IoT Tech 101: How to Get Started

Do you keep hearing the term “Internet of Things” or “IoT?” Are you wondering what it is and how it affects you?

Interestingly, there are different ways IoT affects people’s daily lives. It transcends personal boundaries and affects the way people conduct businesses and transactions.

To transform common devices “smarter,” riding the IoT bandwagon is something worth considering. However, IoT tech is not as simple as getting everything online.

Continue reading below and get a deep dive on what IoT is; how it works, and how you can apply it in almost everything.

IoT Tech: What’s It All About?

Before we discuss how you can start adopting the Internet of Things, let us first define what IoT tech is. It’s a network of objects that feature embedded software, sensors, and electronics. These sensors and software allow the objects to gather, store, and exchange data.

In this concept, the objects are the “things.” In some cases, these things can also pertain to people. Regardless of the subject, the main goal of IoT is to bring the power of internet connectivity to devices and appliances that are essentially not computers.

In turn, connectivity will allow these devices to receive, process, and share data. Though this concept may sound new to many, it traces its roots back to the 1970s. However, the term “Internet of Things” first started to appear only in 1999.

Like other technologies, the Internet of Things received its fair share of challenges. By 2004, the term “Internet of Things” took center stage in some of the world’s leading publications. These include the Boston Globe, the Guardian, and the Scientific American.

The following year, the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union came out with its pilot report on IoT. By 2008, the Internet of Things became official across the world.

Fast forward to today, businesses and households alike are embracing it. 70% of Americans are even keen on having IoT tech in their homes.

How Does It Work?

The next important thing to understand is how IoT works. If there is a key component that makes IoT tick, it is the devices. The main purpose of these devices is to collect data.

As for the nature of these devices, there are many. Some can be small sensors while others can be large apparatus capable of completing intricate tasks. Regardless of the type and size of these devices, they all come with unique IP addresses.

This is a crucial element that allows them to connect to the Internet. Once the devices collect data, they transfer them to central processing points. These can be a cloud server or another type of processing unit.

From there, the server processes and analyzes the data. Thereafter, the devices can perform the corresponding actions according to the analyzed data.

In some cases, IoT can also involve artificial intelligence (AI). Here, the AI helps make the gathering and processing of data faster.

Sometimes, regular data transfer may not be enough to cut it. Thus, such instances need solutions that yield real-time action. This is where edge computing enters the picture.

Edge computing works by sending data to a central server. The difference compared to regular transfers is that the processing happens near the devices. This opens the door to faster data transfer, processing, and sending.

Choosing the Right Hardware

You already know what IoT is and how it works. Your next goal is to find the right hardware to use. The hardware that you pick will play a crucial role in your IoT’s effectiveness.

When we talk about hardware in the IoT equation, we pertain to the physical part that carries all the key features that will connect the virtual to the physical. Take your smartwatch for example. Here, your watch and band it comes with are the hardware.

On a more complex level, the hardware also covers the sensors in your smartwatch. The sensors are the ones responsible for tracking your heart rate, as well as your movement.

Your smartphone is another excellent example of IoT hardware. Today’s smartphones allow you to modify specific settings to become efficient IoT command centers and remotes.

However, if you want to enjoy the highest level of control, a laptop is what you want to use. The laptop is a powerful device that gives you optimal control over the settings and the IoT system as a whole.

Thus, you want a reliable laptop that you can integrate with your IoT goals. If it is your first time diving into IoT, it is wise to invest in a reputable laptop brand like Lenovo. To learn more about the latest Lenovo offerings, check out Lenovo.com for different tech deals.

Alternatively, you can get a tablet and turn it into your command center.

Finding the Right Software

The software is the one that works on the key areas of networking. It is also responsible for addressing action via partner systems, embedded systems, middleware, and platforms.

As for the specifics, there are four main software options you need. First is the data collection software. This software works by managing measurements, light data filtering, data aggregation, and light data security.

Through certain protocols, data collection software aids sensors to connect machine-to-machine and real-time networks. From there, it collects the data from the devices and sends it in line with the settings.

The second software is for device integration. This is the one that binds all system devices. In turn, it helps create the main body of the IoT system.

This software’s role is crucial, as it helps ensure that devices have stable networking and cooperation with one another. Without this software, your IoT system will not work.

Meanwhile, the third software deals with iot application development and process extension. This software comes in the form of applications that extend the reach of the current systems. In turn, they yield a wider and more effective IoT system.

Furthermore, the applications let you enjoy accurate data collection, as well as an increase in productivity. Last but not least is the software that deals with real-time analytics. These applications work by collecting data from different devices.

Thereafter, they convert that data into patterns and actions for human analysis. Real-time analytics analyze the information to perform specific tasks.

Brush Up Your Programming Language

You also need to improve on your programming language. Today, two of the most popular programming languages are Python and JavaScript. However, you still need to learn the most important one: the C programming language.

This is a procedural programming language that comes with different key features. Some of the most important ones include a simple set of keywords, low-level memory access, and a clean style.

Also, you need to sharpen your web and app development knowledge. This allows you to build interfaces that interact with the devices you wish to use in your IoT system.

Important IoT Applications to Consider

With many different things you can with an IoT system, it is easy to lose track of what matters. Thus, you need to focus on the things that are essential to you.

In a grander scheme of things, it helps to look into the different IoT applications we have today. For starters, you can embrace IoT to boost your health monitoring. As we mentioned earlier, wearables like smartwatches can help monitor your heart rate.

In a larger setup, doctors can use these wearables and sensors on their patients. From there, the devices can monitor the condition of the patients. Furthermore, the devices can send real-time updates to the doctors even if both of them are miles apart.

Another is in the area of energy. Through an IoT system, facilities can install intelligent meters. These meters come with sensors that gather data for better monitoring of energy.

On a much smaller scale, homeowners can use IoT products and embed them into key appliances like light fixtures and refrigerators. The IoT system can automatically turn off these appliances whenever you’re out of the house.

This way, you can reduce your energy consumption significantly.

Challenges in Managing IoT Data

Last but not least, you need to be aware of the challenges in managing your IoT data. If there is one challenge you should pay close attention to, it is the security of your system. The threat of cybersecurity is always present, even in government entities. If you have any involvement with government operations, you’ll know that CJIS compliance is crucial in order to protect your data from hackers.

Hackers find ways to keep in step with the latest cybersecurity measures. For example, they can try to hack and seize control of your mobile device. In turn, they will learn about the weaknesses of your security system.

Another serious threat involves your privacy. Though most online connections come with encryption, hackers can break the basic ones. Thus, you need to invest in strong data encryption.

Increase Your Tech Knowledge Today

By using IoT tech, you can streamline different tasks. You can save more time and accomplish more things at home or in the office. However, the Internet of Things is only one of the many other technologies you can learn.

We invite you to check our other articles on technology. We discuss topics that will broaden your tech knowledge that will lead to better productivity and more.

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