Many of us use dozens of devices every day without even thinking about it. Mobile phones, televisions, and household appliances have all become commonplace in our society, and these devices are increasingly connected via the Internet of Things (IoT).
International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that global spending on the IoT rose 8.2% between 2019 and 2020 and reached $742 billion. That increase was lower than the 14.9% forecast, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but IDC predicts a further surge in growth through 2021 and beyond.
It’s a big business, but what exactly is the Internet of Things, and how does it work? What advantages does it offer to consumers, and what concerns exist about privacy? Read on to find out more.
What Is the Internet of Things?
The IoT refers to all the devices around the world that are connected to the internet. They can all share data through wireless networks and do so in real-time without the need for human intervention. The devices themselves can be small and hand-held or form part of much larger machines and applications.
What Are Some Examples of IoT Devices?
In the home, there are smart microwaves that can cook your food for the proper length of time and at the optimal temperature. There are also wearable fitness watches, which can monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and other physiological factors. In the workplace, examples include dimmable lights for group presentations and sensors to inform you which rooms are unoccupied and can so be used to schedule meetings.
What Are the Benefits of the Internet of Things?
The IoT can help our world become smarter and more efficient. For example, home assistants enable us to find helpful information, set timers and play music. At the same time, smart thermostats mean we can set temperature controls from remote locations – perfect for those who hate returning to a cold home.
Is the IoT Safe?
With so many devices connected to the internet and potentially to each other, fears have been raised about the safety of the IoT. In April 2021, the UK government published a response to calls for regulating the security of smart devices, and there are steps consumers can take to mitigate the risk of suffering hacks or breaches.
These include only using secured Wi-Fi connections and never accessing sensitive information such as banking details when linking to public networks. Using a VPN in the UK will help to encrypt data so that hackers cannot gain access to your personal data. While installing high-quality antivirus software on any laptops or computers will create a further layer of protection.