What is the Internet of Things and how does it work?

Table of Contents

What is the Internet of Things?

In short, the Internet of Things is the idea of linking any device (as long as it has an on / off switch) to the Internet and other devices that are connected to it. The IoT is a vast network of linked objects and people – both gathering and exchanging data on how they are being used and the world around them.

This involves an enormous number of items of all shapes and sizes – from smart microwaves that automatically cook your food for the right time, to self-driving cars whose complex sensors detect obstacles in their direction, to wearable fitness equipment that monitors your heart rate and the number of steps you took that day, then use that information to recommend workout plans customized to match your needs. Even linked footballs can track how far and how quickly they are thrown and record those statistics for future training purposes through an app.

How IoT works

The IoT ecosystem consists of web-enabled smart devices that use embedded systems, such as processors, sensors and communication equipment, to capture, transmit and act on data they obtain from their environment. IoT devices share the sensor data they are gathering by connecting to an IoT gateway or other edge system where data is either sent to the cloud for analysis or analyzation locally. Such devices often interact with other similar devices, and act on the information they obtain from each other. Much of the research is performed without human interference by the machines, although people may communicate with the devices — for example, set them up, send them directions or access the data.

The synchronization, networking, and communication protocols that are used for these web-enabled devices rely largely on the particular IoT applications deployed.

IoT may also use Artificial Intelligence (AI ) and Machine Learning to help accelerate and dynamise data collection processes.