Which sounds more appealing?
You come home, turn on the lights, switch on the TV, and cook dinner.
You come home and the lights, TV, and stove turn on by themselves.
B) sounds like a better option, doesn't it? But you might be thinking that you wouldn't experience this kind of scenario in your lifetime. Believe it or not, this phenomenon could happen much sooner than you think. In fact, this sort of technology is already incorporated on a number of products. The term for this technological trend is Internet of things (IoT).
What is Internet of Things?
According to Webopedia, this pertains to a network of connected objects to the internet and to one another to give owners a more efficient and convenient way of using them. Simply put, any kind of thing that can be switched on and off is connected online. This connection allows users to switch the settings of these objects through their laptops, smartphones, and desktop computers and receive notifications regarding the overall condition as long as they have decent internet connection.
How does this work?
In order for these objects (commonly known as connected devices) to connect to the Internet, they are implanted with sensors that could transmit either location, weather, movement, temperature, and environment. These sensors also detect other connected devices. The data collected are stored in cloud software. It is through the cloud software that the user can switch up the settings and even allow these connected devices to communicate with the user or other objects.
Here's a more concrete example:
Most modern cars have On Board Diagnostics (OBD) II port. As long as users have this, they could find a way to make their vehicle smarter, so to speak. They could download the app Automatic Pro on their smart phone which could feed information about their car's overall status. The information is transmitted to the phone via Bluetooth.
What's the catch?
For all its potential, IoT technology also has its fair share of risks, the biggest of which is security. After all, any device connected to the internet has the potential of being hacked. Mollie Halpern, an FBI Specialist, warned that cyber criminals could upload malware to any of these objects and obtain personal information from the owner. Manufacturers are aware of these risks and are doing the best they can to improve the security features of their products.
How would this shape the modern world?
The car example is just the tip of the iceberg. The true beauty of IoT is it can be integrated in almost any industry, installed in any object no matter how large or small, and could improve any task. With that said, the possibilities for this tech are almost limitless.
Indeed, IoT is ushering in a new way of life. More importantly, it is introducing a new and more personalized way of everyday devices and appliances.