The Internet of Things or IoT as its often referred, is impacting the way we live and the way we work. Whether in the home, the workplace or the community, IoT technology is continuing to expand into all areas of our life and ultimately our future world.

Do you feel a little lost on what exactly IoT technology is? Better yet, still not sure what an IoT network is? Keep reading, we’ve got you covered.

What is IoT?

To explain simply, IoT is any nonstandard computer device. An IoT device is really any physical device with an on/off switch that is powered by electricity or batteries and which can be connected and share data with other devices in the environment that it operates. Any IoT device has the ability to connect to a wireless network and transmit data.

Think about IoT from a personal perspective, as there most likely exists multiple IoT devices in your home. For example, smart TVs, speakers, headphone, fitness trackers and digital home assistants like Google Home are common examples.

ARN confirmed Australia’s IoT household market has reached $1.1 billion last year, with a growth increase of 57% since 2017. More than half of Australian households have some sort of smart feature. This number is going to continue growing.

The need to automate tasks in the home or workplace is only set to grow. Gartner forecasts that 20.4 billion IoT devices will be used by 2020. There will also be more than 65% of enterprises adopting IoT products.

As the world of work continues to shift towards digital, employees will continue to move to mobile and access work via the cloud. Boundaries between work and home life remain blurred, where we can be contacted and log in to work at any given time.

How?

Simply through our smartphones. This is an example of an IoT device. Other widely used IoT devices in the workplace include digital media devices, smart TVs, industry control devices, printers and networking devices.

How Does IoT Work?

A quick overview, IoT works by collecting data from a device, processing it through the cloud and pushing out information to benefit the end-user in some way. In this system, the devices will communicate between one another (machine-to-machine) or with a user through a smartphone.

An IoT system begins by collecting data from the environment through a device. This data is then sent to the cloud. How? The device collecting this data is connected to a network through a number of possible ways such as WiFi, Bluetooth, local area networks. The aim is always to get data on the cloud, regardless of the connectivity option your device connects to.

Once reaching the cloud, the data is then processed before the information collected is made useful to the end-user is some way.

Exploring IoT and Smart Cities

From smart homes to smart cities, IoT technology is expanding to alleviate the strain of city growth. Smart cities are being built to combat challenges such as the transportation of citizens through to larger environmental issues.

Cities are continuing to become more congested with people and businesses. A combination of people settling in cities that provide a greater likelihood of jobs, and businesses operating in cities which have the largest number of potential employees and customers.

As cities expand, we are faced with more challenges when resources are strained. By 2020 it is expected that 66% of the world’s population will live in cities. How are governments looking to ease congestion and the challenges associated? Through the adoption of ‘smart cities’, being made possible with IoT technology.

To define, a ‘smart city’ uses data and digital technology to improve quality of life for the people occupying these spaces.  A smart city collects data through technology and the Internet to address urban challenges.

IoT works to revolutionise the way a Government operates. From automating street lights, to optimising the pick-up of rubbish and managing traffic – IoT technology has a large role to play in easing the impact of growing cities.

For example, sensors are now being placed on rubbish bins. Data is then collected to provide information on which bins need to be emptied and the areas collection trucks need to go. The aim is to make routes more efficient and keep our cities clean.

To look at a local perspective, the Australian Government Smart City Plan is being implemented to create smarter investment, policy and technology with the assistance of IoT. The aim of this plan is to “improve the liveability, productivity and sustainability of cities and towns across Australia.” An example will be the 5G network rollout in early 2020 by the City of Melbourne. Installing 5G across Melbourne will work to boost future technologies such as smart energy systems and intelligent transport to ease city congestion.

Ready to Learn More?

The point of IoT is to make lives easier, whether that be in the home, workplace or in the community we live.

Is your organisation using or looking to adopt IoT technology? Ensuring you adopt the right practices with your strategy starts with having a strong IT architecture.

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