IoT stands for the Internet of Things. We are all aware of computers, phones and video streaming services, but many things are connected to the internet. Made possible by low-cost microcontrollers and ubiquitous internet availability, we can now control or monitor almost anything, anywhere, at any time.
IoT is becoming an everyday part of our lives whether we want it or not. It is already in our homes, pockets, workplaces, public spaces, streets, skies and waterways.
So, what are these IoT devices?
- That sensor in the Library or shopping centre
- Monitor rubbish bins in off-street hard-to-access places
- Asset Tracking
- Irrigation systems
- Traffic and pedestrian flow
- Monitoring waterways, stormwater, PH and pollutants
- Air-quality and microclimates
- Energy, waste and water metering
- Feral animal movements and pest control
- Science, nesting activity and movement of possums, bats, penguins, fish, turtles and birds.
- Home automation – lighting, cooling, irrigation and security
- Health, personal and fitness devices, like a fit bit.
- White goods, washing machines, fridges, ovens.
- Homecare monitoring for people at risk
- They can also monitor air quality, energy, water and waste
- More precise crop monitoring
- Feed, fertiliser and water usage
- Water storage, soil moisture and turning on and off pumps
- Livestock movements and paddock usage
- Weather and pasture conditions
Energy Utilities can better deploy smart grids and manage energy on a smaller scale for load balancing. Improving the distribution of home renewable and battery storage systems.
Combining all this with AI systems, the possibilities are immense.
Issues to consider
With all this data being transmitted and shared all over the internet, so too does the risk of losing our privacy.
Meaning that we all need to be more aware of making strong passwords, managing our network, and using VPNs, encryption and firewalls.
Also, using reliable manufacturers of IoT devices is an equally important consideration. Is the manufacturer actively working to protect you from potential risks? Do they have customer support, and do you or your IT department understand how to manage these devices and prevent the possible risks?
When accessing these devices over the internet, how is this done? Is the data encrypted? If it uses an internet service, is it secure? Who else is the data being shared with?
However, our greatest risk is the community being left behind. Only 10 years ago, video rental was commonplace, now it’s Netflix or something similar. Consequently, we must understand this technology and be better informed to make better decisions. Personally, professionally and politically.
There are new opportunities to improve our cities and lifestyles. New ways to improve business and operations and to serve our communities. This means new business opportunities, products and services, and this will translate directly into new employment for those with the know-how.