What Is The Internet Of Things | Telehouse
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What Is The Internet Of Things?

People have become increasingly connected over the past couple of decades, with more than four billion around the world now estimated to have internet access. But it’s not just humans that are coming closer together – the Internet of Things is changing the way the world works, with massive implications for businesses, individuals, governments and organisations.

The term Internet of Things (IoT) was coined in 1999 by the British technologist Kevin Ashton. It refers to the online connection of devices and objects, using sensors, smart chips and the ever-increasing sharing of data.

The IoT allows devices to be controlled remotely and automatically and enables the gathering and processing of information so they can work as efficiently as possible. This saves resources and makes services more responsive to the needs of individual users and societies in general.

What are the best use cases for IoT?

Most modern devices are now IoT ready. For example, a person can switch off their central heating while they are out, or control when their oven starts cooking dinner. On a grander scale, a city’s street lights can be fitted with car sensors to ensure they only come on when there is actually traffic on the roads.

In the UK there are a number of projects underway with the aim of creating so-called “smart cities”. In these modern day metropolises services and businesses are better integrated. For example, in London, smart traffic lights, which prioritise buses over cars, have been introduced in an effort to reduce congestion. In Glasgow, energy providers are planning to use the IoT to map where and when demand will be highest – and also to work out if properties are energy-efficient or need improving.

Another key area where the IoT is being trialled is waste collections. Sensors fitted to bins can let councils and firms know how full they are, allowing them to work out when to make collections, rather than relying on set timetables - Essex and Hertfordshire county councils are currently testing this system.


How will IoT evolve in years to come?

We’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities of the IoT, but one thing is certain, it will expand enormously over the next few years. It has been estimated that between 2015 and 2020, the IoT will bring £81.3bn of benefits – mostly in efficiency savings – to the UK economy.

And, globally, Business Insider has predicted that 55 billion devices will be connected to the IoT by 2025 – up from nine billion in 2017.
One area where there is a keen interest is healthcare. With an ageing UK population, the NHS is looking to use cheaper and more sensitive sensors to monitor patients at home, creating less need for some patients to take up hospital beds. Sensors on patients and medication can be used to ensure there are fewer potentially deadly mistakes too.

Outside cities, farmers will be able to use sensors to monitor soil quality and react more quickly, by watering it, harvesting crops or dealing with problems.
Really, the capabilities of these technologies are only limited by the imaginations of tech developers.

But the IoT brings challenges too, in terms of data storage, management and general security. For data storage, in particular, modern data centres will become even more important due to their low latency, cloud services and robust physical security - this will allow them to act as intermediaries between IoT devices and the cloud.

For further information on how technological developments may impact your business, please browse our blog or contact us.