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The Internet of Things

By Naseem Alzu’bi

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the global network that connects Internet-connected electronic devices and household items to each other, allowing them to communicate and interact with data and each other.  Devices connected to the Internet of Things can collect, process, send, and interact with other data stored in the cloud.  IoT-connected devices can help analyze, read, predict, and control many daily activities.

_An IoT system consists of sensors/devices that communicate with the cloud service through some form of communication.  Once the data reaches the cloud, the software processes it and decides whether an action should be performed, such as adjusting sensors/devices, without requiring user input or sending an alert.

 There are four distinct elements to a complete IoT system.  Sensors or devices, communication, data processing, and user interface.  Let us examine each element separately:

  • Devices: They collect data from their environment.  The device may have multiple sensors – for example, a smartphone has GPS, camera, accelerometer, etc.  Essentially, the sensor or sensors collect data from the environment for a specific purpose.
  • Connection:  Once the device collects the data, it must send it to the cloud service.  It does this in various ways – including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, satellite, Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) or connecting directly to the Internet via Ethernet.  The specific connection option will depend on the IoT application.
  • Data processing: Once the data reaches the cloud service, the software processes it and may decide to perform an action.  This may include sending an alert or automatically adjusting sensors or the device without user input.  But sometimes, user input is required, which is where the user interface comes into play.
  • user interface: If user input is needed or if the user wants to check the system, the user interface allows this.  The system sends any actions the user performs in the opposite direction.  From the user interface to the cloud service and back to the sensors/devices to make the required change.

_Internet of Things applications

  • Wearable devices: Wearables are perhaps the most visible aspect of IoT to the everyday user.  These include fitness trackers, smart watches, smart glasses, virtual reality headsets, and more.
  • Smart homes: A smart home system connects to devices to automate specific tasks and is usually controlled remotely.  IoT devices in smart homes may include, for example, wireless kitchen appliances, mood-sensing music systems, bright lighting, automated blinds, automated windows and doors, smart utility meters, etc.
  • Smart cities: Smart cities use IoT devices such as sensors and connected meters to collect and analyze data.  This data can be used to improve infrastructure, public facilities and services.
  • Self-driving cars: Self-driving cars usually contain an IoT-based technical system that shares information about the vehicle itself and the road it travels on.  Data about traffic, navigation, the outside environment and more is collected and analyzed by the car’s computer systems to enable it to drive itself.
  • Telehealth: Telehealth—sometimes called telemedicine—refers to the delivery of health services via technology.  The Internet of Things (IoT) is a fundamental aspect of telehealth (the abbreviation IoMT is sometimes used to refer to the Internet of Medical Things).  Examples include remote medical diagnosis, digital communications for medical imaging, video consultations with specialists, etc.
  • Smart agriculture: Smart agriculture involves using digital technology to improve farming efforts.  For example, farmers may use sensors, cameras, and other connected devices to improve the overall visibility of their farms and modify operations to enhance their production.

_History of the Internet of Things:

 The term “Internet of Things” is often attributed to Kevin Ashton.  In 1999, Ashton worked in supply chain optimization for Procter & Gamble and used the phrase as the title of a presentation for a new sensitive project he was working on, which became popular.  However, the Internet of Things precedes the nomenclature:


  • 1970s: The idea of ​​connected devices was known at the time as “pervasive computing.”
  • Early 1980s: The world’s first Internet of Things device was invented at Carnegie Mellon University.  A group of students devised a way to ensure that a Coke vending machine on campus reported its contents through a network to save them the time of going to the machine if it was empty of drinks.  They resorted to installing small switches in the machine to report how many cans of Coke were available and whether they were cold.
  • 1991: A group of students at the University of Cambridge used the first prototype webcam to monitor the amount of coffee available in a coffee pot in a computer lab.
  • 2000: LG Electronics introduced the world’s first Internet-connected refrigerator.  This allowed consumers to shop for their food online and make video calls.
  • 2008: The first international conference on the Internet of Things was held in 2008 in Switzerland.
  • 2010: The term Internet of Things began to gain traction.
  • 2012: The largest Internet conference in Europe – Le Web – was held under the slogan “Internet of Things”.  Meanwhile, magazines like Forbes and Wired have increasingly begun to use IoT as part of their vocabulary.
  • 2014: Google announced that it would buy Nest for $3.2 billion, in a deal that brought mass market awareness to the Internet of Things.
  • Mid/late 2010s: During this period, devices with built-in Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connectivity became smaller, more powerful, and less expensive to produce.  This has increased the spread of the Internet of Things.
  • By 2021, it is estimated that there will be more than 46 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things, and experts expect this number to rise to more than 100 billion devices by 2030.

