If you were impressed with how you can control your TV, home, office or car from a distance, then prepare for a whole new level of astonishment. Living in a “Connected World” is no longer exclusive to connecting people or facilitating communication around the world. Nevertheless, it is about connecting everything to the internet to make it easily accessible and controllable from anywhere. This is when comes the Internet of Things, but what is it?
Didn’t you ever wish to have a robot at your service 24 hours a day? Then, how about getting your requests obeyed before you even ask, or need to remember them? So, for example, your bills are paid on time, any scheduled maintenance for a device or a car is carried on, or you are reminded immediately, lights are turned off when you are not in the room, and temperature is adjusted automatically. Wouldn’t that be epic! Well, this is not a dream any more, and this smart life has already started, thanks to the Internet of Things.
To simplify its definition, the Internet of Things is connecting devices or “things”- in general- over the internet, to allow them to communicate with people, other devices, applications, etc. Why connect them to the internet? To facilitate how people receive information and data about a “thing”, without the need to talk to other people, or use a computer. Let’s take the smart fridge as an example. With the Internet of Things, people will be informed when a certain product- bread, cheese, juice or milk- runs out, when some food is no longer usable, or even if there is a certain part in the fridge that needs fixing.
How does the Internet of Things work?
It is all about getting “things” connected, and to do so, sensors, control systems and processors are used. In other words, every single thing will have a sensor or processor that will allow it to send different kinds of data to applications that sort them out and refer them to the right destination for action.
So, What Are the “Things” in the “Internet of Things”? Things are all kinds of objects that can generate, transmit and receive data with the help of the embedded control systems, sensors and processors. Are living creatures included? No, because when the concept of the internet of things emerged, it included only objects like: devices, computers and machines. Nevertheless, the concept of IOT has evolved to become the “Internet of Everything”.
Then, how the “Internet of Things” and the “Internet of Everything” are different? The main difference is that the IOE connects more separate concepts together, and that doesn’t only include things and living creatures like people, but also non-physical entities and online services, like those in websites. To summarize this part, IOE connects people, things, processes and data, and allows all kinds of communication and data transition between them.
Why do we need the “Internet of Things”?
1. Smart Cities, Smart Living.
Smart Cities, also known as intelligent cities, are one of the top applications that depend on the Internet of Things. Using digital technologies and smart design, they aim to remain sustainable for the present and future generations. That’s why they need smart infrastructure, smart industries, smart medical systems, smart homes and smart transportation. Using Iot and IoE, smart cities allow: environmental monitoring and natural resources sustainability, government Performance in Real-time, and facilitate data-driven decisions for the future.
2. IOT, Social Media and Social Media Monitoring.
Cisco, which is a multinational technology conglomerate in the US, predicted that by 2020, the number of internet-connected things will be more than the combined numbers of smartphones, tablets and PCs. As people communicate on these devices across different social media platforms, imagine if these connected objects can communicate in the same way. In other words, what if these smart objects can socialize and have social relationships that allow communication and collaboration among them. Well, this is not a fantasy, as “Social Internet of Things” is an existing terminology. One great definition for this term is “When Things Get Smart, the Internet of Things Gets Social” (social-iot.org). To achieve this statement, the following conditions must be met.
- Objects can autonomously build social relationships, like humans do.
- A social network is established to connect objects.
What does social media have to do with the IOT?
Well, the SIOT is an integration of both concepts of social networking and the IOT. Moreover, connecting objects, facilitates connecting people to their things, which means stronger attachment from people to their social media accounts. Thus, social media platforms must be optimized to be able to connect objects and, therefore, allow users to control their things and adjust their services. It is not just about controlling everything, but also sharing every detail of your life with your social media friends and community. For example, a senior is having a heart attack alone in his house, using IOT, a Facebook message, Tweet or WhatsApp will be sent to his neighbors and family immediately. So, social media is entering a new era of connecting every object, service and living creature on the planet.
Then, How about Social Media Monitoring?
Connecting the IOT to social media monitoring platforms means deeper and more valuable insights for businesses. Not only for enhancing their products and services, but also for making data-based informative decisions regarding their departments, strategies and work plans. Think of it like this, if everything and everybody are connected to social media, imagine how accurate, representative, credible and informative the data resulting from social listening tools will be?
With the evolution and rapid development of the internet of things, the world is turning smarter very fast. Although privacy and security remain two of the biggest challenges facing the new technology, smarter solutions will overcome them. One thing for sure, is that we are reaching this smart connected world that we used to watch in films, sooner than we ever expected. This makes the world speaks one truth: The Internet of Things, The Social Internet of Everything.