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What is Internet of Things (IoT)?

Smart cars, smart thermostats and smart locks, you may have heard of those terms lately and you may wonder what they are. What exactly are those things?

These devices are called part of an emerging category of Internet of Things or IoT for short. IoT refers to smart home devices we use every day that are connected to the Internet with the goal of providing people with smarter and intelligent experiences. A few examples of IoT products include Smart Door Locks, Smart Bluetooth Trackers, Nest thermostats, and smart smoke detectors. With any new technology, Internet of things can be intimidating and confusing for average consumers. It is still in the evolving stage, and privacy and security of the IoT products are some of the challenges the industry faces. There are thousands of companies and groups working towards Internet of Things (IoT) standards and products. Especially SmartThings, The Internet of Things Consortium, Open Interconnect, AllSeen Alliance, and Apple are working to build a better IoT platform.

What is the IoT?

The broad explanation behind the IoT is that whole constellations of inanimate objects are being designed with built-in wireless connectivity. Therefore, IoT devices can be controlled, monitored and connected over the network via a mobile application. The IoT span a very wide range of categories which may include light bulbs and house appliances such as Washing machines, coffee maker and even automobiles.


There were many concepts behind the smart devices from early 1982. Modified Coke machine, CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) was the first Internet-connected device. It was able to report the temperature of the refrigerator and inventory of soft drinks. Between 1994 and 1997, many organizations have proposed solutions like Novell's NEST and Microsoft's Work. Only in 1998, IoT field starts gaining relevant momentum. The IoT concept became popular in 2000. A users' capability to cooperate with objects can be changed remotely based on instant or present needs, accordance with current end-user agreements. For instance, such technology can allow motion-picture producers much more regulate over end-user private devices by remotely applying copyright limits and digital privileges management. An important alteration is to extend "things" from the information produced from devices to objects in the physical space. The thought-model for future interconnection environment was planned in 2005. The prototype contains the notion of the ternary universe entails of the physical world, mental world, virtual world and a multi-level reference construction with the devices and nature at the lowest level trailed by the level of the sensor network, Internet and portable network, and bright human-machine communities at the highest level, which supports geologically isolated users to helpfully accomplish responsibilities and resolve problems by using the network to dynamically promote the energy, techniques, flow of material information, knowledge, and facilities in this environment.

How it is being used today?

Nest thermostat is the well-known example of IoT. This Wi-Fi connected thermostat allows a user to control the temperature of a home remotely as well as predicting user's behavioral patterns to set desired temperature settings automatically and improve efficiency. One of the values it brings is allowing users to save money on their monthly electricity bill by being able to remotely control their A/C (air conditioner) and heat. Nest thermostat remembers user's behavior and turns up or down the temperature based on user's previous activities automatically. SmartThings which is acquired by Samsung offers a different kind of smart-home kits and sensors that can manage and monitor smart-home devices.

When internet of things expands, an ability to control devices can become more sophisticated. Let's take a real-world scenario where user's fitness tracker detects that a user has fallen a deep sleep and triggers the IoT (lights and TV) to automatically turn itself off and reduces electricity wastage. Another example may allow a user's vehicle to monitor user's appointment via a calendar, and automatically provides GPS navigation to offer the best route to the destination.

Smart Home

Internet of Things devices are a part of the greater idea of home automation, also known as "domotics". Big and smart home schemes utilize a hub or controller to deliver users with an essential control for all their devices. These devices may include heating, lighting, air conditioning, media and security systems (with ACL (access control systems), explicitly "August", Ease of use is the greatest instant advantage to smart homes and IoT. Extensive term benefits includes a capability to generate an extra environmentally approachable homes by safeguarding electronics and turning off lights. One of the main problems with gaining smart home-based expertise is the high preliminary charge.

Energy management

Adding actuation and sensing systems within IoT can enhance energy consumptions. It is predictable that Internet of Things devices would be integrated into all methods of energy consuming devices (power outlets, switches, bulbs, televisions, etc.) and should be able to interconnect with the utility supply organization to efficiently balance control generation and energy usage. Those devices should also offer users to remotely regulate their devices, or centrally accomplish them via a cloud-based interface, and allow progressive functions like scheduling (e.g., controlling ovens, remotely powering on or off heating systems changing lighting conditions etc.)

How does "Internet of Things" works?

There is a very intelligent underlying technology. Various kind of wireless radios which allow those devices to contact with the Internet and to each other devices. This can include very familiar terms such low-energy Bluetooth, Radio Frequency Identity (RFID) or Near Field Communication (NFC), Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi). Such Z-wave, 6LoWPAN and ZigBee. There are other kind of sensors such door locks, light bulbs and motion sensors. You may employ a central hub that permits different devices to connect with each other. There are cloud services that permits the analysis and collection of data, therefore user can decide what actions can be taken from their mobile devices.


Internet of Things frameworks may assist the communication between "things" and permit for extra composite structures like spread computing and the growth of distributed applications. Presently, some Internet of Things frameworks seem to emphasize on real-time information logging solutions, offering some foundation to work with numerous "things" and have them cooperate. Future developments may lead to detailed software-development environments to generate the software to work with the hardware used in the IoT. Organizations are emerging technology stages to deliver this type of functionality for the Internet of things. Fresher stages are being developed, which enhance intelligence.

REST is a scalable architecture that allows things to communicate over Hypertext Transfer Protocol and is easily adopted for IoT applications to provide communication from a thing to a central web server.

Can IoT devices communicate with each other?

This is the place where things get a little more complicated. So many organizations hardly working on various kind of platforms, technologies and products to enable these devices to communicate with each other. Various groups are working to implement an open standard which could permits interoperability amongst the different IoT products and platform.

Should user be worried about privacy and security?

Data is collected by connected cars, smart house devices and electrical items. Users may worry about the potential risk of private and personal data leaking into the hackers. Number of access points also increases security risk. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has raised concerns and has recommended many precautions to protect their confidentiality and customers. But the federal trade commission does not have the authority to implement regulations on internet of thing devices.

IoT security

Thre are 6 key areas of focus when implementing security for the IoT.

  1. IoT API Security – Ability to authorized and authenticate data flow between IoT devices, applications and back-end systems will be essential for securing integrity of data.
  2. IoT security analysis – monitoring, normalizing, collecting and aggregating data from devices to get actionable reporting mechanism to gain more details about attacks for the organization. Learning, big data techniques and AI (Artificial Intelligence) give more forecasting modeling and threat detection (to reduce false-positives detect by current firewalls). Identifying IoT specific intrusions and attacks which were not identified by traditional firewall systems.
  3. IoT PKI – Giving complete X.509 cryptographic key and digital certification including private key and public key revocation, management, distribution and generation. Digital certificates should be securely uploaded IoT devices at the beginning of the manufacturing then it is easy to identify by the firewall.
  4. Encryption – Data transit between these devices using traditional cryptographic systems can be decrypted by even in small programs. Thoroughly analyzing the PKI life cycle and key management would increase overall security.
  5. Authentication – From simple static passwords or pins to more robust and high authentication mechanism like biometrics, digital certificates and two-factor authentication. Sometimes there may be a machine-to-machine authentication without intervention from a real person.
  6. Network Security – It is always challenging when it comes to these future coming devices. Device capabilities, standards, network protocols and standards will increase the network security as well as firewall configurations. Need to have proper endpoint security anti-malware program, better next generation firewall with intrusion prevention system will do the work.

Concerns have been elevated that the IoT is being advanced quickly without suitable deliberation of the profound safety challenges.

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