Demystifying the IoT: A Beginner’s Guide

Demystifying the IoT: A Beginner’s Guide

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to any electronic devices connected via the largest and most accessible network on the planet: the Internet. From everyday smartphones to the different sensors, switches, and other devices that seamlessly communicate through the Thinga Cloud IoT platform, the IoT comprises a wide range of ‘Smart Devices’.

Unlike ordinary consumer electronics you have at home, IoT-enabled devices can talk to each other and exchange data through the web. While your washing machine, refrigerator, and other home appliances each have their own essential purpose, that’s about all they can do. In contrast, their smart or IoT-enabled versions function not just as home appliances, but also as data collectors and paths for automation.

An IoT-enabled refrigerator for instance can automatically adjust temperatures based on new contents, and save electricity through scheduled shifts. Meanwhile, a smart washing machine can tell you when you’re using too much water and implement automatic settings to save both water and power. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Industrial Applications of the IoT

One of the most promising applications of this technology is in water leak and detection systems. Apart from the U.S., this is already happening in places like Australia and in different European countries. Through the use of sensors that detect water levels and noises related to leakages, IoT technologies can streamline the maintenance of industrial piping systems and potentially save trillions of gallons of water. These technologies can be applied to everything from oil rigs and large industrial facilities to corporate office buildings and small homes. Tantiv4’s Shield Management system for instance applies them not just to a water leak and consumption management, but also for fire alarms and power grids.

 

Trimming the Walled Garden

The benefits of the IoT come with its own set of technical challenges, such as powering remote sensors and switches, network connectivity issues, and in some cases poor user experiences (UX). The solution to these issues is the walled garden approach, a development method used by tech giants like Apple and Google. The walled garden refers to a series of virtual walls around a particular network of functions and services. This enables developers and users to still leverage all the functions of the Internet — but only within the specific and exclusive designs of that said network. For IoT-connected devices, this means having a more secure environment to develop user-friendly UX. This also means more easily implementing technologies like low power wide area networks (LPWANs) that allows battery-powered IoT devices to function independently for longer periods. Using LPWANs, fixing connectivity issues, providing the ideal UX, and other consumer issues are easier to tackle in the relatively secure spaces of your network’s own walled garden.

 

Demystifying the IoT Through Self-Study

Whether you’re a homeowner curious about smart devices or an entrepreneur looking to optimize their business, there are various online courses you can take to ensure a safe journey into this emerging and still-developing technology. In fact, many of these courses are offered by some of the top online universities in the country.

For example, the online cybersecurity training analyst program at the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) has recently teamed up with tech provider Apex to provide enhanced cybersecurity training online. Aimed at upskilling Apex employees as well as providing job opportunities for military veterans and UMGC students, the program is a promising step towards a safer IoT ecosystem.

Likewise, the same can be said for the online computer science degrees at Maryville University, which not only includes cybersecurity, but also data science, business data analytics, software development, and other courses integral to the development of IoT technologies. These 100% online courses offered by long-standing and highly accredited academic institutions can give anyone with an Internet connection at home an in-depth understanding of the underlying technologies that run the IoT.

These are the courses that can enable you to design your own network and UX, establish effective cybersecurity protocols, and use IoT networks to solve efficiency problems. Demystifying the functions of the IoT is the first big step towards effectively implementing the technology in your home or business.

 

Written by: Lokesh Johri, Nica Pumphrey

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