The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of computer devices and digital machines that are connected to the internet in an effort to collect and share data. IoT gives a new level of digital intelligence to otherwise inanimate objects and can make life easier for humans. In a business sense, IoT offers several benefits, such as increased efficiency and the opportunity to access more data related to how a company’s products and services are performing. 

Learn more about what the Internet of Things is, how to use it in various settings, and why it’s beneficial for schools, businesses, and other larger entities.

Internet of Things
Image via Unsplash by Morning Brew

The Internet of Things refers to the countless physical devices throughout the world that are directly connected to the internet and collect and share data. This interconnection with the internet is achieved via a computer chip inserted into a device that’s connected to a wireless network. Nearly anything can be a part of the IoT, including airplanes, smartphone devices, dog collars, smartwatches, and televisions. Connecting these objects with computer chips and sensors gives them a level of digital intelligence that these inanimate objects wouldn’t have otherwise. The IoT allows devices to communicate real-time data without the need for human interference. 

Several technologies contribute to the evolution of IoT, with the most common technologies involved being: 

  • Embedded systems.
  • Real-time analytics.
  • Machine learning.
  • Commodity sensors.
  • Wireless sensor networks.
  • Automation.
  • Control systems.

One of the most prominent instances of IoT in the consumer market is the various products that fall under the “smart home” category. Several appliances and devices can connect to the IoT, such as thermostats, lighting fixtures, refrigerators, and home security systems, and controlled by smart speakers and smartphones. Many schools and workplaces are beginning to incorporate these smart appliances and devices as well. 

How to Use the IoT

The Internet of Things can be used in various sectors and locations, including in homes and schools and at work. Here are a few ways in which the IoT works in each area:

Using the IoT at Home

You can use IoT automation in several areas of your home to easily control various aspects. Some of the most common areas in the home where you can incorporate the IoT include:

  • Lighting control, which enables you to turn lights on and off from a smartphone or other smart device.
  • HVAC systems, which enable you to control your air conditioning and heating system from a smartphone or other smart device.
  • Smart locks, which allow you to lock or unlock your home remotely.
  • Smart home appliances, such as refrigerators, that allow you to adjust settings via your smartphone.
  • Smart gardening, which allows you to control various exterior features, like sprinkler systems and robot lawnmowers, via your smart device.
  • Personal assistants, like Alexa, that allow you to control various aspects of your home and perform tasks by simply speaking to the device.

Using the IoT at school

The IoT has elevated the classroom experience in a number of ways, including by allowing students to take online courses and by promoting more efficient teaching methods. IoT devices provide students with better access to learning materials and communication and provide teachers with the capability of measuring student progress in real time. Examples of IoT technology systems used in schools include:

  • Promethean: This IoT technology system creates interactive displays that include dry-erase, multi-touch, and natural writing technology.
  • SweetRush: This technology builds, designs, and tests education systems and solutions for e-learning and mobile learning. 
  • Blackboard: Blackboard is an IoT system that offers a digital learning environment where students receive personalized education that increases collaboration and interest.
  • Kaltura: Kaltura is a video technology system that lets students and teachers edit, create, and share on-demand or live high-quality videos to any device to improve interaction and increase creativity.

Other ways the IoT can be used in school settings include smart security systems, smart communication methods between parents and teachers, and smart energy solutions to make education centers more energy efficient.

Using the IoT in the Office

A workplace that incorporates the IoT into its daily functions is often referred to as a “smart office.” Examples of IoT solutions for business settings include:

  • Security: Offices can install various IoT security devices, such as smart locks, smart security cameras, and sensors to control and oversee security via a smart device.
  • Energy: IoT solutions like smart lighting, automated window shades, and automated HVAC systems can all contribute to a more energy-efficient business.
  • Communication: There are several IoT applications that can be used for communication at work, including smart scheduling systems, smart projects, and interactive boards.

Many modern offices already use the IoT for elements such as videoconferencing, however, a workspace that truly utilizes the IoT can unite several different devices and programs to create a more streamlined environment. 

Benefits of the Internet of Things

There are several benefits of incorporating the Internet of Things into a workplace or school setting:

  • Cost reduction: IoT devices can significantly help cut costs by streamlining operations, increasing workplace efficiency, and reducing maintenance costs. In schools, IoT devices can help reduce costs by allowing students and teachers to find multiple resources in one location online rather than having to purchase various materials to complete schoolwork.
  • Increased productivity and efficiency: Businesses can use IoT devices to automate time-consuming repetitive tasks. The IoT can also help mobilize school and business resources, such as printers, computers, and Wi-Fi bandwidth for a more streamlined approach and increased workflow.
  • Improved mobility: IoT technology gives business and school employees and students the ability to conduct their schoolwork and work from nearly any location. This can reduce office costs for businesses when employees work from home and increase students’ abilities to complete their work no matter where they are to boost their overall school performance.

Businesses, schools, and other entities can use IoT technology to streamline processes, reduce costs, and boost productivity. If you’re interested in learning more about what the IoT can do for your organization, reach out to Dom & Tom today.

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