The Internet of Things (abbreviated as IoT) is a computing concept that aims to connect physical objects we use every day to the Internet where they can communicate directly and more efficiently. The idea came from the fact that objects that can be represented digitally are more important than just being standalone.
Most of us think of connectivity in terms of computers, tablets and smartphones; but IoT is about having everything connected. With IoT, the object no longer relates to you only; it is seamlessly linked to surrounding objects and databases creating an “ambient intelligence” within one big information system.
IoT uses standard communication protocols and interfaces however the primary method of communication in IoT is RF (Radio Frequencies); it may also include sensor technologies and wireless technologies or QR (Quick Response) codes.
Why all the hype?
In recent years, the term IoT has surpassed Machine To Machine (M2M) as the new buzzword, that’s because M2M indicated communication between machine and a remote computer in the cloud while IoT went further beyond and covered things and systems used by people. This next step effectively raised the scope of IoT to cover billions of items and endless possibilities. Here’s how:
- Things – Means machines, devices, sensors and consumer products including vehicles.
- Systems – Means business applications, CRM, analytics systems, data warehouses and control systems.
- People – Means customers, employees and partners; ALL people.
Wearables and connected objects
Wearables or wearable devices are a subset of the IoT. They are ‘connected objects’ that you can put or take along with you. They are the most widely used and also the best part of IoT.
Wearables are electronic technologies incorporated into clothes or accessories that can be worn on the body. They perform computing tasks similar to mobile phones or laptop computers. They are more sophisticated than hand-held devices because they can provide sensory and scanning features like biofeedback and physiological monitoring. Examples of wearables are smartwatches, glasses, fitness trackers, head mounted devices, smart jewelry like bracelets and rings.
Prior to their presence in the consumer market, wearables were mainly for military purposes, but now they are being used extensively in the fields of health, education, transportation, finance and entertainment; almost anything really.
Moreover, wearables are not limited to something that can be put on or off easily, there are advanced versions that can be implanted like microchips or even smart tattoos (Just like a Mission Impossible movie!).
A good demo is the fitness tracker where “Things” in this case are the electronics, software and sensors that exchange data, typically in real time via Internet with another connected device without human intervention. Fitness trackers are so useful; that they’re becoming a basic element of any exercise gear.
Be ready for the next big thing
Ever since Apple introduced its first edition of smartwatch, wearables have been smoothly and quickly seeping into our lives; their growth rate exceeded 25% yearly with a promise to double by 2021. This is phenomenal and we should be prepared
Sherif is a member in several focus groups and governmental committees like the Scientific Research of the National Council of Women and Environmental Education committee of the Ministry of Culture.