What is IoT(Internet of Things)?

David Peralta
7 min readNov 26, 2019

Internet of things is a very popular concept and one of the most promising technologies today because the connection between things and the internet has reached enormous levels. It promises to change the way we live in ways we can’t imagine.

Connect the Internet to a cell phone, T.V. or refrigerator is not a new thing anymore, it is a common practice in la lot of places. Some people think that connect “everything” to the network is going to make our life easier for millions of persons and companies around the world.

When did all this start?

It is said that the first IoT objects were the ATMs, and went online around 1974, but Kevin Ashton a British engineer and businessman proposed the concept for the first time in 1999 at MIT. He realized the potential of IoT from the connection of all the electronic devices, the data measurement around them and the automatization of many things around them.

Since the first ATM get connected, there has been a very big growth, the result of millions of devices interconnected is, for example, the “Smart cities” that can control the traffic, or manage the supplement of hospitals, also measure things like pollution and services, with all this technology now we can see in a near-future cities were most of the cars are connected to Internet and are driven automatically.

Some Interesting facts about IoT:

  • Today there are more devices connected to the Internet than persons on the Earth. Around 50 billion devices vs 7,6 billion persons, but in 2003 there were only 0,5 billion devices connected to the internet and around 6,3 Billion personas on earth.
Source: https://safeatlast.co/blog/iot-statistics/#gref
  • The Biggest share of IoT is in Smart cities.
  • The main reason people OWN a Smart Device is “Feel Safer” with 72% according to studies.
  • The next year (2020) it is estimated that 75% of new cars will come with built-in IoT connectivity.
  • There are about 1000 to 5000 devices around a person in a city.


IoT Consumer application:

A lot of devices are created for final consumers, some examples of entertainment systems, Smart Homes, Health monitoring, home appliances like fridges or robotic vacuum cleaners.

There is a big demand for this kind of objects and have open a lot of space for innovations.

Wireless networks are a very big player, it provides flexibility for placing devices at home, you can set Smart Lights or connect different Entertainment devices to use them with your phone, there are literally thousands of applications for homes, the best part is that year by year is cheaper, Security is one of the main reasons people have to get devices.

IoT Business and industry:

The Corporations look for efficiency in management and control of machines that make part of their operations, and the technology is very important for this, so companies have invested millions in research and implementing monitoring, data collection, automation, and connectivity, until the point of creating a whole new concept the IIoT or Industrial Internet of things.

In the industry measurement in real-time is very useful to automate processes, now is not necessarily being in place to make decisions and control machines. Artificial Intelligence and the amount of data the companies can process (Big Data) have transformed the market landscape. Some companies generate hundreds of terabytes of data in un day. The data transfer of those amounts of data is huge, so better communication networks are needed, and there is where the 5G technology comes to the scene with the promise of more speed for the companies and the final consumers.

IoT Car Industry:

What if your car could talk to you? well, some cars do. This is one of the fields in IoT, 75% of cars will come with IoT interconnectivity by 2020, this will make safer cars, and make people’s lives easier, for example, now some cars have Intelligent self-parking systems. Tesla is one of the big players in this field, so now you can buy self-driving cars. And that is the future, now lots of countries don’t have access to these Smart cars, but is a matter of time, they are cheaper and better year by year.

IoT in Medical Healthcare:

By 2020, 40% of IoT technology will be health-related. Around the world, around 60% of healthcare organizations have already introduced this technology into their facilities. It makes the operation cheaper and saves lives because is not only in the healthcare facilities where you can find those devices, now a lot of people are monitoring via the Internet some health metrics.

Real-time alerts, patient engagement, collecting health information, even remote health assistance are some of the applications.

IoT Security Issues:

Companies want to develop cool and innovative products, and industries they want to be at the forefront and be competitive, so the speed is important for them, also the customers are hungry for new and super-smart devices. This has a downside because some times the security was not important, so there are millions of devices with a lack of security.

The possibilities with IoT are limitless, but security is still an issue, the company Hewlett Packard make a study in 2015 reporting that around 70% of IoT devices have security vulnerabilities. There are different types of problems, for instance, password safety, the encryption of data and permissions. Devices can be easily hacked and compromise other systems, like a coffee maker, can be hacked to know the WiFi connection and access other devices in a house or office.

For this reason, security is an important thing now, the dizzying growth in the number of devices online may reach critical security levels, so now companies are taking security as a priority because some objects can have access to critical information that nobody wants to compromise.

Law for the Improvement of Cyber ​​Security of the Internet of Things was approved by the U.S. government in 2017. A law that sets security standards for IoT devices providers. The law requires that IoT providers ensure that they can update any of their devices with new security updates, that they will not rigidly encode the passwords of their devices and that they will not sell devices that have known vulnerabilities. But this is not enough the companies must ensure their facilities with security thinking in IoT devices.

Some IoT Adoption Barriers:

There are some barriers to IoT technology, here are some of them:

  1. Data Collection.
    Only some of the unstructured generated data is worth being saved for analysis, not all the data is useful and not all companies and governments are capable of collect information in a proper way. Some industries have a lack of Data management.
  2. Security and Privacy concerns.
    As I explained before this is a very important challenge.
  3. Operational Costs.
    Implementation sometimes can be very expensive and specialized maintenance is required, the integration with legacy technology is also a barrier, some governments and companies made big investments in technology that is out of date, this is a big challenge because of technology growth at tremendous speed.

Some Key Concepts of IoT:

  • Hardware:
    IoT devices need to sense specific aspects of the world around, so they have sensors and special hardware for connectivity and storage, also for software functionality, like SoC components (System-on-a-Chip).
  • Programming:
    Special software, IoT devices are embedded devices, they use micro-controlled platforms. The choice of programming-language depends on the capability and purpose of the device, some of the most popular are, C Language, Java, Python, JavaScript, Swift, and PHP.
  • Security:
    Now, devices must have built-in security elements.
  • Connectivity:
    Network functionality and management.
  • Data analytics:
    Devices must be able, in most cases, of data store and transport.

This is a very big field and there are lot of things to learn about, also have a lot of space for innovation, it makes it very interesting. I hope this information is useful to you, good luck.