In the world where technological revolution continuously takes place, the rate, at which technology permeates people’s lives, is undeniably high. The Internet of Things is the area where technology is increasingly used to make people’s lives better. For example, one can imagine a scenario where in some home, when the alarm goes off in the morning, the kettle automatically starts brewing, the lights automatically turn on whenever a car approaches the driveway, and the door remains locked when a stranger approaches it but opens when a household member comes close. This example demonstrates the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). Therefore, the Internet of Things describes a scenario where everyday objects, both human and inanimate, are connected to the Internet, enabling the sharing of data (O’Brien, 2016). This aspect allows for an array of applications, regardless of their being micro, trifling, or critical, to be interconnected. The analysis indicates that the Internet of Things has created interconnectedness and has an variety of applications such as smart homes, smart health care systems, urban management, disaster management, and smart businesses.
Importance of Internet of Things
As a transformative development, the Internet of Things could allow billions of objects to share information with each other. This networking demonstrates the usefulness of the Internet of things. The IoT benefits businesses, individuals, and society. The Internet of Things shows helpfulness in boosting business output, improving farming and people’s health, increasing transport efficiency, and heightening the safety of people’s homes (Mukhopadhyay, 2014). IoT has materialized into a briskly growing application space of major significance. This growth foreshadows an estimate of 75 billion devices being embedded in the network by 2020 (Chaouchi, 2013). Such a growth is fuelled by the numerous advantages realizable from the Internet of Things. The expected growth is further powered by the increasingly high level of computing adeptness and miniaturization combined with ubiquitous economy. This interconnection of devices, in return, creates new application prospects in multiple spheres, including but not limited to wearables and smart cities among others.
Internet of Things Applications
Today, technology plays a chief role in health care promotion. Doctors can access real-time information about their clients, consult with colleagues thousands of miles away, and share research findings with a single click (Eagle, 2016). Patients can receive the results of their diagnostic tests without leaving their houses. Further, with the help of wearable devices, doctors work on ways of diagnosing their patients. The Internet of Things, therefore, connects different devices to share data and information. In the future, the IoT might be useful in detecting numerous health problems probably before they even occur. They can administer medications that would save lives before emergency responders are deployed (Mukhopandhyay, 2014). Family members can also be alerted to the same emergency. Therefore, telehealth and telemedicine in the aspect of a linked health care system demonstrate the limitless potential in improving the quality of the American health care system.
Recently, the nation has faced natural calamities and tragedies that have left thousands homeless and many dead. The fact that it has remained impossible to predict the occurrence of some disasters, such as flash floods, explains why so much damage occurs. However, in the cases where catastrophe has been successfully predicted, the loss of lives and the damage to property have been minimized (Bahga & Madisetti, 2014). In the future, with the increased application of the IoT, it will be easier to forecast the onset of such natural cataclysms with fine-grained precision. For instance, the Internet of Things can help address issues, such as forest fires, before they start or control them in the case of occurrence. In addition, with the interconnection of devices, containment groups would respond faster and manage evacuations in the affected area. The IoT would be effective in predicting and addressing adversities such as earthquakes, avalanches, forest fires, and surges among others.
The business world has been using the Internet of Things for several years already. The interconnection and linkage of devices have been helpful in increasing the productivity of such businesses. Supply and distribution chains have been made faster. The IoT has made it possible to track the location of goods when they are in transit. Not only dos it secure the goods but it also allows the owner to ensure that they are delivered on time (Bahga & Madisetti, 2014). Business owners can also exchange inventory-related information, hence creating convenience in terms of time. As the result of the usage of the IoT, business people do not necessarily have to meet physically to hold a meeting. Consumers can also sign and authorize the payment of their goods while at their homes without necessarily going to the physical places of purchase.
The USA already uses the smart city applications to run cities efficiently. Today, traffic remains a nuisance in many cities. Albeit by a small scale, different cities have used the Internet of Things to control traffic. For example, Bellevue, Minnesota, Washington, Austin, and Utah are among the places the Internet of Things is employed to control traffic (O’Brien, 2016). This use has reduced the number of traffic accidents, reduced emission rates, and eased congestion. The Internet of Things has also been used to monitor security in urban areas, manage the distribution of water, monitor the environment, and increase the safety of cities (Mukhopadhyay, 2014). This would not be possible without the interconnection of different devices to form a network where data is shared.
The use of the Internet of Things in smart homes remains one of the most popular applications. This popularity is informed by the fact that the demand for such services is high, and the services are available at an affordable cost. The use of the IoT here is based on the interaction of applications that give homeowners the ability to control and monitor an array of household devices (Mukhopadhyay, 2014). This boosts home security, evaluates energy efficacy, and improves home care. In some homes, the lights turn on when a person appears, whereas, in others, homeowners receive a notification when strangers approach their doorsteps. Such applications as the Amazon Echo or the Nest Thermostat characterize a smart home (Bahga & Madisetti, 2014).
Although the Internet of Things continuously provides a wide range of opportunities to consumers and business people, such as manufacturers, it has subsequently created a security-related demand on the platform of embedded devices. The systems’ universal connectivity and their possible extensive exposure to severe environments increase their vulnerability to security-related issues (Britten, 2016). For example, research has established that manufacturers have given little attention to security issues posed by their products (Britten, 2016). A 2015 independence research on smart homes found that over 200,000 IoT devices installed in people’s homes were prone to attack by the Heartbleed bug (Britten, 2016). Further, regardless of the installed devices’ encrypting communications, experienced hackers can monitor the IoT system of the home. One’s daily routines, including when they leave the house and when they come back, can be monitored. This is a risk to the homeowners. Some of the owners also set up weak passwords that can be hacked by cyber criminals. To address this, smart homeowners should invest in routers with strong security records as poor routers increase attack vulnerabilities. Secondly, people should update their software devices to patch possible vulnerabilities. Lastly, despite their high price, consumers should enroll cloud services to secure their home system (Mukhopadhyay, 2014).
In conclusion, the Internet of Things has created numerous possibilities and it is likely to create more developments in the future. Undeniably, the health care systems, urban management, and businesses are areas that have benefited from the IoT. The convenience of the IoT is immeasurable, and its applications are in hundreds of areas. However, even with the excitement and benefits that the IoT offers, security should not be compromised. Consumers need to take necessary steps such as regular updates of software, the use of secure passwords, and investments with brands that offer safety solutions among others.
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