_Advantages of the Internet of Things:

  • Efficiency – Machine-to-machine interactions allow for greater efficiency, freeing up time for people to focus on other tasks.
  • Automation – Automation standardizes tasks, which can improve service quality and reduce the need for human intervention
  •  Cost Savings – Increased efficiency and automation can reduce both waste and labour costs, making it less expensive to manufacture and deliver goods.
  •  Quality control – IoT facilitates better communication between devices, allowing for better quality control.
  • Greater Transparency – The ability to access information from anywhere, at any time, on any device can simplify decision-making and increase transparency.

_Disadvantages of IoT:

  • Compatibility – Without international compatibility standards, there may be difficulties with devices from different manufacturers communicating with each other.
  • Fewer jobs – As the Internet of Things accelerates automation, it could displace skilled jobs from the workplace.
  • Complexity – Given the massive size of the IoT network, with so many devices relying on it, a single failure in either software or hardware can lead to disproportionate consequences.
  •  Privacy and Security – With so many everyday devices connected to the Internet, much information is available online.  This creates privacy and security risks, which we explore in more detail below.

_The importance of the Internet of Things

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the leading technical systems that helps analyze, read, predict, and control many daily activities.  Companies and organizations can use the Internet of Things to control many daily activities and improve the service provided to customers. Still, there are many other advantages that the Internet of Things can offer:
  •  Improving efficiency: IoT can help analyze data collected from connected devices, which can be used to improve efficiency in many daily activities, such as production, distribution, and sales.
  •  Saving expenses: The Internet of Things can help save costs through careful analysis of data collected from connected devices, which can be used to control many processors and operations that may consume a lot of time and expenses.
  • Achieving returns by saving expenses, improving efficiency, and providing the most valuable services to customers.  The Internet of Things can also help develop new products and services and offer them to customers, which helps achieve other revenues.
  • Enhancing Collaboration: The Internet of Things can help enhance collaboration and communication between connected devices and people, which enhances collaboration and helps improve daily operations.
  • Quality Improvement: The Internet of Things can help improve the quality of products and services provided to customers by carefully analyzing data collected from connected devices and using it to improve daily operations.

_What does the future hold for the Internet of Things?

  • Greater focus on security: Given the scale and complexity of the Internet of Things, IoT devices may be vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.  The industry takes this seriously and is working to provide better safety for consumers.  In the future, we will see greater use of embedded and end-to-end security solutions, as well as edge computing, blockchain, and AI solutions for IoT devices.
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning will become more widespread: Some of the most significant spending on IoT infrastructure in the coming years will be on artificial intelligence and machine learning.  AI-powered IoT technology creates intelligent machines that enable intelligent behaviour and decision-making with little or no human intervention.
  • 5G networks will continue to drive growth: 5G – or fifth-generation cellular wireless – means faster speeds.  Faster networks mean data collected by IoT devices can be analyzed and managed on a larger scale.  This is likely to accelerate the growth of the Internet of Things.  However, new privacy and security concerns will arise as more IoT devices connect directly to 5G networks rather than a Wi-Fi router.

_ There are many promising uses for the Internet of Things technologies at all levels and in all sectors, and there is no doubt that the use of this technology requires the concerted efforts of all public institutions and private companies to benefit from it. This also requires providing appropriate infrastructure and building capabilities and preparing practical and comprehensive plans.  To benefit from technology in all sectors of life.

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