Internet of thing "IoT" in a nutshell

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If you think that the internet has changed your life, think again. The IoT is about to change it all over again!

Brendan O’Brien

The Internet of things or how the internet made the world connected. In this topic, I will walk you through the IoT (Internet of things), its definition, history, application fields, and challenges.


I- Introduction to IoT

II- IoT’s history

III- IoT Applications

IV- Challenges of IoT

V- Conclusion

I- Introduction to IoT

Internet of Things (IoT), it’s the first plan for a smart and amazing world with ubiquitous computing and networking, it aims to make our tasks easier and faster to perform, and provides other tasks, like monitoring of different phenomena surrounding us. With ubiquitous computing, computing will be embedded everywhere and programmed to act automatically with no manual triggering; it will be omnipresent.

In the IoT, environmental and daily life items, also named “things”, “objects”, or “machines” are enhanced with computing and communication technology and join the communication framework. In this framework, wireless and wired technologies already provide the communication capabilities and interactions, meeting a variety of services based on person-to-person, person-to-machine, machine-to-person, machine-to-machine interactions, and so on. These connected machines or objects/things will be new Internet or network users and will generate data traffic in the current or emerging Internet. It’s natural to ask ourselves sometimes about the internet of things such as what or when or even why? If these questions have already gone through your mind, then this article will help you find your answers.

    1. What is the internet of thing If we want to put IoT under a simple and clear definition, we can say that it is an additional dimension and a new generation of services that allow anything to communicate with anything in any place and any time using any protocols. IoT is a society, with minimum human intervention, as things have virtual identities to be known. IoT will enable “smart X,” where “X” can be anything such as TV, watch, glass, clock, coffee machine, car...
    2. When IoT got this name The term IoT invented in 1999 by Kevin Ashton a British pioneer when he worked at Procter&Gamble as a chain optimization supplier and once he wanted to attract his boss attention to a new exciting technology called RFID, and because the internet was a new trend in 1999, he called his presentation “Internet of thing” (we will return to IoT history later).

    3. Why should we bother? The IoT is poised to be the next step information revolution, portending societal change that will rival that of the internet itself. The size of the IoT expected to be immense: by 2020, 20–50 billion things are estimated to be connected as part of the IoT, and you must be sure after this estimation the financial world predicts an investment of US$1.7 trillion by the same year. It thus has the attention of companies, governments, and citizens worldwide, giving rise to research in industry and academia alike.

It sounds to be like a huge topic to learn about, is not it? Before we dive, I invite you to a turn back further than 1999 and find out the earlier history of IoT.

II- IoT’s history

If you are looking for a longer, more comprehensive look at the technologies and ideas that gave rise to the IoT, let’s find out:

  1. Electromagnetic telegraph:
    Created in 1832 by Baron Schilling in Russia, and in 1833 Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber invented their own code to communicate over a distance of 1200 meters within Göttingen, Germany.
  2. Computing Machinery and Intelligence:
    In 1936 the mathematician Alan Turing invented the Turing Machine: the machine can simulate ANY computer algorithm, no matter how complicated it is.
  3. In 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first public telegraph message. The message read, “What hath God wrought!”
  4. In 1876 the First U.S. Patent for Telephones: Although the telephone had already been invented, Alexander Bell received the first patent in the United States.
  5. In 1955, the first Wearable Computer: Edward O. Thorp constructs the first wearable computer used for predicting roulette wheels. This device could fit inside a shoe or cigarette pack and would increase the odds of winning roulette.
  6. In 1965, the first Communication between Two Electronic Devices: In the MIT Lincoln Lab, two computers communicate with each other for the first time.
  7. In 1968, the First M2M Technology: The concept of the machine to machine technology (M2M), invented in 1968 by Theodore Paraskevakos. In the next few years, Theodore would go on to invent electric meters that communicated with electricity grids.
  8. In 1990, the *First IoT Device: John Romkey creates the first smart toaster that could be controlled from the internet. He showcased his invention at the INTEROP conference.
  9. in 1991, the First Sim Card Created: Munich developed the first sim card for wireless networks. This allowed devices to connect with over one direct source. This development paved the way for a machine to another (M2M) sim card which would be essential for IoT growth. M2M sim cards would allow devices to communicate with one another as they connect to cellular data. And since IoT has evolved with revolutionary steps and kept all our life parts to become a necessity after it was just a luxury. In the next part, I will walk you through the different IoT applications.

III- IoT Applications

IoT fields are expected to equip billions of everyday objects with connectivity and intelligence. It is already being deployed extensively and we can mention:

  1. IoT for Wearables applications
  2. Wearable devices are at the heart of every discussion related to the Internet of Things (IoT). Wearable IoT tech comprises an array of devices that cover fitness, health, and entertainment requirements. Wearables are the most personable item that a person can own, they offer high functionalities that can help one perfectly analyze his activities. When the Wearables become a part of the IoT system, it is easier for enterprises, manufacturers, retailers, automotive companies, and hospitals to build collaboration between employees and devices.

  3. IoT for Smart Home applications

    The home can be called smart when it has a range of smart devices that you can control remotely by setting them the way you like to automatize house maintenance. They can also be united into one network. For example, the lights can turn on at the moment you enter the home (lamps will know it from the sensors) or your vacuum cleaner can start cleaning every day at 11 AM. But the true magic starts when IoT joins this team. It provides all the devices with internet access which broadens the possibilities of such a home network. For instance, now you can see what happens in your house watching security cameras through your smartphone or computer. IoT applications allow you to connect devices to each other and letting them communicate without your participation. Imagine this: the moment your car leaves the parking near the office, the conditioner starts cooling your house so that after a hot day you could enter a pleasantly cool home.

