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Internet of Things in a sociological perspective

Why you should not understand Internet of Things as merely a telecommunication method.

Have you heard of Internet of Things (IoT)? This buzzword, which you probably have heard from recent newspapers, TV, or social media, is one of the most popular trends in the world. The concept of IoT is expected to be expanded, beyond IT and electronics, to the scope of dealing with all objects in the world. There are predictions that the company which can dominate this area will dominate the whole industry for the next decade. A huge change is coming to our era.

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We are already facing a huge era of IoT

Definition of Internet of Things (IoT)

Is it too hard? To make it easier think of it this way.

Until now, only humans had access to the web, but in the IoT era, objects will be able to access the web and become “smart”.

What do we humans do on the web? We exchange information, play games, save data, create knowledge, and did so many other activities. Now objects will perform these activities, too. Objects will exchange information, play games, save data, even create knowledge. This kind of world is the era of IoT.

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The era that objects communicate with each other through the web is coming!

Sociological meaning of IoT

What is sociological meaning?

How did Wi-Fi affect our lives? Unlike the computers in the past that were limited to be connected to the web through cable, nowadays mobile devices are connected for almost no cost. This dramatically increased the number of people connected and, as a result, led to a huge breakthrough on the amount of information and value in the web. Wi-Fi empowered the web to become the dominant source of information in the modern society. If it were not for Wi-Fi, would such vast amount of information be supplied at such speed and cost? There may be alternatives, but still I doubt it. As for this example of Wi-Fi, the sociological meaning of something is identifying how it affected humans and their lives.

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The Web is available almost everywhere wirelessly through Wi-Fi

Sociological meaning of IoT

IoT takes one step further. If M2M focused more on one machine to another, IoT covers many-to-many communication as default and expands the concept from merely “machines” to “things.” Thus, whereas M2M was only about communication among electrical devices like TV and smartphones, IoT makes ordinary objects, such as cups, books, or chairs, into “smart” things that communicate and create information and value.

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M2M to Internet of Things ear

Internet of Things and Humans (IoTH)

For example, let’s consider a remote control predicting when to turn the TV on at the right time. It needs to track many data like user’s usage patterns, emotions, locations, or other stuff to become intelligent for a specific user or receive data from the server which has accumulated data from other users.

Hence, IoT is possible only with constant interaction with humans. For this reason, to broaden the understanding, IoT should be considered as Internet of Things and Humans. There are already many people who insist this concept. IoT considers all players in the network as the same, human or object. Objects will obtain and save more information and act like humans by making decisions and presenting arguments, and humans will produce more digital data of themselves — speech, behavioral, or biological information — through sensors and computers and communicate more closely with objects.

IoT should be considered as Internet of Things and Humans.

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Internet of Things to Internet of Things and Humans

What can IoT do?

For example, let’s say my piano has been collecting my usage patterns, but I recently stopped playing as often. Then the piano can figure out that itself cannot provide meaningful value to the user anymore, search the web for the price of itself on the secondhand market, and propose the user to sell itself if he or she does not want to keep playing. By combing the usage pattern and online market information, the piano can offer a potential option to the user. If the user accepts the offer, it may be able to send a message to the possible buyer. Maybe the piano will ask a down payment for itself.

Object will utilize data produced by the user, tell opinions, and communicate with humans to create value.

In this future scenario, did the piano behave like an object or a human?

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In the future, the piano might suggest and communicate with you

The future of Internet of Things and Humans

1. Objects will earn money

2. Objects will be involved in financial transactions

3. Objects become agents of the online payment market

4. Objects need to be identified

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If objects can have virtual bank accounts, they may earn money.

If you look at IoT in not only technological perspective but also sociological perspective, you can easily imagine various “non-Sci-Fi” future images resembling our everyday lives.

On which perspective and what future do you want to draw? And how will you correspond to this changing future?

Hi, My name is Taehoon Kim. I write something valuable.

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