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The Internet of Things: Understanding the Basics

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The Internet of Things: Understanding the Basics

You've heard it a million times, the internet of things or IoT is going to revolutionize the world and change how we do business. But what exactly is the internet of things, and why is it causing every industry to sit up and pay attention?

The IoT is everywhere you look today, with both companies and individuals trying to integrate several pieces of technology to help their business run more efficiently or make their lives easier. The internet of things is becoming more relevant than ever.

To help you better understand the basics of the IoT, here are three simple questions and answers that will prepare you to take the next step.

What Is the IoT?

Don't let the name scare you, the IoT is simply a network of tangible objects such as smartphones, appliances, and other devices that all use the Internet to communicate together and finally back to us, some also refer to this as machine to machine or M2M communications.

These devices can both send and receive data to create more efficient and accurate communications.

From the using your phone to adjust the temperature on your thermostat, locking your front-door remotely, to adjusting medication dispersion in patients and tracking inventory in a warehouse.

There are truly endless possibilities and because of this our world is becoming smarter, more responsive, and efficient.

Suggested Reading - "How the Internet of Things is Making the World Smarter [Infographic]"

What Can it Do?

Imagine how nice it would be to have your smartphone alert you to say that you left your garage door open or tell your company it's low on inventory in real time?

Thanks to the Internet of Things, these are both possible. With simple objects and devices becoming smart devices they can make predictive behavior and send alerts that help us make better decisions.

The number of connected devices will continue to increase in the coming years and will greatly impact businesses. Manufacturing is seeing one of the largest benefits of the many uses of IOT currently, but every industry and person can benefit from the uses.

Individuals are familiar with fitness tracking devices today, which is just a small part of the greater impact connected devices are having in health care.

There are increasing numbers of wearable health devices for patients with different illnesses to help monitor their health in real-time.

In addition many patients are prescribed medicines that are not always taken as directed, imagine the use of a “smart pill” that can deliver the habits of one’s medicine taking and deliver analytics to the doctors?

Suggested Reading - "4 Ways Hospital Wireless Networks Can Leverage RTLS Solutions"

The internet of things in health care will surely save lives and help treat patients with accuracy and individualized plans creating greater efficiency inside of hospitals.

What are the Risks?

Security is a common concern for anyone implementing an IoT strategy. Simply stated, the Internet of things is relatively secure. However, as the number of users increases and consequently the amount of available data increases so does the security risks.

With the increased amount of data collected by devices, addressing security of IoT should become increasingly important. The benefits far outweigh the risks to date. 

Suggested Reading - "Why Hospitals Need a Better Strategy to Secure Patient Data"

While the benefits range from small to life saving for both individuals and businesses, the use of connected devices is bound to increase.

The use and dependency of these devices places an increased importance on the security, design, and implementation of your wireless network. It simply cannot function without wifi. 

In fact, according to a 2014 study by Forrester found that 54% of manufacturing companies believe the greatest enabler of IoT technologies is wifi.

So if you want to continue to make your environment smarter, you need to first address your wireless network infrastructure.

Want to learn more about how to design an IoT ready wireless network, please contact us here!

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