What is IoT & Why Should I Care: A Quick Guide

Unless you lived under a rock in 2014, you heard the phrase “Internet of Things” at some point. Perhaps it was on the news, on social media, or maybe you even heard your friends talk about it at some point. Still a bit confused as to what the Internet of Things is, exactly? Don’t worry; you aren’t alone, and we’re here to help!

What is the Internet of Things?

Explained simply, the Internet of Things, also referred to as IoT, is the concept that devices are connected and transfer data to the Internet and/or other devices. Yep, that’s all. Not at scary as it seemed, right? Devices, as envisioned in IoT, can include just about anything — an oven, a thermostat, and even a belt buckle — but at the moment connected cars and wearable devices dominate the conversation.

So, now that you have the basics down, let’s get to the real question: why should you care?

Limitless Possibilities

Starting with the broadest benefit of IoT, the application possibilities are virtually endless. If a device is able to connect to the Internet and/or another device to transmit data, that device exists within the Internet of Things space. As manufacturers and consumers alike begin to truly embrace IoT and the markets mature, we will begin to see more and more sophisticated technology inspired by IoT, such as hyper-efficient natural resource conservation devices, intelligent devices to accurately measure health at home, and maybe even that awesome pizza hydrator from Back to the Future 2.

Emerging Markets

Limitless possibilities lead to emerging markets, especially when IoT-inspired devices often strive for increased efficiency and convenience in an already connected world. Even a year ago, the market for smartwatches was small, but now people are clamoring over the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. The same idea applies to connected cars. Although Google has been promising us a self-driving car for years, car manufacturers are finding ways to take advantage of the connected car market in smaller ways by developing app-controlled features and mobile device integration. If this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) revealed anything, it’s that developers and manufacturers are eager to put IoT to work in their new produces, as demonstrated by everything from smart baby bottles to electric roller skates.

Opportunities for Innovation

While consumers can get excited about our above two benefits of IoT, developers can also relish in the new opportunities blossoming at both the individual and enterprise level. After all, limitless possibilities and emerging markets must be supported by someone, and that someone in this case are developers. Developers will be challenges to develop connected devices with human experience in mind, but they will also discover that they will join a community of developers and companies excited about the future of IoT. As the demand for these devices continues to grow, developers will also likely find funding opportunities to further take their ideas to completion.

The Internet of Things is a concept and space that will continue to evolve, especially as people begin to acknowledge the limitless possibilities of application, the emerging markets, and new opportunities for innovation. Now you’re in the loop! I’ll go ahead and leave some other IoT resources for you, here.

Written by Erin Dame, Application Developers Alliance Communications Manager