What is the Internet of Things (IoT) exactly? Definition and examples


The Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea that physical objects, systems, platforms and applications are all interconnected via the Internet. They are able to freely exchange data and interact with each other.

IoT allows the integration of numerous devices and systems into an intelligent infrastructure that makes decisions automatically. Artificial intelligences (Ais) are already being used in many areas. And with the advancement of this AI technology, the application of IoT is also steadily increasing.

Effective use of IoT platforms

Sensors and active IoT devices in an IoT system have the ability to communicate with a central management system or with each other. Quite often the collected data is stored, analysed and utilised in a cloud. This data can also be used to control the system. The infrastructure is housed in a data centre that can be individually adapted to requirements thanks to its modular design.

Besides being supported by this information, decision-making processes are also optimised in numerous areas. IoT is, therefore, already being applied in several sectors:

  • In the field of Industry 4.0, machines and production facilities can be interconnected in order to optimise processes.
  • Smart home systems, such as thermostats, lights and security systems, are being controlled online.
  • Sensors can be used in agriculture scenarios to monitor crop maturity, weather conditions and soil moisture.
  • In the healthcare sector, wearable devices, such as insulin pumps or pacemakers, can send doctors key information directly.
  • Networked cars and intelligent traffic control systems can improve the flow of traffic through a smart city and enhance overall safety.

Dangers of IoT

Despite the many advantages, IoT unfortunately also throws up some challenges – especially in terms of data protection and security. With a myriad of intelligent devices and IoT sensors constantly sending and receiving data, there is a chance of data being stolen or manipulated.

Further, conflicts with standardisation and interoperability need to be addressed.  This is the only way to ensure smooth communication between the various systems and platforms. Without having uniform standards and protocols in place, there is a risk of devices being incompatible with each other. In the worst case, this can negatively impact the efficiency and functionality of the entire IoT network.

Nevertheless, IoT has the potential to have a profound effect on so many areas of our daily lives and the economy. Although it offers amazing opportunities for greater efficiency and innovation, all of the risks involved must be carefully weighed up when using it.