Explainer: The internet of things

The Internet of what? The internet of things is a term you may have heard a lot recently. It features heavily in discussions about our future – and, increasingly, our present. But what is it?

This is a simple guide to the term, the impact it’s set to have, and how it might change your life.

The internet of what?

At its heart, the concept is very simple. It’s about connecting devices to the internet. This doesn’t just mean smartphones, laptops and tablets. Jacob Morgan from Forbes talks of connecting everything with an “on and off switch.”

The ‘smart fridge’ dominates media discussions. A fridge that could let you know when you’re running out of something, write a shopping list, or alert you if something has gone out of date. But, in theory, anything from a jet engine, to a washing machine could be connected.

Connected devices can be controlled remotely – think: adjusting your heating via an app – and can gather useful data.


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