me something I don’t know random ghost blogger”. But it’s important to know these things if you plan on having a conversation around IoT one day.

So what exactly is IoT?

Here’s one of many fluff-filled definitions for IoT.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”

Emmm, what? If you had this reaction after reading this, so do the other 90% of the population.

Put SIMPLY, IoT is really about stretching the power of the internet beyond computers and smartphones. This can be across a variety of devices, environments and processes.

So you’re reading this post on your phone or your laptop perhaps. Before your phone was a smartphone, it was just a phone. It could send texts and make calls, but that was the height of it.

Now, with it’s ability to connect to the internet, your smartphone can be a book, movie player, web browser, weather forecast, or music player. All within the palm of your hand.

Connecting it to the Internet is what made all of this possible. IoT is about sending and receiving information across the internet. So rather than your phone storing a huge catalogue of songs on the device, it connects to a remote storage of songs and streams them to your device. This is the power of IoT.

Why IoT matters

Because the definition for the Internet of things is so loose, people get confused about the true nature of it. A good way to sum up the concept of IoT would be:

To take all the things that exist and connect them to the internet.

And this does mean everything. So what are the benefits of connecting everything to the net?

Again it comes back to sending and receiving information. When a “thing” can do both sending and receiving it becomes much efficient and allows us to perform work of a higher value.

For example, temperature sensors can receive information about the environment then send the information on to us. We can then use it to update weather systems and forecasts to make better decisions. Like whether to wear a raincoat or not. This is a “thing” that sends and receives information.

For the next example, take a printer. It receives information then prints a document for you. This is a “thing” that receives information then acts on it.

Next, let’s look at the most advanced and practical example. A sensor on a farm can receive information regarding the rainfall levels. But instead of passing on the information that it hasn’t rained, it will automatically turn the sprinklers on based on the information. This is a “thing” that can do both.

These are just a few example, but sensors like these can range from anything to light, air quality and temperature.

Key takeaway

The easiest way to define IoT is extending the power of the Internet to many different things, processes and environments. Beyond your smartphone and PC. The “things” send and receive information to give us better insight into the environment, allowing us to perform work more efficiently.

Hopefully this definition has served you well, and if you have any more questions on the weird and wonderful world of the Internet of Things, reach out in the comments section.

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