What is IoT and why does it matter?
The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) is one of the most discussed topics today. It is basically a computing concept that has an ability to impact the way we live and work. To better understand what IoT is and how it impacts our lives, let us read further…
We all know what Internet is, but some may wonder what ‘Things’ in the Internet of Things actually mean. The Things are nothing more than the so-called “smart” devices we see around us. Cellphones, laptops, tablets, smart watches, fitness bands, consumer durables, automobiles, etc. and any of such gadgets connected to the internet are the best-explained examples of the ‘Things’ in Internet of Things. Simply put, any object with an assigned IP address and an ability to gather information and then transferring that data over a web-based network without any human intervention is part of Internet of Things, or the IoT.
IoT is not just limited to the consumer world — it also covers the industrial side, mostly in healthcare, factories and businesses. Smart devices used in these major industries collect crucial data that helps in tracking inventory, managing machines, increasing efficiency, saving costs, and more importantly, saving human lives.
Gartner forecasts that there will be over 26 billion connected devices by 2020. Surprisingly, there are others estimating the number to go over 100 billion! 
Importance of IoT
IoT provides endless benefits.
As mentioned before, IoT connects devices embedded in many systems to the internet. These devices can represent themselves digitally and controlled from any endpoint, allowing capturing more data from more places. This helps increase efficiency, performance, and improves safety and IoT security.
IoT can largely benefit the utility sector, infrastructure, manufacturing, oil and gas, and many other industries; it will help them make informed decisions to make their processes better. Other benefits include cost reduction, improved process efficiency, asset utilisation and productivity. Moreover, the enhanced tracking of devices via sensors allows companies to achieve real-time insights and analytics that help them make smarter decisions, thereby creating more opportunities for people, businesses and industries.
Life in an IoT world
Thanks to IoT, the term Smart City has become a part of our everyday vocabulary these days. This is because the world is getting smarter – smarter as in going digital. Managing utility bills, online education, online healthcare, smart parking, citizen engagement, etc., are the some of the very few core elements of a Smart City. Of course, when the word Smart is prefixed to a word, if definitely means producing uncountable amount of data and sharing it with the authorised authorities.
Even governments in developing countries are now putting efforts to transform their respective urban areas into Smart Cities.
After all IoT is all about unifying the physical and virtual realms to create a better, smart ecosystem.
IoT is still at an evolving stage and will keep growing into a complex network.
The digital world is as it is intricate in nature and addition of more and more devices to the IoT infrastructure is going to make it more of a dense intertwined mesh in itself, which will bring in new challenges for developers. However, while these challenges will be addressed by experts, consumers as well as industries can get the most out of the IoT at large.