What is the Internet of Things (IOT) and why should you care?


At Tolar Systems, we are frequently asked about technology; one of the questions on many people’s minds is, what is the Internet of Things (IOT), and why should you care?

In this post, we set out to answer these questions.

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things , or IOT, refers to any object or device that is connected to the Internet, and that utilizes smaller computing devices to send and receive messages over the internet. The Internet of Things can encompass everything from wearable devices, like a FitBit, to home controllers and personal assistants or home controllers like Amazon’s Alexa or the Nest smart thermostat.

Why should I care about the IOT?

Even your mobile device or smart phone is part of the Internet of Things, meaning that already, most people are exposed to IOT technology.

So, aside from the fact that you likely already own an IOT device, why should you care about the IOT? And what do you need to know about the IOT in your business?

  • The IOT market is exploding – IT industry analyst estimates that by 2020, there will be more than 26 billion IOT-connected devices. These will be used for a wide array of personal and business purposes. These devices allow people to communicate with each other, things to communicate with people, and with other things. Think printers and other devices that can order their own supplies, lights and thermostats that can adjust themselves depending on typical usage patterns, or oil rig drill bits that can notify a human supervisor when it needs to be replaced. Even better, the IOT makes possible a coffee machine that not only can have your coffee ready and waiting when you want it, it can even brew it to your personal tastes. Within the next few years it’s likely that the average home or business will own several IOT devices.
  • The IOT future brings unique challenges – One criticism of the IOT has been that it will introduce humankind to a Terminator-esque world of machines that can think and make decisions for themselves. That may seem far-fetched, but in fact, the technology around IOT and artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing rapidly. So much so, it’s likely that within a few years, machines that can think and act for themselves will no longer be the stuff of science fiction movies, but a necessary part of many workplaces. Researchers are working to impart not just work orders and requirements, but a decision-making framework that includes human concepts such as morality and ethics.
  • What you need to know, now – A world of intelligent, self-motivated robots and devices is still a ways off. However, as more people turn to IOT-connected devices to assist them in their daily work and personal lives, there are some things of which users should be aware. One is that security of IOT devices is still very much in the fledgling stage – there isn’t yet a standard protocol for securing these devices to prevent them from spreading malicious programming to your personal or business network. In addition, once users take them home, these devices are often “orphaned,” or never updated again. For businesses in particular, managing the security of these devices will be a necessary part of an overall strategy for managing network security, in order to prevent your business from falling victim to cyberattack.

The IOT is a fascinating aspect of our increasingly high tech world, where what was once only possible in science fiction is becoming a part of our daily world. If you have questions about the IOT, please contact us using the form below.