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Most comprehensive guideline on IoT. All you need to know about IoT in one place

Published: July 7, 2021 By Ozair Malik

Various daily use devices interconnected with each other and communicating over the internet form IoT

Over the past few years, we have seen rapid technological evolution. Resultantly, we now have an advancement in the digital world known as the Internet of Things—IoT. Amazingly, IoT is one of the most dynamic and exciting developments in information and communication technology.

Recently, IoT has experienced a significant increase in research and development. As a result, the world is rapidly moving towards super-intelligent devices, cities and, homes. Smart cities consist of smart homes—that are composed of smart devices.  All of these are a byproduct of IoT.

The laymen generally use the term—smart devices for IoT-enabled devices. These terms are often used interchangeably. However, the Internet of Things has a lot more to offer other than smart devices.

 In this blog post, we will have a thorough understanding of—what is IoT?

 

What is the Internet of Things – IoT?

The IoT includes a network of physical objects --"things"—using embedded sensors interconnected through the Internet. These objects can collect, transmit and receive data or information. We call these devices IoT- devices or smart devices.

The IoT devices range from our simple household products to sophisticated industrial machinery. Billions of new devices are becoming part of the IoT infrastructure every year, according to a survey report published at ieeexplore.ieee.org.

The number of interconnected devices surpassed the population in 2011. This trend was significantly growing as the number of interconnected devices was about 9 billion in 2012. They will reach 24 billion by 2020 and 30 billion by 2025, respectively. Based on the mentioned numbers, the IoT will be one of the major resources of big data in future.

IoT-based Smart cities: a Survey

In our daily lives, we encounter many IoT-enabled devices at our homes, offices, hospitals, markets, malls, etc. These devices have become a part of our everyday life, and we rely heavily upon them for our daily tasks.


Examples of IoT

Any "thing" or "object" connected to the Internet and controlled via the Internet can become part of the IoT ecosystem.

A fan that can be switched on using a smartphone app is an IoT device. Similarly, your smartwatches, fitness trackers, and smart home central cooling system are all part of this ecosystem. An IoT-enabled device can range from a silly children's toy to autonomous vehicles. The significant devices are usually composed of several small IoT components—all interacting with each other.  

Smart devices laid the foundation of smart cities, and now this infrastructure has expanded beyond smart devices to smart cities. These smart cities have IoT- enabled homes, hospitals, offices and, Industries.

Some of the top Internet-of-Things examples to know are:

  • Appliances connected with Internet
  • Intelligent home security systems
  • Autonomous farming equipment
  • Wearable health and fitness trackers
  • Smart factory equipment
  • Wireless inventory trackers
  • Ultra-high-speed wireless Internet
  • Biometric cybersecurity scanners
  • Shipping container and logistics tracking

How IoT works?

IoT-enabled devices fetch, transmit and process the data they acquire from their surroundings. Embedded sensors and processors are responsible for this functionality.

Since they are internet-enabled devices, so they all have an IP address. These devices then share the fetched data over the Internet to cloud storage or a data center. The data is then refined, processed, and analyzed. Moreover, smart devices also communicate with other devices in their surroundings.

Amazingly, IoT devices do not require human interaction and intervention for their regular operation. However, people do interact with them while configuring and setting the devices.


Evolution of IoT

ARPANET was the first connected network – the foundation of the modern-day Internet. The history of IoT dates back to invent of ARPANET.

A Coke vending machine at Carnegie Mellon University connected to the university ARPANET in 1982 was the first IoT device. Later in 1990, Romkey connected a toaster to the Internet, which could be controlled via the Internet. Then in 1993, the Trojan Room coffee pot was built in the University of Cambridge computer lab. All of the developments mentioned above paved the way for the modern-day Internet of Things.

Earlier then, the term IoT was not introduced. The Term IoT was introduced by Kevin Ashton, current director of Auto-ID Labs MIT, in 1999. Moreover, the first IoT conference was held in March 2008 in Zurich.

Fast forward to 2021, and we have billions of IoT devices. These devices interact with each other, recognize our voice and respond to our vocal commands. The future of the IoT ecosystem can be predicted from the following statement.

