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17 September 2021
Hyperoptic Team

What is the Internet of Things?

Becoming increasingly prominent in home and business, the Internet of Things (commonly referred to as IoT) touches almost all areas of daily life. But what is it? We’ve created this handy guide to help you understand how IoT technology works, examples of IoT devices, and the pros and cons of IoT applications.

What is IoT?

In literal terms, IoT devices are those that are connected to the internet and considered ‘online’. However, as technology advances, the expression has evolved to refer to objects and devices that are capable of communicating data between each other without human input.

How does IoT technology work?

IoT devices are incredibly sophisticated, with powerful sensors and processors built into their design. These processors enable smart machine learning, which involves constantly collecting and analysing data to ensure a more personalised offering to the human user. The high-tech sensors will also connect remotely to the wider internet, to establish a shared connection to all other objects that operate in the same way (i.e. your other IoT devices).

Internet of Things examples

The easiest way to get your head around what IoT technology is, is to understand the types of everyday devices that revolve around smart processes. Chances are, you’ve probably come across these objects at some point, and they might even form a part of your daily routines.

Smartwatches and activity monitors

Smartwatches are a common example of IoT technology that you might use in your day-to-day. Designed with high-functioning sensors that read your activity rate, smartwatches offer heart tracking and movement monitoring, as well as more detailed health data like blood pressure, with accessible fitness information sent directly to your mobile.

Home security

IoT technology for home security ranges from remote controlled cameras and sensors to lights and alarms. Each device can be controlled from your mobile, allowing you to see and hear any activity within the vicinity. You’ll also be notified immediately if any of your security systems have been triggered.

Domestic appliances

The introduction of IoT technology into the domestic environment is beginning to change the face of practical living. Smart appliances can be controlled remotely, whether you’re in the next room or on the late train home from work, allowing you to control and monitor your oven temperature, washing machine settings, or dishwasher cycle, to name just a few examples.

Advantages of Internet of Things technology

With IoT applications ranging from domestic to industrial use, there are a host of benefits to draw from the technology. The most advantageous features are outlined below.

1. Remote control

One of the most common benefits of IoT technology is the capacity to take control of everything remotely. Devices can range from lifestyle and homeware appliances to industrial machinery. Connectivity and smart communication between objects removes the need for individuals to monitor progress in person, allowing them to enjoy the flexibility that works around their lifestyle.

2. Cost-effectiveness

Because IoT devices communicate with each other directly, processes aren’t hindered by human error. As such, IoT improves industrial efficiency, which helps to reduce waste and improve cost-effectiveness.

3. Improved experience

The Internet of Things has improved the customer experience, through smart collection of personal data. Devices can now build a profile of a user that varies depending on interaction rate and style. This information is subsequently shared with other connected appliances, to tailor exchanges and offer a unique consumer journey that only improves with time.

Potential drawbacks of IoT technology

While IoT devices improve practicality, there are some disadvantages to the technology. We’ve picked out the key drawbacks to be aware of.

1. IoT security issues

Because IoT devices share data over wireless internet, there’s always the risk that a cybercriminal manages to breach your connection. This becomes a greater concern if the attack compromises your privacy or puts your personal and payment information at risk. Before installing new IoT technology, make sure to reinforce your digital defence network.

2. Overreliance on IoT technology

One of the dangers of incorporating IoT devices into your life is the overreliance on the technology. The vast majority of the time, you’ll enjoy the practical benefits, but becoming too dependent can become an issue if any of your smart tech goes offline or becomes corrupted. Even more drastic, with all devices connected over the same wireless connection, even the smallest glitch could impact your entire system.

3. Loss of jobs

As IoT devices are increasingly phased into industry and manufacturing, there is less and less need for human involvement. Efficiency might be improved as processes are streamlined, but this will inevitably come at the cost of jobs.  

Invest in a speedy connection

Once you’ve decided which IoT devices you’re going to incorporate into your daily routine, it’s important to establish a speedy home or business fibre broadband connection. For even more advice around improving connected efficiency, head over to our blog.

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