Internet of things

Devices connecting to your home to make your life easier

Rebecca Douglas

Your smart watch buzzes on your wrist to wake you up and as you climb out of bed you realise you can already smell your coffee brewing. The thermostat is set to exactly the right temperature and when you step on the bathroom scales the tell you not only your weight, but what you weighed yesterday and what your BMI is. As you drink your coffee you realise you’re running low on milk, so you voice a command to a device in your kitchen, telling it to order some more. It will be waiting for you by the time you get home.

Devices like this can feel like something out of a science fiction movie, but they’re very real, and they’re all part of the Internet of Things. Household objects that connect to the internet via your home WiFi and stream information across cyberspace, all designed to make your life easier. Why write a grocery list when you can just order everything you need online and have it delivered in a couple of hours? Why make your own coffee when a device in your kitchen can start brewing it ten minutes before you’re out of bed?

There are now millions of devices connected to what’s known as the Internet of Things. This doesn’t include things like computers or smartphones, but does include anything else that connects to the internet to send and receive data, usually automatically. Often, they’ll upload their data to the cloud and we can access the results with smartphone apps.

At the moment, though, there are a few security concerns. If you don’t directly control your device, how do you know if it has downloaded and installed the latest antivirus software? Ideally, you shouldn’t need to check and this process should be automatic, but it’s always worth investigating whether your device is secure.

Still, this is an exciting time for technologies and what we’re seeing now with these Internet of Things devices paints a very promising picture of the future. We’re already in an era where science fiction is becoming science fact.

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