IoT, 5G and Edge Computing: these 3 different terms are everywhere and it’s time to talk about them. Today let’s discuss the Internet of things or IoT and see why it matters.


After all my research, the best definition I’ve found for the internet of things is by Calum McClelland, and, by the way, he has a lot of c’s and l’s in his name. Calum’s definiton of the internet of things is pretty simple. He says it means taking all the things in the world and connecting them to the internet. VoilĂ !

But what does that mean, all the things in the world? Well let’s look at the most popular by far IoT: smartphones. As Calum explains, with a smartphone you can listen to any song in the world. But not every song in the world is stored on your smartphone. In fact every song in the world is stored somewhere else. But your phone can ask for that song by being connected to the internet and then stream it to your device. Contrary to popular belief, your phone is not a super computer with unlimited storage. But it is connected to supercomputers and vast storage in the cloud.

Another example is your smart home assistant. When you ask it to play the daily news, it doesn’t have all the news programs stored in the device. But it’s connected to the cloud which does have that information. So it’s a thing connected to the internet or IoT.

Things Collect and Send

All the things in the world connected to the internet can be grouped into 3 categories. Things that collect and send information such as wearable health monitors. Things that receive intormation and put it into action such as your car keys. And things that can do both.

The things that collect and send information do so by sensors embedded in the smart device. Motion sensors tell us how many steps we’ve taken each day. Listening sensors can tell how many hours we’ve slept. Light sensors turn on when they sense the motion of someone in the room. But the important thing is this. The devices collecting and sending information via connection to the internet make our life easier.

Things Receive and Act

Things that receive and act on information, the second category of IoT, are smart devices such as thermostats which receive a command from us and then act on it and turn on the heat. Or alarm systems we can tell to unlock the house. Even refrigerators we can ask to show what food we have. Using these internet of things we can tell machines what to do even if we’re far away.

Helpful IoT Collects, Sends, Receives, Acts

And then things start to get awesome when IoT can do both, collect and send information and receive and act on information. An example would be a wearable alert system which use embedded sensors to detect when your body posture changes. The IoT device then sends that information to the cloud which analyzes your motion and determines you fell. The alert system then acts on that information to call 911. Ta-da!

So why is IoT grouped with 5G and edge computing. In my upcoming talks I’ll discuss how 5G will connect machines in diverse places such as factories, hospitals, schools and cities via IoT. And 5G will allow infrastructive to be retrofitted with artificial intelligence through edge computing as AI moves out of the cloud onto devices. Don’t worry! As always, I’ll make the explanations of 5G and edge AI short and sweet.

From Short and Sweet AI, I’m Dr. Peper.

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