A Crash Course On The IoT

This post originally appeared as part of The SDK: 2015.11.06.

If you are like most people (in that you’re not an Engineer), and don’t quite get what the “Internet of Things” is yet:

Put simply, instead of just being websites (like you’re probably used to seeing), like this blog, the Internet of Things (IoT) is comprised of… well… things. Except for that those things have something called an “IP address” (which I would need another blog post to explain fully) which allow them to talk to each other and to other IP addresses (like websites). These things are special. Typically, they are sensors of some kind, and they communicate in an effort to convey the information they sensed.

The “Internet of Things” is just a fancy name for devices that can talk to eachother.

I often refer to this notion as “ET phone home!”, like when my printer contacted the ink company, all on its own, when it sensed that its ink levels were low.  

Another example is Phillip’s Hue lightbulb, which has partnerships with multiple things (including Fitbit) in an effort to better automate your life. With Fitbit, you can tell your lightbulb how long you want to have slept before it slowly wakes you up like a pleasant sun (rather than an awful beeping noise).   In this example, the “IoT” is simply the name for the way Fitbit & the Phillips Hue Lightbulb communicate.

A cartoonist was kind enough to illustrate (pun intended!) this one for you all:

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