Internet of Things: Can you imagine having complete control of your home in the palm of your hand? It sounds like science fiction, but it’s coming true with the Internet of things.
Technological advances and the downsizing of existing technologies make it very easy to add a few extra functions to everyday items like coffee makers, lights, and even locks.
And what are these new features? Internet connection, automation, and even machine learning! Yes, intelligent coffeemakers exist, and they can learn your routine and leave your coffee ready for when you wake up. But what does this have to do with the “Internet of Things”?
What Is The Internet Of Things?
It has everything to do with it. IoT is the name given to this recent phenomenon of connecting devices of different types and natures (such as appliances, lights, and even machines and production lines) with each other through the Internet. Internet. It is a network in which, instead of human beings communicating, it is things that are speaking.
By purchasing a product that is connectable to the Internet, you are already enjoying the benefits of the Internet of Things. By connecting it to your home Wi-Fi network and downloading the manufacturer’s app on your cell phone (or maybe even your smartwatch), you will no longer need to fiddle with physical buttons. Everything will be controllable through your app.
Of course, from time to time, you will need to maintain the product: add more coffee grounds and, change the filters in the coffee maker, change the light bulbs, among others, but even in that, the Internet of Things helps you: the application will also show you a notification if something needs to be done. Depending on the manufacturer, it is also possible to automate tasks or allow the product to automate itself (through machine learning).
And its benefits are not limited to the home environment: many companies already use it, such as Caterpillar, Uber, and food, each in their way. There are even applications of it in urban mobility and even in football!
How Does This New Technology Work?
It is as if the product has been transformed into a robot. Manufacturers add printed circuit boards with components such as:
The Wi-Fi connector allows the “thing” to integrate into your home’s wireless network and be able to receive your commands remotely.
Actuators are the components that act. They are responsible for performing real-world functions, such as heating water or turning on a light bulb, based on commands received through the printed circuit board.
Sensors are the components that feel. They are responsible for obtaining information about parts of the product or its environments, such as temperature, mass, and luminosity.
Microcontrollers are electronic components that can be programmed with common programming languages such as C and C++. Typically their programming is immutable: it is added to it, and then the component is soldered to the board, making it impossible to modify it after that.
To develop the final program and test it during development, there are development kits specially made to create products adapted to the Internet of Things. After everything is correct, you can run the program on the microcontroller and start mass production.
And How Is All This Controlled?
Products connected to the Internet of Things usually are controlled directly from your smartphone. The company that produces the effect also provides a method to download it via QR Code. She will also present a plan to pair your cell phone with the product. It’s always good to follow the instructions that come with it.
In addition, the product can also be controlled by itself. They can feature machine learning, that is, complex algorithms that can analyze your habits and predict your actions according to time, allowing you to wake up with coffee already brewed and the lights to go out as soon as you leave—home, without pressing any buttons.
Do I Need To Buy A Specific Product To Use This Technology?
No, you don’t! As with other technologies currently in vogue, such as 3D printing and drones, it is possible to adapt your home appliances to connect to the Internet of Things yourself. DIY (Do It Yourself) communities on the Internet can help with this.
However, for this, you will need a lot of patience. You will need to take the thing you want to modify, a coffee maker, for example, take it apart and find out how it works:
- Where the buttons are connected.
- What turns on the water heating.
- How the printed circuit board already has, among other features.
After that, you will need to add the missing components, sensors, and controllers. A development kit might be a good idea for controllers, as they are already adapted for that, but you can also use an Arduino. You can also add whatever you want: a Wi-Fi connector, digital outputs, clocks, and sensors of various types.
Also Read: 6 Technologies That Will Change Our Lives