Some computer experts claim that by 2020, the number of everyday devices that are connected to the Internet could reach 50 billion, with some placing that number at closer to 200 billion.
AI and “Smart” Technology Constantly exchanging information at the rate of billions of terabytes per second worldwide, these devices can affect nearly every aspect of personal and business life. This is the Internet of Things, a recently coined term to describe today’s digital environment of constant connectivity, made possible by “smart” devices of all kinds, from wrist-worn fitness monitors to home refrigerators and the complex signaling systems of city infrastructures.
Cloud computing has played a major role in the rise of the Internet of Things. With cloud computing, data is stored remotely and can be accessed by any user from anywhere, making it possible for devices of all kinds to be connected in real time, all the time. Public cloud applications are so common and user-friendly that many casual users don’t realize that they are using cloud computing services. Popular apps like Dropbox, Instagram or Adobe’s Creative Cloud work with devices of all kinds to place these services at a user’s fingertips whenever needed, and other kinds of apps make it possible to monitor fitness, program appliances remotely, and more. More complex and industry-specific “clouds” exist for other functions, such as managing healthcare systems.
The Internet of Things and cloud technology work together on multiple levels, driven by the core feature of the IoT – “artificial intelligence,” or smart technology, that enables even humble thermostats and garage doors to “learn” and take appropriate actions when instructed remotely.
M2M (Machine to Machine) Communication And although people certainly benefit from the Internet of Things, it’s a system characterized by communication between machines themselves, or M2M communication, and the total, or nearly total, automation of thing communications.
For example, when a personal assistant such as Alexa responds to instructions to place an order with Amazon, it does so by communicating with another automated system, not with a human operator. That system then responds by generating the requested order. Along the lines, humans may be involved for jobs such as troubleshooting if something goes wrong or physically preparing an order to be shipped, but the central transaction takes place between machines. And while the Internet of Things enhances the personal and professional life of humans across the globe, it continues to evolve as new elements are integrated into these complex networks of machine intelligence.