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What is the internet of things? (IoT)

Watches, bracelets, thermostats and many other objects can connect to the network: according to research, nine out of ten people ignore it, even if they own them already. We explain the reasons of a success that you wait.

How many of you know the meaning of “Internet of Things” or, in the mother tongue, “Internet of Things” (IoT)?

Although we speak often of late, it seems that the notion is not very familiar to the average user, who has a good familiarity with the technological tools but can not be considered an expert.

To highlight a certain ignorance on the subject, normal view of the topic on the rise but still niche, is a search for Acquity Group, agency Accenture, which indicates how about the 87% the two thousand respondents have never heard of “the Internet” objects.

The report “The Internet of Things: The Future of Consumer Adoption” contains obvious paradoxes, especially etymological level. For example, it reads like the 30% of consumers already possess a device that falls into the category “Internet of Things”, including a thermostat, a watch or a connected bracelet, but do not know bragging have a “IoT” in his hands.

So what it seems to be lacking a proper campaign and promotion of new gadgets that are preparing to invade shops and specialized chains. Just to be more precise, watches and bracelets, with the ability to be worn, fall into the category called “wearable”, ie, objects that everyone can put on your wrist or (in the case of Google Glass) on the eyes, to interact so innovative with the web.

But explain what is meant by “Internet of Things”? We asked Davide Bennato, Professor of Sociology of cultural and communication processes and Sociology of digital media at the University of Catania: “The Internet of things” means a family of technologies whose purpose is to make any type of object, even without a digital calling, a device connected to the Internet, able to enjoy all the features that have the objects created to use the network.” Currently the properties of the connected objects are essentially two: monitoring and control. Monitoring means that the object can act as a sensor, or be able to produce information about themselves or the surrounding environment.

For example: a lamppost IoT not only can reveal whether its lamp is functioning or not, but it could also analyze the level of air pollution. Control means that objects can be controlled to distance without particular technologies but through the internet “. The fields of application are endless, the only limit is the imagination. “Currently the most affected areas are home automation, where IoT objects invade the home technologies, including appliances, and smart cities, where cities become producers of data and can be controlled from a distance.” This is the case of digital totems in major capitals around the world, which can indicate the number of pedestrians present at a tram stop, smartphones connected to a public hotspot, and more.

Despite the major companies have worked hard to let the world know the new possibilities of the Internet of Things, the Acquity Group report noted a certain lack of interest to the connected devices. The main barrier to the purchase seems to be the belief that the use of IoT does not give an added value to people and that the cost is still high compared to the same object “offline” (simple watches, bracelets , glasses), with the obvious differences. Also it seems to be some fear of what happens to the privacy on wearable, with the fear that the data stored on the device than those collected with the daily experience can be easily transmitted outside.

And it is this last issue that could have the greatest impact in developing new wearable or, more generally, the “Internet of Things.” As he explains Bennato:”The problematic scenarios are two: the privacy and security. The first point is a result of the monitoring. If an IoT object produces data, these could be related to people and to their use. The manipulation of this information would fall in the discussed area of ​​transparency and processing of personal data. Safety is instead a consequence of the control: if any object can be controlled remotely, might also be attacked by cybercriminals.

And that is why when we talk about IoT come into play other technologies, such as IPv6 (the new Internet protocol that will increase the number of IP addresses available), Big Data (the collection of detailed information about a specific individual) and cloud computing, in reference to the security and stability of infrastructure that maintain the information sent and exchanged between IoT and traditional devices, smartphones, tablets and computers but also the data centers of companies.”