The internet of things is a term used to describe how objects are connected to the internet that normally would not be connected. Computers and phones are expected to be connected to the internet, but other things like refrigerators, speakers, thermostats, etc. have not been expected to connect until recently. Not only do these everyday devices access the internet, they also transmit and receive data which helps make life easier. The Nest Learning Thermostat ™ is energy certified, connected to the internet and claims to save energy. Energy savings are cost savings for the homeowner and positive for the environment.
Samsung’s line of Family Hub™ refrigerators turn a necessary appliance into something more. Grocery lists can be made on the digital door and sent wirelessly to a mobile phone, or orders for the list can be placed from the touch-screen. Traditional refrigerators keep food cold, but this one simplifies life because it is connected. Amazon Echo and Google Home are devices that receive and broadcast information due to them being internet connected. For many the convenience of talking to the device instead of manually inputting information is beneficial.
One of the major downsides to internet connected devices is privacy related. If the device is transmitting, or listening while connected to the internet you may not be able to control what is being shared with others who receive your data. Hackers have been known to connect to internet enabled devices for nefarious purposes (one example is baby monitors). Other devices such as security cameras and systems may be ripe for criminal activities.
What does the future hold for the internet of things? Regardless of the downsides companies will continue to develop internet enabled devices as long as there is a market for them. For many people the conveniences outweigh the concerns so they will continue to use any they like. Full home automation, extensive workplace adaption and even leisure activities will continue to expand the reach of the internet of things.