What exactly is the "Internet of Things" (IoT)?

The internet of things increasing connectivity

You may have noticed over the last couple of years a new buzz phrase being thrown around, called the "Internet of Things" or "IoT". As with most hot IT trends, the name is new, but the fundamental concepts behind it are not.

IoT is explained here by Kevin Ashton, who is credited with coining the term, as “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.”

IoT is the child of several technology components all reaching maturity; 1) easy, low cost Internet access anywhere, 2) cloud computing and 3) advances in decision support or AI (artificial intelligence) software. Because of the synergy of these components, we can gather more data than we ever thought possible, store it in a central secure location that makes it readily available to process and make decisions using that same infrastructure.

That is the technical (egghead) answer. Here is a simple, everyday Joe, example ... Imagine that your car needs an oil change. IoT enables your car to become aware of that need, and schedules an appointment with your favorite auto shop. When it schedules that appointment, it looks at your calendar and picks a time that is best for you. You may get a schedule confirmation through your email. All you have to do is take the car to your shop at the appointed time. This is just a simple example of how IoT is imagined to work. The possibilities are limitless.

In the coming decades IoT will forever change how we live our lives. My expectation is that next time you hear the term "IoT" or "Internet of Things" you will know a little more about what is being talked about. We would love to talk to you about how Aspire Business Solutions can help you navigate your business through the murky waters of today's technology opportunities. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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