Internet of Things (IoT) Explained
What is IoT?
Until about 8 years ago, the only things that had Ethernet jacks or Wi-Fi in them were computers, so in those days it was an “Internet of Computers”. I like to call this IoC.
Now, just about every other electronic “thing” can be connected to the internet via Ethernet or Wi-Fi hence the term “Internet of Things” or IoT.
What’s in it for me?
Convenience is the outstanding benefit here. If you want to start your coffee machine from your iPhone before you hop out of bed, you can! Check out some popular smart coffee makers that will do just that here. If you want to turn lights on and off by voice, you can do that too! Check out Amazon Alexa here. And for those of you with a Vantage integrated home-control system, Amazon Alexa also works with your Vantage system! Smart fridges that let you know what to pick up at the supermarket and suggest recipes based on what’s in them are becoming more common – there’s a good list of popular ones here including the fridge that has a camera inside so you can SEE what’s in your fridge remotely – genius!
What’s the downside?
As with most things there are competing “standards”. With IoT, you’re going to wind up with even more apps on your phone. The best way to avoid this is to have an integrator set up a master app like Vantage or Crestron to control all your IoT devices.
Are IoT devices reliable?
If you’re a manufacturer and want maximum penetration into the market you make your product as cheaply as you can and make it wireless so everybody can buy one. The issue with the words “cheap” and “wireless” is that not all wireless standards are created equal. Good wireless chews the batteries so a “not-so-good wireless” standard is usually used and you wind up with a situation where some things work some of the time – this gets frustrating real fast.
Are they secure?
The other issue with “cheap” and “wireless” is the impact it has on your security. The more things that are connected means there are more ways for hackers to get in. Read my post from last year on how to protect yourselves against IoT Hacking.
If DIY IoT works for you, go for it. If you’re not so sure, ask us and we’ll check it out for you, and if you want someone to sort it all out for you then we can do that too!
At AA our job has always been to simplify lives through technology and IoT products are helping us do that, but as always it’s about selecting the right products that work well together to get the job done right! Call us on 09 377 3778 to find out more or to chew things over with our friendly experts.