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Internet of Things (IoT)

What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)? Everything You Need to Know

Need to get up to race on the tech trends of IoT quickly? Here’s your five-minute primer on this burgeoning field of tech. Smart devices form the basic units of the Internet of Things.

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Real Benefits That IOT (Internet of Things) Brings

The IoT/Internet of Things is a phrase you’ll hear everywhere if you follow current developments in technology. It refers to the vast network of “smart” devices, from a Web-enabled doorbell camera to an intelligent dishwasher. If it’s inside an electrical enclosure and connects to the Internet, you can be pretty sure that it’s a part of the Internet of Things.

Here’s the thing about the Things that make up this Internet: They’re getting much more numerous and more critical in our daily lives. Don’t let that scare you, though. There are tons of beneficial applications for IoT devices, so long as you know how to use them safely.

Need to get up to race on the tech trends of IoT quickly? Here’s your five-minute primer on this burgeoning field of tech.

1. What Is IoT?

Smart devices form the basic units of the Internet of Things. (See the next section for a list of everyday devices.) Each intelligent device connects to the broader Internet, and these intelligent device networks (and their connections) are collectively transferred to as the Internet of Things.

The fundamental purpose of intelligent devices and IoT is to allow people to control and monitor the functions of their world in new ways through devices equipped with sensors and an Internet connection. It’s a relatively simple concept with a vast range of applications. Intelligent machines can handle controlling lights, housing an Alexa-like voice assistant, or collecting fitness information from your workout.

Most IoT devices connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, but it’s also common for IoT devices to use other wireless protocols, such as Bluetooth and Zigbee. Remote operation is a standard feature for intelligent devices and typically comes in a connected mobile application.

What Is the Internet of Things (IoT) Everything You Need to Know

Source: metamorworks/Shutterstock.com

2. Common IoT Devices

In many highly developed countries, like the U.S., IoT devices are already near-ubiquitous. These are some of the ones that you’ll find just about everywhere:

Voice Assistant Speakers: Web-enabled intelligent speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are now constant companions for many people in their residences. These devices often serve as smart home hubs that allow users to control other smart devices in the home.

Personal Fitness Trackers: Fitness trackers like the Fitbit can monitor heart rate, steps per day, and other health and lifestyle factors.

Smart Lighting: These systems allow you to control your lighting remotely from your mobile devices, measure energy consumption and develop custom lighting schemes and routines that always give your space the perfect ambiance.

Smart Thermostats: A intelligent thermostat automatically tracks and analyzes energy consumption. As with intelligent lighting, most can be controlled remotely through apps.

Smart Security Systems: Many home and business owners equip their properties with intelligent security systems like the popular Ring doorbell cameras. These systems usually offer features like remote monitoring and programmable routines.

Smart TVs: These popular TVs include features like built-in access to streaming services, and many also work with voice assistants like Alexa.

Wi-Fi Routers: Wi-Fi is an essential part of the Internet of Things, and routers distribute Wi-Fi networks to the devices that need them. When placed in a suitably rated outdoor enclosure, such as a NEMA 4X enclosure, Wi-Fi routers can even be deployed outdoors.

Many of these technologies are most visible in our homes today, but they’re also gaining widespread use in businesses. A smart thermostat that helps save on heating bills is just as valuable for a business as it is to a homeowner. But beyond that, increasing numbers of businesses also use IoT technologies like smart inventory systems, GPS sensors for delivery vehicles, and even drones.

Common IoT Devices

Source: RossHelen/Shutterstock.com

3. What Are the Advantages of IoT?

IoT offers numerous opportunities for business owners, governments, and ordinary people. These are some of the use cases where you’ll find the Internet of Things at work:

Smart homes are making many people’s lives more convenient and more connected. Many homeowners have improved control over their energy consumption, security, and home aesthetics, thanks to smart homes.

Businesses can use data collected through IoT to streamline and improve their operations. More competent inventory management, pinpoint shipment tracking, and new ways to target customers are all on the table.

Intelligent sensors can help protect expensive property for both businesses and individuals. A homeowner can detect whether they have a water leak through IoT sensors, and a semi-truck owner can detect when an engine part is near failure.

IoT health tools allow patients and providers to adopt a more collaborative and analytical approach to their relationships. Data collection through medical wearables (and even cutting-edge technologies like swallowable sensors) presents some exciting opportunities for data-driven medicine.

Naturally, these advantages all assume that IoT devices are being deployed securely and responsibly. When they’re not, users can open themselves up to some significant vulnerabilities.

4. What Are the Risks of IoT?

Safe technology use requires you to know the risks, and IoT certainly has some of its own. Thus far, the most significant dangers of IoT have emerged in two main areas: security and privacy. We’ll tackle each in turn.

