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Hasmik Dabaghyan
23 January 18:39.
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What is the 'internet of things'?
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As we connect more and more things to the internet, we embark on a long and intrepid journey creating a new industry called “The Internet of Things (IOT)”.

We will connect our street and traffic lights, building management systems, weather sensors, utilities and road and motorway management systems together, creating a “Smart City”.

Smart Cities will revolutionise our way of living. It will speed up decision-making, create new business opportunities and totally change the relationship with how we interact with technology.

Some say that this “new world” will threaten our jobs as redundancies follow automation and robots take over from human jobs, others say that you will still need someone to design, install and maintain those robots, either way there is wholesale and fundamental change underway.

  • The video explains the workings of the Internet of Things

Imagine a world in which the products you supply and fit actually “call home” and feedback to Manufacturer’s about their usage performance, and their environment, and that data is brought together in real-time, so the likes of safety recalls can happen proactively. Instead of waiting for something to burst into flames, being able to predict that it will happen (based on analysing the collective data from multiple devices), will be the norm.

Manufacturer’s, for the first time, will be able to see in real-time how the end customer uses and interacts with a product, and change the production line instantly if improvements are required.

In the built environment, smart street and outdoor lighting will tell its owners when a lamp is reaching end of life or report that its circuits are showing abnormal readings, requesting them to be changed.

Motorway lighting could change colour, warning motorists of an accident up ahead. Lighting systems will help reduce costs for their owners as they connect to external systems (such as the MET office), gaining weather predictions so that real-time decisions can be made concerning the amount of KWH’s a lighting bank is about to consume, and as a collective, these banks will be able to buy electricity directly off the grid, and in advance in an eBay style arrangement, helping to reduce costs.

  • Benson Hougland, Vice-president of Opto 22 explains why he is excited about the rise of the Internet of Things

In our homes, installers will help consumers connect their devices together that ultimately saves the householder money (Smart Metering, Building Management and Renewable Systems), and improves the quality of life (Connected Healthcare) while household appliances will automatically order their own replacement parts directly from the warehouse.

In businesses, integrated and connected systems will mean that engineers sell end to end systems, so that everything that can be connected is, it can be controlled, watched and reported on, giving management real-time information about various systems while the value chain of distributors, installers and system maintainers work together to produce “joined up” solutions for the end clients requirements.

For those that are unaware, IoT refers to a simultaneous connection between devices, networks and humans over the internet. The purpose of IoT is to make it easier for users to control numerous devices at the same time, without having to operate them separately.

As for the potential of IoT, Kevin Ashton, executive director and cofounder of Auto-ID center at MIT had this to say previously:

"Today computers-and, therefore, the Internet-are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings-by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture or scanning a bar code…

"The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy-all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world… If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things-using data they gathered without any help from us-we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best."