Internet of Things – IoT

The “Internet of Things” is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work. But what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on you, if any? There are a lot of complexities around the “Internet of things” but lets just stick to the basics.

Broadband Internet has become more widely available. The cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being manufactured with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors, technology costs are going down and smartphone penetration is sky-rocketing.  All of these things are creating a “perfect storm” for the IoT.

What basically is the ‘Internet of Things’?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors. The IoT allows objects to be controlled or sensed remotely across existing network infrastructure. Thus creating opportunities for even more direct integration of the physical world into the computer-based systems and as a result improving efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention.

Any stand-alone internet-connected device that can be monitored and/or controlled from a remote location can be called an IoT device. In a IoT ecosystem there will be components that enable businesses, governments and consumers to connect to their IoT devices including remotes, dashboards, networks, gateways, analytics, data storage and security. The sensors and networking gears pretty much make the basic physical layer. The application layer includes the protocols and interfaces that devices use to identify and communicate with each other. The remotes enable entities that utilize IoT devices to connect with and control them using a dashboard, such as a mobile application. They include smartphones, tablets, PCs, smartwatches, connected TVs, and nontraditional remotes. The dashboard displays information about the IoT ecosystem to users and enables them to control their IoT ecosystem.

It is predicted that there will be more than 25 billion IoT devices on Earth by the year 2020. That’s approximately four devices for every human being on the planet.

Who will benefit from IoT?

Several industries within the groups of consumers, governments and ecosystems will benefit from the IoT. These include:

Manufacturing Transportation Defense Agriculture
Infrastructure Retail Logistics Banks
Oil, gas, and mining Insurance Connected Home Food Services
Utilities Hospitality Healthcare Smart Buildings

Key Players in IoT

There, literally, are hundreds of companies linked to the Internet of Things and the list will expand in the coming years. Here are some of the major players that have stood out in the IoT at this point:

Honeywell (HON) Hitachi T-Mobile (TMUS) Comcast (CMCSA)
GE (GE) AT&T (T) Cisco (CSCO) IBM (IBM)
Amazon (AMZN) Skyworks (SWKS) Apple (AAPL) Sierra Wireless (SWIR)
Google (GOOGL) Iridium Communications (IRDM) Ambarella (AMBA) ARM Holdings (ARMH)
Texas Instruments (TXN) PTC (PTC) Fitbit (FIT) ORBCOMM (ORBC)
Garmin (GRMN) Blackrock (BLK) InvenSense (INVN) Microsoft (MSFT)
Control4 (CTRL) Silicon Laboratories (SLAB) CalAmp (CAMP) LogMeIn (LOGM)
InterDigital (IDCC) Ruckus Wireless (RKUS) Linear Technology (LLTC) Red Hat (RHT)
Nimble Storage (NMBL) Silver Spring Networks (SSNI) Zebra Technologies (ZBRA) Arrow Electronics (ARW)

IoT Platforms

One IoT device connects to the other in order to transmit information using Internet transfer protocols. IoT platforms serve as the bridge between the devices’ sensors and the data networks.

Following are some of the top IoT platforms in the market today:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • ThingWorx IoT Platform
  • IBM’s Watson
  • Cisco IoT Cloud Connect
  • Salesforce IoT Cloud
  • Oracle Integrated Cloud
  • GE Predix

IoT Security & Privacy

As more and more devices become connected, security and privacy have become the primary concern among consumers and businesses.

Cyber attacks are a growing threat as more devices are connected. Hackers could easily workout a way to penetrate connected cars, infrastructure or even connected homes. As a result, several tech companies are focusing on cyber security in order to secure the safety and privacy of all this data.

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