For many people and organizations, data security is the most significant current area of concern in IoT. Why? IoT networks and devices are juicy targets for cybercriminals since they’re often poorly secured and potentially packed with personal information. Many IoT device owners don’t take all the recommended security steps with their devices, such as regularly changing passwords or even changing default passwords after setup.

Data privacy, however, is a related issue that’s increasingly shaping up as a significant regulatory battleground. It poses numerous thorny questions: What privacy rights do IoT users have when it comes to data that they willingly submit? Is it unfair to give advantages to those who give up some privacy rights, such as providing health insurance discounts to employees who wear fitness trackers? These are questions that we’ll have to face very soon.

What Are the Advantages of IoT

Source: HQuality/Shutterstock.com

IoT is surely one of the most powerful technologies of the new millennium. Like most technologies, it offers solutions for many problems while creating a few critical new issues of its own. So long as you’re aware of both, IoT will continue to provide tons of ways to enhance your life.

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The ‘Outrageous’ Cost Of Cable And Satellite TV

The ‘Outrageous’ Cost Of Cable And Satellite TV, Cable and satellite TV are pretty different & naturally restricted to rural areas mostly.

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The ‘Outrageous’ Cost Of Cable And Satellite TV

This question will be subjective, and a one-word reply can be misleading for many. However, in simple words, the answer to this question would be that it depends on the provider you are subscribed to and what they offer to their customers. At times, expensive service(s) means that they are offering something exclusive to their users, premium services, on-demand features, and anything of that sort. 

1. Cost Of Cable And Satellite TV

Cable and satellite TV are pretty different; cable TV is much more popular than the latter. A significant chunk of the population picks Cable TV, and Satellite TV is naturally restricted to rural areas mostly. Now let us look deeper into cable TV – with Spectrum channel lineup, you can watch 200 plus local sports & music channels for just $94.99 monthly.

Cost Of Cable And Satellite TV

It depends on what you choose, and you can even demand your favorite movies and TV shows as well. Furthermore, some companies such as AT&T and Comcast also have great features at low prices, but it all reaches down to what is serviceable in your area and what packages are offered there.

It depends on your affordability, too; for instance, if someone can afford it – they will be happily paying $250 per month and get themselves subscribed to the most expensive package the provider has to offer. If someone cannot afford much, they will use boxes with low dues. Thus, it largely depends on the user’s affordability.

It is fundamentally an equation between what companies offer at what price and what customers are willing to pay.

Moreover, if the market somehow had alternatives to cable and satellite TV that are less expensive than both, then to survive, cable and satellite TV had to change their services and packages to keep the customers retained.

The market first had streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Roku, and Apple TV. Then there came apps that could connect users’ Wi-Fi to DirecTV, and other providers are actively working on this. At the same time, Xfinity and Spectrum have launched their apps for their customer.

However, internet TV remained popular among urban populations, where fiber optic internet is available. They still have only one option in rural areas: satellite TV, as no cable company is willing to invest in locations with a tiny population.

2. Streaming Services Offer

The popular alternative option for cable services and cord-cutters is streaming services. Now let us see and briefly compare what streaming services have to offer, at what prices:

• Netflix – $13.99

• Hulu + Disney + ESPN – $12.99 ( it doesn’t have live TV and has ads)

• Amazon Prime – almost the same as above (however, it includes some prime offerings)

• CBS – $5.99 (has ads) – this package includes: CBSN, CBS Sports, and E! (Also, this lets its users keep the news running in the background)

• HBO – around $55.0

Similarly, with these services comes many free apps like YouTube, Ted TV, PBS, BBC (not entirely free), NBC (again, not completely free), and CNN (not quite free), and many more – although you can compromise a bit on quality and focus on quantity.

The latest generation, i.e., Generation Z, is emerging to be the first generation that believes in cord-less entertainment, which means they do not have any plans on getting cable services shortly. At the same time, millennials and Generation X and Y are the cord-cutters that gradually shifted and still are switching to streaming services.

One of the primary factors behind the intensifying popularity of streaming services today is the convenience of managing at your own pace, wherever you are and as many times as you wish – as long as you have a stable internet connection – which almost everyone has due to 3G and 4G and access to Wi-Fi connections. 

Final Word 

We have discussed why Cable and Satellite TV can be outrageous in the article, as mentioned earlier. The prices fluctuate based on demand and supply, too, and cable services are not fully functional in all the states. However, satellite TV is available at most places where the rest of the services may not be serviceable.

Irrespective of all the trends and constantly changing consumer habits, some people will not leave cable TV services for the sake of traditions and their love for sports.                  

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