Internet of Things (IoT)
What does Internet of Things (IoT) mean?
A catch-all term for the universe of devices that are connected to a communications network in order to collect, send or receive information.
The Internet of Things is a top-level category name that refers to non-traditional computing devices programmed to use communication protocols, over some network, to send or receive data. These are also called “connected devices”, “smart machines” or simply “sensors”.
These devices typically had some pathway to the internet, directly or through a gateway, hence the name. However, it is often useful for devices to function within their own networks, such as within the confines of a warehouse or within range of a base station in an agricultural area.
Consumer IoT – your smartwatch
Smart Homes – devices that respond to voice command, your smart tv
Smart Cities – air pollution sensors, smart traffic lights, surveillance and security systems
Industrial IoT – warehouse robots, environmental sensors
Supply Chain IoT – temperature sensors, RFID tags (radio frequency identifaction systems)
Connected Vehicles – GPS systems, motion-detection systems, infotainment
And the list goes on, to include agricultural IoT, medical IoT, energy IoT, and will grow to address virtually any problem, e.g. IoT to fight climate change.
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IoT generate an incomprehensible amount of data, estimated on the scale of zettabytes of data in 2020. (A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes.) Some of these data provide monitoring or feedback on dashboards in real time, some may be collected for machine learning and other forms of analysis, some will be discarded, and some will need to be stored.
Regardless, connected devices need access to bandwidth, storage, and compute, for the same reasons that blockchain networks do: to communicate and store data, and to enable applications and subsequent decisions based on those data. (Fun fact: The Geeq Project was begun with the requirements for an IoT-blockchain use case in mind.)
IoT standards have not been set yet as many large-scale commercial implementations are still in their experimental phases. There are both problems and opportunities as a result. Problems include the multitude of communications protocols and data formats in use; the silo-ing of data; and the cybersecurity problems associated with an ever-growing network.
Another problem is that the default way to store and access IoT data is in the cloud and through cloud applications. However, security of data in the cloud relies on trusted data intermediaries.
For those who are concerned about the security of their data and how it is used, the development of decentralized blockchain databases and blockchain-based applications provide an important alternative.
Used in a Sentence:
When IoT data are simple (e.g. telemetry data), or of public interest (e.g. body-cam video), or parties with different incentives want access to a dependable record of neutrally and correctly validated, sequenced data (e.g. supply chains), Geeq’s blockchain-based applications and databases have been engineered to be a perfect fit.
Last Updated: February 25, 2023
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