The Internet of Things has for some time been cloaked in mystery as to what it actually is and how it is going to affect us in everyday life.
Abbreviated to IoT, the phenomenon isn’t a new concept, in fact, the first mention of it was back in the 80’s when the first internet-connected toaster was presented at a technology conference. We’ve put together a list of 10 places that you might find the Internet of Things in your day-to-day routine…
But first, what actually is the Internet of Things?
Put simply, it’s about connecting devices and objects to the internet in order for them to send and receive information to and from us. It is most common for ‘smart’ objects to relay information using applications on phones or tablets.
So, where will am I likely to experience the Internet of Things?
1. Your home energy usage
Tracking and controlling your energy and heating at home is one of the most popular and best publicised ways to make the most of IoT. As the Government is pushing for smart meters to be rolled out, energy companies have developed applications that allow you to control your heating remotely, altering the temperature or turning it on and off. Quite handy!
2. Parking your car
Although not yet overtly mainstream, smart parking applications are now available that will monitor parking around towns and cities and let you know where parking spaces are available via your phone.
3. Your home appliances
There are now various home appliances, from fridges to ovens to kettles, that can connect to the internet and be controlled remotely using an app. Great for avoiding accidents and saving energy.
4. Your home security
Sensors and cameras around windows and doors can monitor and detect any openings and trespassing of your property and alert you and your security company immediately, keeping your home super safe.
5. Your medication
There are a variety of different methods to let you know when its time for you, or perhaps an older family member, to take a prescription – from WiFi connected prescription bottle lids to patches you stick to your skin. These help to set reminders and schedules, let you know when you need a refill and even organise your doctors’ appointments.
6. Your lighting at home
You can now buy particular WiFi enabled light bulbs that can be controlled using your smart phone. Using the app, these light bulbs can be switched on and off, dimmed and changed colour. They can even be set to change to remind you to do something, for example, glow red when its time to pick the kids up from scouts!
7. Your garden
Green-fingered gardening fanatic? There’s something for you too! Whether its for your back lawn or for your giant Polytunnel, there are systems now that will use sensors to monitor the actual growing needs and conditions of your plants, report back and can even talk to your WiFi enabled sprinkler system to provide the exact amount of water your plants need, without you having to do a thing.
8. Your local streets
Smart bins are being introduced around towns and cities to help monitor when bins need to be emptied by the council, keeping streets clean and saving time and money in the process.
9. Your health and fitness
Another commonly used form of IoT is that of tracking your fitness levels and health. There are all manner of wearable devices available now such as watches and even clothes, that monitor the likes of your movements, diet, heart rate and location, amalgamating the information into a smart phone application for you to use at your disposal.
10. Your forests
Ok, so this one doesn’t necessarily affect your day to day life, but it definitely contributes positively to the world we all live in! There are now wireless chips being fitted to trees in places like the Amazon rainforest that can notify environmental protection institutes if trees have been illegally cut down and are in transit when they shouldn’t be, alerting the authorities to the exact whereabouts of the stolen trees.