Even if you’ve never heard of The Internet of Things, odds are you’re already at least knee deep in the ever-expanding IoT ecosystem. IoT refers to a system of internet-connected devices that are able to collect and transfer data through a wireless network without human involvement. These devices can range from smart home appliances (smart fridge, security cameras) to wearables (Fit Bits and smartwatches) to smart cars. IoT is a worldwide transformation that is literally rewiring how we go about our daily lives.

Why does IoT matter?

When something is connected to the internet, that means it can send information or receive information, or both. This ability to send and/or receive information is what makes devices “smart,” and smarter is better. In addition, a device doesn’t need to have massive storage or a supercomputer within it to be considered smart; it just needs to be able to connect to a storage and/or the computing power it needs.

In the Internet of Things, all these things can be put into three categories: Sensors, computers, and things that do both. Sensors collect information such as motion, moisture, air quality, impacts, temperature, all of which are imperative knowledge for healthcare procedures, agriculture methods, Automotive and Heavy Equipment industries, and beyond. Computers receive this collected information then act on it, and we’re all well acquainted with machines that act upon given information (thermostats, printers, garage door remotes, etc.).

Pros and Cons?

IoT brings comes with several benefits, many of which businesses in particular can take advantage of, such as the prospects of increasing revenue, reducing operating costs, and improving efficiencies. Beyond wearables and smart home appliances, additional industries that will benefit from IoT include health care, smart cities (IoT will provide strong advantages in aiding areas like water management, waste control, and emergencies), industrial automation (self-driving cars), and agriculture (the smart greenhouse).

But even with the wide range of industries that will gain from IoT, is it perfect? Not by a long shot. The primary concerns around the Internet of Things include acceptance, cost, connectivity, and security. Because IoT relies wholly on internet connection, location is a consistent obstacle. However, all problems have solutions, and if the world continues to choose to perceive these obstacles as surmountable then the value of using IoT will only grow as IoT expands.