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The internet has been around for decades now and is widely recognised as one of the biggest quantum leaps in global networking technology. Can you imagine a life without it (the only acceptable answer here is – no!).

Yet, the internet only manages to connect computers and, of late, mobile devices, to a global network. Imagine a world where every single object and person were connected to a global network. Freakish, right?

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What’s even more freakish is the fact that this technology has already been around for some time – we just don’t know too much about it.

Behold, IoT: The Internet of Things

Believe it or not, this technology is already in play. Surely you’re familiar with the terms smartphone, smart cars, smart locks, smart homes and on a grander scale, smart cities. The Internet of Things or IoT is at the core of these technologies.

The simplest definition came from Walt Mossberg, who served as the principal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal between 1991 and 2013.

He says, “The broad idea behind these buzzwords (i.e. IoT) is that a whole constellation of inanimate objects is being designed with built-in wireless connectivity, so that they can be monitored, controlled and linked over the Internet via a mobile app.”

So this means everything, right from your coffee maker to your television, your radio to your wireless headset and washing machine has the potential to be connected with another device and remotely controlled via a simple application.

While India still lacks the necessary infrastructure to witness the IoT boom in all its glory, if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 100 Smart Cities vision goes as planned, we could soon be living in the future.

The Implications of IoT

Imagine the possibilities. Did you forget to turn off the lights before heading out for that party? You can turn them off remotely from your smartphone.

Leave your car parked in a distant spot and are too lazy to retrieve it? No problem, if it’s a smart car (aka driverless car), it can just remote track your location using GPS and find its way to you by itself.

Wouldn’t that be awesome? On a bigger scale, imagine a city tracking its own air and water quality levels, and accordingly being able to issue alerts to environment authorities when things go out of control.

Prominent examples of the implementation of IoT range from the Siri’s and Alexa’s of today, to the rage that followed the unveiling of Facebook’s Jarvis, a smart home AI voiced by Morgan Freeman. Crazy, right?

The Future Beckons

“I’ve been using IoT extensively in my smart home in Toronto. Can safely say, it is the future of the world,” says Vinay Kapoor (41), who currently resides in Canada and works as a IoT consultant for a startup.

Global giants like Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Philips, LG and countless others are already investing heavily in IoT. Statisticians claim the world could have as many as 50 billion connected devices (yes, billion) by the year 2020. Soon, anything and everything can and will be connected to each other.

Are you excited about the technology, what are your thoughts on IoT? Share your views in the comments below.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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