The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a large network of physical 'smart' devices that are connected to the internet
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a large network of physical 'smart' devices that are connected to the internet. Imagine a vast net with everything we already know is internet-enabled - smartphones, smartwatches, fitness tracking devices, wireless speakers - and add to that the growing number of everyday household objects that can be controlled wirelessly, and upcoming innovations and inventions like smart cars. The most important feature of every point on this net, apart from its highly sophisticated functioning, will be its ability to create customized data.
In 2012, the International Telecommunications Union's Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined IoT as "the infrastructure of the information society ..." As computers become more and more essential parts of physical objects, they become more efficient and accurate in their functions. Everything becomes 'smart' - power grids, homes, transportation, cities. IoT, a term first coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, might include as many as 50 billion objects by 2020.
The Internet of Things might lead to greater efficiency, both in terms of productivity and cost, but it will also lead to rapidly increasing automation - replacement of human employees with robots, machines and software - which may worsen unemployment crises everywhere in the world, and create great challenges in countries like India. Additionally, the more connected the world is, the greater the potential danger of cyber-warfare, by now believed to be the great battleground of this century. Already, hackers, private groups and government squads, as well as cyber-terrorists, have been responsible for major data theft and attacks on physical infrastructure. IoT will lead to the need for military-grade cyber security for infrastructure, economies and populations across the world.
Despite these concerns, however, the Internet of Things is an inevitable step for mankind as technology accelerates at an exponential rate - and while concerns about it are legitimate, let's not forget we live in an age of wonders.