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What would you do without the internet? How would life be different? In today’s world, the idea of being away from our most prized possession seems unthinkable and almost frightening. Luckily for us, many accessories, appliances, and devices are connected, so we never have to go without. From connected cities to connected watches, the internet surrounds us.  This is the Internet of Things (IoT).

A Connected Life

The concept of IoT came out in 1999 and explains the ability to connect objects to the internet and thereby each other. By using the internet as a sort of messaging system, connected objects can send data to each other and trigger certain actions. For example, connected vehicles can send performance data back to engineers so that any issues can be fixed, and improvements made.

IoT has led to widespread connectivity which has been great for society. From fitbits telling us our heart rates to manufacturing equipment spotting bottlenecks, society’s knowledge and efficiency have increased. But this doesn’t mean widespread connectivity doesn’t come without its faults. Connected devices are always gathering data on us, from our browsing habits to our locations. Since there is yet to be strict rules about who owns this data, our connected devices often act as spies for businesses, revealing details about our personal lives and behaviours.  Companies will use this data to refine product development and marketing strategies, which is not inherently bad. However, there are cases when our data can be used to cause harm.


The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Currently, we are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution. A revolution that is joining the physical and digital words and fuelling change and innovation. IoT has been a key character in all these developments, by giving the means to collect the data that has allowed the digital world to seamlessly integrate into almost every part of our daily lives. As the revolution continues to run its course, the power and uses of IoT will continue to grow and spark change in the world.


The Future

Spoiler Alert! 5G networks are coming, and they’re bringing a mass of opportunities for IoT. 5G networks will be faster and more powerful and will, therefore be able to support more connected devices. More connected devices will lead to more data collection and thereby allow more insights to be gained about our world. These insights can be fed into already smart devices, making them smarter and giving them the ability to make decisions on their own. With IoT, the future may become more and more robot-driven which will change the world as we know it.


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Emily Cummings

Author Emily Cummings

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