There’s a lot of weird lingo out there—TTYL, LOL, and NSFW. These abbreviations are nothing compared to programmer and industry jargon like IoT, SCADA, and iOS.
Understanding the abbreviations is one thing, but actually understanding what they mean is quite another.
Take the Internet of Things (IoT) for example. Exactly what is it and how is it different than the regular old internet?
What Is the Internet of Things?
In short, the Internet of Things is exactly what it sounds like—things on the internet. It’s made up of objects that are connected to each other, communicate with each other, and log data.
It can be a difficult concept to grasp, but it’s much easier with a few examples. A few things that contribute to the IoT include:
- Amazon Echo
- Wearables, like the Apple Watch and Fitbit
- Smart home devices, like the Nest Thermostat
- Connected cars
The sky is the limit when it comes to possible devices that could contribute to the IoT. Imagine a gallon of milk being able to tell you when it’s almost empty, or stop lights that can tell your car when there’s congestion ahead.
How Is It Different Than the Internet?
But, doesn’t the IoT utilize the internet? And if it does, how does that make it different than the internet?
It’s true that the internet enables smart devices to communicate with each other, but it’s a very different internet than the one we use every day. That’s because the original internet is used by humans, while the IoT is used by things.
In order to use the internet, a human has to make a query and the internet retrieves an answer. The IoT doesn’t function on queries. It’s simply a database that devices are connected to and can tap into.
Why Does It Matter?
Now that you know the difference, you may be wondering why it even matters. Things have their own internet, and we have ours. Why should you care?
It matters because the IoT is a huge database that collects a mind-boggling amount of information. It can store what you purchased on Amazon yesterday, how many calories you burned last week, and what temperature you like to keep your house at while you’re at work. It’s a great way for companies to market to you directly, but it has the potential to compromise your privacy.
That doesn’t even take into account the kind of information floating on the IoT that could do real damage, like your address or Social Security number. If the IoT isn’t properly guarded and protected, hackers can easily steal your personal information, making you a victim of identity theft.
The IoT is promising to revolutionize the way we live in the world. It will undoubtedly make life easier and way cooler, but you still have to protect yourself. By understanding exactly what the Internet of Things is, you can make smarter choices as a consumer by purchasing IoT devices that are secure.