Internet of Things Explained for Teachers

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There’s been a lot of chatter around IOT in recent times. Many believe that it is a futuristic technology that is hard to understand. In reality, IOT is simple to understand. So let’s look at what it really means.

IOT stands for internet of things. That in itself is explanation enough. We can look at IOT in terms of ‘internet’ and ‘things’. Internet used to be an interconnected network of computers. This is so not the case anymore. More and more ‘things’ are joining this worldwide network and this is what IOT means.

Now what are these things?
They are any device that you see around you, from switches to clocks and everything in between, provided they are electronic on some level. Give these things access to the internet and there you have it: IOT!

Connecting things to the internet includes giving it an IP address, just like your home address. This way, devices can identify each other. This is where a microcontroller comes in. It is a piece of circuitry that acts like the brain of the device, almost like a computer. It gathers information, communicates with other computers and controls the device

Any device connected to the internet does the following basic things:
  • Gather information from surroundings or from the device itself.
  • Send it to an IOT platform which is basically another computer.
  • The computer then analyses this information and acts accordingly. This might involve sending information or activating another device or anything you program it to.
That’s all IOT is; things connected to each other and to the internet. What you can do with this depends entirely on your imagination. Here’s a few examples:
  1. Switches: you could replace the normal light switch in your room with an IOT enabled switch that switches on whenever someone enters the room. This is possible by connecting it to a sensor attached to the door that detects someone’s presence.
  2. AC: Your AC could be connected to your car’s GPS and cool your homes just before you arrive.
  3. Door: Your door would notice if it is you that is trying to enter and unlock automatically.
Here is a handy infographic created by Webeeky illustrating what IOT is all about.

Internet of Things Explained for Teachers