  4. IoT for Health Care applications

    Patients can wear devices that monitor their heart rates, and that can determine whether they have high blood pressure. Healthcare providers will have access to reporting of patient’s heart monitor data when they need to pull it during checkups and exams. The wearable devices can even alert healthcare professionals when patients are experiencing arrhythmias, palpitations, strokes, or full-blown heart attacks. Ambulances can then be dispatched in a timely fashion, which can be the difference between life and death.

  5. IoT for Smart Cities applications

    Due to the growing developments in advanced metering and digital technologies, smart cities have been equipped with different electronic devices based on the Internet of Things, therefore becoming smarter than before. The aim of this article is that of providing a comprehensive review of the concepts of smart cities and their motivations and applications. Moreover, this survey describes the IoT technologies for smart cities and the principal components and features of a smart city. Furthermore, practical experiences over the world and the key challenges are explained.

  6. IoT for Agriculture applications

    Smart agriculture is a broad term that collects ag and food production practices powered by the Internet of Things, big data, and advanced analytics technology. The most common IoT applications in smart agriculture are:

    • Sensor-based systems for monitoring crops, soil, fields, livestock, storage facilities, or basically any important factor that influences the production.
    • Smart agriculture vehicles, drones, autonomous robots, and actuators...
    • Connected agriculture spaces such as smart greenhouses or hydroponics...
    • Data analytics, visualization, and management systems.
  7. IoT for Industrial Automation application

    IIoT or the Industrial Internet of Things usually refers to interconnected sensors, instruments, and other devices networked together in an industrial setting. This connectivity allows for remote access and monitoring, but more importantly, it allows for data acquisition and collection, exchange, and analysis of different data sources. This has enormous potential for improving productivity and efficiency. IIoT solutions are characterized by their low cost and fast implementation.

In fact IoT integrates radio-frequency identification (RFID), sensors, smart devices, the Internet, smart grids, cloud computing, vehicle networks, and many other information carriers, with such a huge spread IoT has attracted strong interest from both academia and industry, but not only industry and academia there are also hackers, different threats and attacks.

### IV- Challenges of IoT

No doubt that IoT is the newest information revolution, enable a networking infrastructure that connects numerous devices to allow them to collect data and communicate with each other, the increment of interconnected devices leaves two threats: security leaks and the disappearance of the notion of private life. These 2 enormous challenges that IoT must face out:

  1. Security
  2. The underlying problem with information security is that many IoTs components have sensors coupled to communicators, for example, camera, mic or every sensor able to pick up data from the environment these devices are connecting to the internet permanently and it’s able to interact without our intervention and represent a real threat if it is under a poor security:

    During the COVID-19 pandemic one tech player, Zoom, into massive fame. It has transformed the video conferencing platform into one of the most popular online services as the world copes with social distancing and community quarantines. With this rise in popularity comes an increase in cyber attacks. Cybercriminals have been targeting Zoom users, taking advantage of their apparent lack of security mindfulness. Result in over 500,000 accounts hacked in sell in the black market. In October 2016, a hacker found a vulnerability in a specific model of security cameras. Nearly 300,000 Internet of Things (IoT) video recorders attacked multiple social network websites and brought down Twitter and other high-profile platforms for almost two hours.

    -> It is not only video cameras, but anything with an internet connection, from a refrigerator, smart locks, thermostats, light bulbs, vehicles, and even smart toys.

  3. Privacy
  4. Protecting consumer privacy becomes increasingly difficult as the IoT becomes more prevalent. More devices are connected to different types of devices and this increase in connectivity and data collection results in less control. Both controls of data and control of the very devices that are connected are at stake. Control can be lost if someone hacks into the smartphone or computer acting as a remote for the other devices. In the case of computers and smartphones, this hacking can be done remotely and often undetected. Smartphones, just like computers, carry an enormous amount of personal information about their owners. They often link to bank accounts, email accounts, and in some cases household appliances. Stolen data can result in serious problems. In another sense, control can be lost as more and more companies collect data about users. This data often paints a detailed picture of individual users through the collection of activities online. Everything you search, all of your activities online, are being tracked by companies that use that data. These companies often use the data to improve the user’s experience, but they also use this data to sell users products or sell to other companies who sell users products.

  5. Solutions

    Approach solutions for Securing Personal Security and Privacy:

    Threats never end to compromise your privacy via invading your IoT (such as your smartphones, router’s, IP cameras...)

    • Strong Passwords

      Create as strong and complex Internet of Things device passwords as you can to set up the first baseline to protect your Internet of everything and your security and privacy.

    • Install any Security Patches and Hardware/Software Updates When Available

      Hackers are always searching for bugs and flaws in software to hack into secured networks and Internet of Things devices. If you keep all of your Internet of Things device software and hardware up to date, you can keep many hackers at bay.

    • Purchase Your Devices/Products from Trusted Resources

      That’s one of the principal reasons you should just choose reliable Internet of Things providers. Reliable Internet of Things product companies would test the Internet of Things devices strictly to ensure that hackers cannot invade their products easily. Example: a security camera brand’s baby monitor got hacked.

### Conclusion

Arguably the most significant challenge, but also the most fundamental, is to encourage standardization and coordination in the IoT. This is not only difficult in terms of process and technology, but also politics. There needs to be consideration of all stakeholders and their conflicting views on the IoT.


  • The Era of Internet of Things: Towards a Smart World: Khaled Salah Mohamed.
  • Security and Privacy in Internet of things (IoTs): Models, Algorithms and Implementations: Fei Hu.

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