Former Google and Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt made this bold IoT prediction: "[T]he Internet will disappear. There will be so many IP addresses, so many devices, sensors, things you are wearing, and things you are interacting with that you won't even sense. It will be part of your presence all the time.

builtin.com

Evolution stages of IoT are explained in detail

Image source: twitter.com


IoT-enabled Smart Cities

Over the recent years, IoT infrastructure has expanded beyond intelligent devices and components. We now have smart cities. As a result of recent development, smart cities have become super smart.

A smart city is equipped with different electronic elements employed by several applications, like street cameras for observation systems, sensors for transportation systems, etc. In addition, this can spread the usage of individual mobile devices.

IoT-based Smart cities: a Survey

All the infrastructure of a smart city consists of IoT-enabled devices and components. A smart city makes the life of a resident easier. Moreover, they have a good lifestyle, improved basic facilities, and amenities. The municipality can easily manage and secure the city with the help of smart devices and a control room—where all the devices are monitored.

For example, smart buildings can reduce energy costs using sensors that detect the number of residents in an apartment or building. In addition, the temperature can adjust automatically – turning on the AC when the temperature of a room increases.


How has IoT evolved Industries? —Industrial IoT

The IoT has completely revolutionized industries. This revolution is known as the fourth industrial revolution. Additionally, The Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) or Industry 4.0 are some other names given to this revolution.

The IIOT uses a combination of sensors, wireless networks, big data science, Artificial Intelligence, and different analytics to measure and optimize industrial processes. The data is analyzed to gather related information and valuable insights. The insights help a business to reduce costs, improve safety and streamline processes or operations.

From finance to agriculture to healthcare to education to transportation to manufacturing to media, all are a part of Industrial IoT infrastructure.

For example, A U G U R Y is a New York-based manufacturing service industry. It uses IIOT and AI to make machines with mechanical nervous systems that can maintain their health. The sensors in the devices give malfunction alerts and monitor every change. The insights are observed via AUGURY's online management portal

Timeline of industrial revolution

Image source: aberdee.com


Security challenges of the Internet-of-Things

It is a fact that with the growth in technology, attack infrastructure also expands significantly. Therefore, security risks, threats, and challenges are always associated with new tech.

Initially, the Security of IoT was not the main priority of developers. However, security was the top priority when companies experienced increased attacks and threats due to vulnerabilities present in the design. However, to date, security remains one of the biggest challenges in IoT infrastructure.

Since sensors collect many data, including personal and critical data, these devices know everything about us. Therefore, the security of IoT- enabled devices is essential because a minor flaw can cause severe damage.

Hackers are now actively targeting IoT-enabled devices such as routers, webcams, smart appliances because they are highly vulnerable.

Cyber Security researchers have found that around a hundred thousand webcams can be easily compromised. Alongside, hackers can also exploit the vulnerabilities of some of the smartwatches and fitness trackers. Resultantly, they can fetch the user's location and eavesdrop on conversations. Moreover, access to critical information can result in a life-threatening situation.

The IoT is meant to bridge the gap between the digital world and the physical world, which means that hacking into devices can have dangerous real-world consequences.

For instance, hacking into the sensors controlling the temperature in a power station could trick the operators into making a fateful decision; taking control of an autonomous vehicle can also result in a disaster.


Conclusion

The Internet of Things is meant to ease our lives. It is a remarkable technological evolution. But, it has pros and cons like any other technology. Privacy is one of the main cons of IoT. We cannot separate ourselves from the IoT ecosystem. However, we must control and monitor their use and interference in our daily lives to have a safe and secure environment.

As the number of IoT-enabled devices is proliferating and our surroundings are getting filled with intelligent products. Hence, we are bound to accept the security and privacy trade-offs. But, remember, we humans will always be superior and intelligent to these smart devices because we develop them.

Tags: 
Technology
Author
Ozair Malik
A passionate Cyber Security researcher and writer with a keen interest in Digital Forensics. A community worker running a insta blog to raise cybersecurity awareness among laymen.

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