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In the most general terms, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the name given to all of the devices throughout the world, which are capable of connecting to the internet. Although these devices do not possess intelligence of their own, they gain intelligence through human interaction and create a web of communication. This type of information exchange is what fuels the Internet of Things.

Can Anything Become a Part of the IoT?

Because it’s such a broad term, the IoT can include almost anything capable of sharing a wifi or an internet connection. This means the light bulbs used to illuminate your smart home, which are controlled via a mobile device are also part of the IoT. Everything from motion sensors and smart thermostats to children’s toys and driverless cars all comprise the IoT.
The idea behind giving this network of interconnected devices a name was started to identify those items that you wouldn’t expect to have internet connectivity. So, while lightbulbs and children’s toys are included, your personal computer or your laptop is technically not a part of the IoT. Similarly, smartphones are not included, but the smartwatches and fitness trackers they inspired are very much a part of it all.

What Can the Internet of Things Do?

As you begin to grasp the concept (and the vast size) of the IoT, it begs the question of what it can do for mankind– what makes this form of technology so vital to our future?There’s a two-prong answer to explore here: IoT affects businesses differently than it affects consumers.

For businesses, the Internet of Things opens up the world of analytics in a new way. It gives business owners access to data about energy usage, fitness progress, shopping patterns, and anything else that’s recorded as data by smart devices. That information can then be used to adjust marketing tactics, personalize services, or offer incentives to loyal customers.

For consumers, it’s more about improving the user’s experience and enhancing everyday life. Smart home devices make our lives more convenient, while helping us save money and conserve energy. The IoT also helps us feel safer with motion sensors, locking mechanisms controlled remotely, and surveillance equipment. It also improves communication, offering people new ways to stay in touch and network with peers.

As technology advances, the Internet of Things will continue to expand. While there’s no way to know where this will all lead, the benefits of the IoT are only now becoming apparent.