What is Internet of Things & Why Do You Need to Know About it?

What is Internet of Things

Imagine a world where everything is connected through a vast internet network. A world where you can turn your light switch on and off from your bed using your smart phone. Or one where your shower turns on automatically as soon as you log into Facebook for the first time in the morning, while your coffee simultaneously starts brewing as your alarm rings.

As crazy as it sounds, we are moving closer and closer to living in a world like this—one which is being built completely around one convenient network.  This network will dramatically change what we consider the internet to be, according to Todd Mumford, CEO of Riverbed Marketing

It’s called Internet of Things (IoT) and if you want to be at the forefront of the IT world, you better become familiar with this trendy tech term.

Working with IoT is about as cutting-edge as it gets for aspiring IT pros, which means you’ll be working with some state-of-the-art technology. But before you sign yourself up for this adventure, you’re probably still wondering: What is Internet of Things, exactly?

You’re in luck because we enlisted a handful of IT pros to help get you up-to-speed on this hot new concept.

What is Internet of Things?

The term isn’t exactly new – it was coined back in 1999 – but IoT is still an emerging concept for most IT professionals. So don’t be ashamed if you’re just hearing of this thing for the first time.

But don’t let us define it for you. Mumford describes IoT as an ever-evolving network of connected devices across the Internet. This network consists of servers, computers, mobile devices, system integrations and electronic devices.

What’s important to know about IoT is that it is more than just an internet connection between electronic devices such as your smart phone, computer, stereo or car.  IoT is connecting any device or gadget that has an on and off switch to the Internet and also to each other – all while transmitting data, according Peggy Smedley, editorial director of Connected World. 

What are some examples of Internet of Things in action?

Sensors and other monitoring devices are some of the intriguing commercial examples of IoT. Parents can monitor an infant’s breathing, skin temperature, body position, and activity level on their smartphones. Monitoring your medications, heating or cooling your home efficiently and tracking your keys are some other practical examples of how IoT can make life a bit easier.

But the capabilities of IoT go far beyond creating comfort and convenience in your everyday routine. OnFarm uses IoT to create a platform to help farmers read soil moisture levels, pesticide usage and other important information. The Air Quality Egg uses IoT to allow anyone to detect nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide levels near their home. These are just a few of the industrial and environmental uses of IoT.

Why should you care about Internet of Things?

So what if you can control the thermostat of your apartment from your smartphone as you drive home from work? Is it really that big of a deal?

"If it's not connected to the net, it's not being sold anymore."

If you’re at all interested in pursuing a career in IT, it’s a HUGE deal! IoT is projected to reach 26 billion connected devices by 2020, according to Gartner, a prominent IT research company. This forecast suggests this isn’t a fad that’s fading any time soon.

As more and more products are connecting to the Internet, IT professionals will inevitably be faced with new problems to solve and security vulnerabilities to evade, according to Smedley. New devices being introduced in businesses, schools and households will need to be monitored, maintained and protected.

Smedley claims IoT developments are making companies and individuals more susceptible to cybercrime. IT professionals need to race to create a IoT security strategy that can protect the data that is now linked to this interconnected network, she says.

How will Internet of Things affect the future of IT?

“What was the last piece of technology you purchased that didn't have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth built in? Probably your original iPod. If it's not connected to the net, it's not being sold anymore,” says Flynn Zaiger, the CEO of Online Optimism.

Mumford calls IoT the trendsetter that will continue to steer the direction of the IT industry. Put simply, IoT isn’t going extinct any time soon, so you might as well jump on the bandwagon!

Be a part of the future of IT

If you’re considering pursuing a career in IT, remember that working with something as cutting-edge as IoT will likely turn some heads. But don’t be surprised when your friends start crowding you to get help and advice with all of their gadgets and electronics.

Looking to get your start in the IT field? Check out our article, "5 IT Certifications That Will Launch Your Tech Career" to learn more about the IT certifications employers love to see on a resume. 

Aaron Lawrence

Aaron is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. His interest in writing articles for students stems from his passion for poetry and fiction and the belief that all words can educate.

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