Internet of Things / IoT – Short Explanation

With the cost of home Internet and broadband in general decreasing while speeds are continuing to increase, new technologies are becoming available. The Internet of Things, or as it is more colloquially known: IoT, basically describes devices that are connected to the Internet and that “talk” to each other. These devices can be almost anything from kitchen appliances to wearables, lightbulbs to thermostats. This list is limitless and restricted only by your imagination.

The key with IoT devices is that they are devises you would not normally consider or expect to have an Internet connection.

As such, smartphones, laptops, and PCs are not considered IoT devices, but wearables like smartwatches and fitness bands are. IoT devices can also be components of larger machines like plane engines or the drill of a massive oil rig. By the end of 2020, it is expected that there will be close to 26 billion IoT devices worldwide, and the number is only growing at an exponential rate.

Understanding the Internet of Things / IoT in the Real World

In addition to the consumer benefits of IoT devices, they are becoming ever more critical in the world of business. With these devices, companies and individuals perform specific actions based on the information provided.

An example of an IoT device includes a smart fridge – here, the device (the refrigerator) is aware of what supplies it has.

It also provides a shopping list of preferred supplies and can scan and determine when these supplies need to be replaced. They have the capability to order replacement inventory, speeding up time, and simplifying life. However, this example only touches the tip of the iceberg with regards to what IoT devices can do.

How the Internet of Things / IoT Works in the World of AI

IoT devices are continuing to improve, and the brains behind many of these improvements are AI. Many IoT vendors now offer integrated AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities with their products. The benefit of this integration is that patterns and anomalies are identified at the source almost 20 times sooner. These patterns could be simple, like temperature and pressure variations, or more complex.

This partnership of AI and IoT has coined the creation of a new phrase – AIoT or the Artificial Intelligence of Things. In this context, AI functions as the brains of the system, while the IoT sensors act as a digital nervous system. These “smart” devices can make companies and individuals significantly more efficient and effective. With their ability to learn and also act on patterns in data, they can make decisions without human intervention.

AIoT could be used in retail to provide an improved shopping experience based on demographics, or within smart cities to help improve traffic congestion. In addition, AIoT has been used to improve fleet management as well as the management of office building environments. However, AIoT’s full potential is still unexplored as, at the current time, data speeds are still a limitation.