What is the IoT? 2024 news at ITIL.press

What is the IoT?

I understand what the Internet is. But what is the strange and quirky expression "Internet of Things" We tell you what it is and why you probably use the Internet of Things. 

The concept and history of the Internet of Things

The emergence of the concept was predicted as far back as Nikola Tesla in 1926. He claimed that the radio would be perfected to become a "big brain" and that other small tools would be able to connect to it and fit easily into a jacket pocket.

Actually, that is what happened: with the help of the Internet, millions of computers are connected into a single network, and the "small tools" are the usual smartphones or tablets.

There are many explanations of the term "Internet of Things". They all differ in interpretation, but it is possible to distinguish a common part.

The Internet of Things (Internet of Thing, IoT) is a global computing network that combines different kinds of physical objects that can interact with each other and the outside world. 

The key feature is that the network will involve not only computers, smart phones and other fairly powerful computing devices, but almost any thing.

The first "Internet thing" was created in 1990 by John Romkey, one of the founders and developers of the TCP/IP protocol. John connected an ordinary toaster to a computer, and taught the kitchen appliance to start and stop using computer Get and Set commands. The toaster was controlled remotely and could also be programmed to run off-line.

The term itself first appeared only in 1999, but up until 2010, the world had not seen any innovation regarding the Internet of Things. This is not surprising, computing power and the corresponding interfaces for connecting to the Internet possessed only servers, PCs, laptops and smart phones. Built into the appliances "stuffing" to interact with the Internet was simply not necessary, not to mention the potential rise in price of the product.

However, with the development of wireless technology, cheaper chip production and globalization, the concept of the Internet of Things became more common. ARM microprocessors with higher energy efficiency compared to desktop models became more and more popular.

There was another important event in 2009 – the number of devices connected to the global network exceeded the population of the planet. And the number of such "things" will only grow, because electronics are beginning to be built into almost everything. By 2020, the number of "smart things" is close to 50 billion, including lights, microwave ovens, refrigerators, air conditioners and more.

And most importantly, large companies have already started to put concrete projects into action.

How it works

Different protocols and technologies are used to connect electronics.

Network connection

The classic method for PCs, servers, printers and some other devices. Provides the fastest data transfer speeds, but does not allow the technology to be mobile.


The coverage area of mobile networks covers all major cities of the planet and most other settlements. For example, 5G is able to provide speeds of up to 1-2 Gbit / s, which is almost as good as a wired connection.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-Max and similar

Transfer data over short distances – in an apartment, home, office. Allow small appliances to connect wirelessly to the network.

NFC, RFID and others

Radio Frequency Identification – Automatic identification of objects. Data stored in RFID tags are read or written with the help of radio signals. Visually, tags look like small labels attached to things.

Satellite Internet

With the launch of the Starlink network and its counterparts, this method of communicating things could become a major one, especially in remote areas where there is no mobile network coverage.

Thanks to all the technologies described above, smart things can communicate both at the level of a single room and at the scale of an entire city or even a planet.

Internet things generate information using all kinds of sensors or sensors. The data is transmitted to embedded controllers, microprocessors that process it and transmit it further via wired or wireless networks. In cloud stores or other information centers, the collected information is processed and remotely monitored.

In fact, it's quite simple. Imagine that first "Internet toaster. From your cell phone, right from the transport, you give the command to start. It is transmitted "through the air" to the server, and from there it goes to the control device in the house. The toaster begins to toast your favorite croutons, and sensors check the level of readiness. At the end, you get a notification on your phone that it's ready.

Now imagine it all on an even bigger scale. From your phone or your car's on-board computer, you can control the lights at home, make the microwave heat up food, turn on water for the bathroom, activate the air conditioner.

It is not limited to the comfort of a single user – the Internet of Things allows you to monitor transport, all sorts of goods, conduct virtually autonomous construction and more. Many projects exist not only on paper.

The Internet of Things today

The scope of application is virtually unlimited. Machines, even the simplest ones, with the proper level of organization can be of great benefit. Let's look at a few examples that have already been implemented.

BigBelly has organized a system of smart trash cans in several major U.S. cities. Inside each one there are several sensors that analyze how full the bin is and send the information to the cloud. Based on this information, the optimal route for the garbage trucks is compiled. As a result, workers do not waste time and fuel on cleaning up points that are not yet full, saving the resource of the equipment. In the future, with the development of unmanned vehicles, developers want to make even garbage trucks fully autonomous, eliminating humans from the process.

The most popular system and the brightest example of the Internet of Things concept is the smart home. We have already written a lot of useful material about it. In it, almost all devices have access to the network and the ability to be controlled remotely. There are several major companies on the market that are ready to turn your home into a smart home. They include Control4, FIBARO, Wulian Smart Home, and others.

Of course, this pleasure is expensive, so you can turn your home into a "smart" in stages, for example, by buying different things. A huge selection offers, for example, Xiaomi: a smart vacuum cleaner, air purifier, induction stove, smart bulbs and outlets. All of these can be controlled directly from your smartphone.

Moreover, the Internet of Things will allow remote operations. For example, the University of California has already developed a system called Raven II, with which a doctor can remotely perform a variety of surgeries.

Key Challenges

All technologies bring new opportunities as well as problems. When it comes to the Internet of Things, there are several potential threats.

Surveillance. Even now the browser literally records your every move on the web and "loads" with contextual ads. And now imagine that big companies will know virtually your entire daily routine: what you eat, how much you sleep, and even what time you make your coffee in the morning. Many people aren't happy about that prospect.

Device hacking. Within one smart home, it's not a big deal; a smart vacuum cleaner can hardly hurt you. But when it comes to hacking utility systems or autonomous robots in an enterprise, things can turn into a global disaster.

Interaction of IoT devices. Artificial intelligence does not yet exist, so all devices work according to a previously programmed algorithm. Yes, there is some adaptability, but failure more often than not leads to device failure or worse, malfunction. The latter is especially dangerous when there is a whole system of smart devices.  

Rising unemployment. Every autonomous machine means potentially lost jobs. There are already fully autonomous warehouses where dozens of forklifts carry entire racks and replace most of the staff.  

Despite these disadvantages, the benefits of the Internet of Things will be enormous, both at the level of each individual user and for the state as a whole. Some experts predict that the transition to the Internet of Things is inevitable; the development of interaction algorithms and standardization of this area is only a matter of time.

The number of wearable electronics is growing rapidly, and nanotechnology, flexible screens and the latest processors will make it possible to embed electronics into literally anything, including humans themselves.

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