The Internet of Things (IoT) is an amorphous group of emerging technologies which has received plenty of coverage in the media but could still be confusing to average consumers. So what is it exactly and how will it impact the way modern homes operate?
Any modern gadget which uses some form of connectivity to access the internet can be described as forming part of the IoT. From mobile phones to kitchen appliances, devices are becoming smarter thanks to this interconnectedness. In a domestic setting, this can extend to include entire central heating systems, allowing for remote management of temperature settings, scheduling and an array of other options.
There are legitimate calls for increased security in the IoT realm, with real world examples of serious cyber attacks which have been orchestrated by hijacking millions of connected devices – https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/17/microsoft_iot_security_proposal/. But even with such concerns, the rapid rise in the influence of this type of technology is increasingly relevant to households across the country.
The end goal of IoT is to achieve true home automation, with hardware and solutions provided by firms like http://digitalinteriors.co.uk/, making this a reality today for those who are willing to make an early investment in this tech.
For the moment, there is still a degree of compartmentalisation when it comes to the different aspects of a connected home. You might, for example, invest in a Nest thermostat, which not only allows for remote interactions to take place thanks to its internet connectivity but also supports the ability to learn about your heating habits and self-adjust depending on the situation.
Nest, like the other competing smart thermostats on the market, offers a degree of integration with other products and systems, such as smoke detectors and alarms. But unifying every connected device in a home under the same system is not yet achievable with mainstream products on a modest budget.
In the long run, even lighting, home security and passenger cars will be both connected and controllable from remote locations as well as wholly capable of autonomous operation. Digital smart hubs with integrated voice-controlled personal assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are striking out to champion the cross-platform compatibility of multiple devices and services, but there are still some big leaps to make going forwards.