The Internet of Things 101: A Simple Guide for Newbie Techs

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things 101: A Simple Guide for Newbie Techs

The Internet of Things is the latest in the growing list of things we need to watch out for. While it has been around for a good while now, its full potential has yet to be realized, and it’s interesting to see all the new things the Internet of Things is capable of. With the help of innovative companies, the limits are pushed further and further as each day passes. So what exactly is it, and how does it differ from regular old internet we are all so accustomed to? Let’s talk about some of the basics to get you started.

The number of people connected to the internet is growing at a rapid rate. Part of the reason why that number continues to increase is that of websites like who provide excellent services at honest prices. Because of this rapid growth, it was only a matter of time before things other than people could connect to the internet.

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things is a comprehensive term that roughly refers to millions if not billions of devices that can be connected to the internet to do more than what is typically associated with that particular thing. In modern times, virtually anything can become a smart device due to the affordability of certain chip sets that give it that capability. We’ll get into detail with those later.

Many devices right now can already connect to the internet. A few years ago, that wasn’t the case. Think of your smartphone; it has the capabilities to do a myriad of things and is necessarily a pocket computer. While it does have the ability to do things that feature phones, also known as dumb phones, were unable to do before touch screens were even a thing, it is not considered as an Internet of Things device. Confused? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

What are some examples of the Internet of Things Devices?

So if a smartphone isn’t a device that revolves around the concept of IoT, what can be considered an IoT device? For starters, almost, and I mean this quite literally, anything can be an IoT device. So long as it can connect to the internet and be controlled in that context.

For example, a thermostat that has advanced functions. Such as adjusting to the temperatures of the immediate surrounding area is considered such a device. Such devices can also have motion sensors. And this is for functions like sensing if there are people around to save energy when there aren’t. You may have noticed by now that another trait that devices associated with IoT have is that they tend to make use of various sensors, and these can vary a lot regarding function.  

Smart Phones

Let’s rewind a bit and revisit why smartphones are not considered as IoT enabled devices. While smartphones do have functions, features, and attributes that are regarded as traits of an IoT device, they are not found for one primary reason. We mentioned before that applications and tools that make use of IoT generally have to be able to connect to the internet. And this is being controlled in that manner. However, the method in which they are managed is what separates prevents smartphones from being considered as IoT devices.

Primarily, yes, smartphones can connect to the internet in the same way that IoT devices can, but think of IoT devices as devices that generally can think on their own in a manner of speaking, which is just not the case with smartphones. Smartphones require human interaction to be of much use. But please note that this is a statement meant for this particular time.  And smartphone software manufacturers are slowly blurring the line with the leaps and bounds they are making with advanced artificial intelligence technology. As well as virtual assistants that even power some of the more popular IoT devices!

Why should all this matter to you?

The examples we have given are all right on paper. But how do these fare in real life, and how does this ultimately benefit you, the consumer? Well, devices that were developed with IoT capabilities in mind generally have one primary goal they wish to accomplish. And that goal is to make your daily life more comfortable necessarily. In fact, devices with IoT capabilities are essentially answers to the problems you have with your daily life. Let’s go through some scenarios below.

Picture this: you’re all set for the family vacation you’ve been planning all season. You take a glance at your checklist and thankfully find that everything is packed and ready to go. After making sure your house is locked and secured, you start your engine and make your way out. About halfway through your journey, you get a text from a friend saying he’s at your doorstep to get the car keys that he left behind just the week prior. Yikes.

Smart Security Locks

Thankfully, not all is lost. Being connected has its perks. In this instance, smart locks will be your best friend. There are currently dozens of intelligent locks available in the market. And most of them offer what you’d come to expect from locks and brings a few extras to the table. Let’s use the August smart lock as an example. If you need your friend to enter your house, you don’t need to drive all the way back to unlock the door for him.

Some of the famous smart locks like the ones by August have a feature where you can essentially generate a temporary code. Enabling you to give a distinct code that you can give your friend. This code allows him to enter for a limited period. And its expiry is an excellent way to make sure other unwanted visitors don’t get too adventurous while you’re away from home.  

IoT devices are not limited to just home consumers. In fact, the original purpose of IoT devices was to boost existing industries. An example of an IoT device for the business sector would be devices that have sensors embedded inside them. These devices are meant to be put in concrete or other similar materials. People can then monitor the condition of the elements in real time and be able to discern when the concrete needs replacing or becomes too brittle for safe use. Saving them a significant amount of resources and money without having to go through a potential accident.

Data Collection

If all this sounds good to you, there’s one thing you should know. For all of this to work correctly, IoT devices need to collect your data. Now, nobody likes being spied on, and this is primarily a valid topic to discuss whenever we mention data being collected. However, you should rest easy knowing that there is a perfectly good reason why these devices have to raise your data.

Data is collected for the IoT devices to work more efficiently. In what way, you may ask? Well, first you have to remember that IoT devices are mainly smart devices. And as such, a right amount of their work is done automatically – that is, without human interaction. Again, this is one of the reasons why smartphones are not considered as IoT devices.

By collecting the data on the consumer (you), it learns to read your habits, schedules, and other things that may benefit you in the long run. By learning these, it determines when to go to “sleep” mode to save energy, when you are around. And other things that will be relevant to the device you are using. Another reason for this is that the manufacturers, or the companies who make the products, want to learn their target market a bit more.  

Because of the data they collected, they know who their product is for. On paper at least, this ensures that the product is suited for say, people in a particular age bracket. Or perhaps a specific occupation. Inversely, this means that you only get relevant advertisements, and things you don’t care about aren’t shown to you altogether. Which definitely excellent for all of us.

Looking forward to the future – What should we expect?

It may sound cliché, but the future is happening right now, at this very moment. With all the current trends and products available today, it’s not hard to see why that is so. An advantage of the always-connected nature that the Internet of Things has that you may not dwell too much on is that they can get updates over the air with little to no hassle or human involvement. Essentially, this means that devices will only continue to get smarter and more functional.

There is excellent news for people who want to get in on the smartphone hype. The fact that smart homes are comprised of smaller devices instead of one giant machine is right for future-proofing as well. And ensures that should a particular device not be to your liking you can swap it out as a sort of component instead of replacing the whole thing. This not only makes it more affordable but practical and feasible as well. Looking forward, it will be interesting to see what other smart items can come to the market.


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