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What are IoT Devices? How IoT Devices Communicate and Keep the World Turning
Briana Watson

In today’s modern world, where many day-to-day activities are influenced by constant advancements in smart technology, there is a concept known as the Internet of Things, or IoT. With IoT devices, we can link physical objects across the vast web of wired and wireless networks. What does this mean for future advancements in technology?

What might society look like as IoT devices continue to expand their reach and influence on our world?

There’re quite a few questions to consider, but let’s first discuss what exactly an IoT device is.

home automation - phone, cameras, light bulbs, plugs Photo by Jakub Zerdzicki via Pexels

What is IoT?

IoT devices are present in almost every moment of our modern lives, due to the continued advancement of technology alongside the growth of modern society. Essentially, IoT is the bridge between the ‘physical’ world and the ‘digital’ one. Utilizing various technologies such as sensors and actuators, IoT devices establish, monitor, and maintain connections all throughout wireless and even wired networks, such as the Internet. By connecting these devices to the Internet and enabling them to share data, IoT aims to enhance efficiency, convenience, and productivity in various areas of our lives, such as agriculture, personal health, and education, just to name a few.

The History of IoT

Although smart technology has had a majority of its advancements in recent years, the concept of IoT devices has been around since the end of the twentieth century. The term ‘Internet of Things’ and the subsequent theory of a network of IoT devices being used to connect our two worlds, was originated by Kevin Ashton in the late 1990’s.

Kevin Ashton is a pioneer of technology from Birmingham, England, and is also a cofounder of the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Or, as it’s more commonly known, ‘MIT’. In addition to giving life to the idea of ‘sensors’ transferring information back and forth between the digital and physical worlds, Ashton also was a significant player in the development for the global standard system for Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID).

Although thoughts, ideas, dreams, and even basic elements of IoT devices and sensors have been on peoples’ minds since the mid 1980’s, it wasn’t until Ashton and his team began to explore the possibilities of what IoT devices could be that the world began to see real time implementations of this new concept. As computers changed shape from being big, bulky boxes to rectangular phones, to fitness watches, and so on and so forth, Ashton’s term became increasingly relevant as the physical world and the digital one became increasingly connected.

Everyday IoT Devices

As discussed already, IoT devices are an indisputable part of our individual lives. The more physical information that becomes recorded, collected, and stored by devices in this network, the more they become an essential foundation to the way society functions. So, what are some examples of these devices? How much information is really collected this way?

Different Types of IoT Devices: Consumer, Commercial, and Industrial

To begin to answer these questions, we have to first look at the different types of IoT devices. Due to the continually growing world of smart technology in various industries, it’s best to classify IoT devices into separate categories. While there are numerous categories and subcategories of IoT devices, three broad types include Consumer IoT, Commercial IoT, and Industrial IoT (IIoT).

Consumer IoT refers to wireless and wired connected devices that are made available to the wider consumer market. These are made to help enhance convenience, comfort, and control in various aspects of people's lives. Examples of this technology includes things like wearable smart watches, fitness trackers, home automation devices, personal assistant devices, and smartphones to name a few. All of these bits and pieces of the wider IoT network take a great amount of power establish and secure connections all across the world and the market.

There are also Commercial/Public Spaces IoT devices, which is a group of IoT devices that are used within commercial environments or other public places. Commercial settings such as healthcare facilities, hospitality venues, offices, retail stores, and other public places like schools and libraries are heavily influenced by the continued development and implementation of IoT devices. Nearly every commercial property in the current age utilizes IoT devices to help in various aspects to improve operations, customer experience, and resource management.

Some examples of IoT devices within this space includes smart security systems that integrate cameras, motion sensors, and access control devices with cloud-based platforms for enhanced surveillance and security management. Furthermore, public spaces such as schools may include various smart solutions such as projectors or smart displays within the classroom to help teachers with lessons. As the designs and plans for public infrastructure continues to intermingle with advancements in computer technology, more and more commercial and public spaces will be equipped with sensors to link the space to the ever growing IoT devices network.

Finally, Industrial IoT consists of devices that assist and monitor data within industrial settings, including manufacturing plants and factories. Companies and businesses within this field utilize IoT devices by upgrading their warehouses/systems to smart factories and investing in the latest, most advanced equipment and tools which consist of sensors, actuators, controllers, robots, and other machinery. These IoT devices help monitor and control industrial processes, increase operational efficiency, and improve safety. In the booming agricultural industry, for example, precision equipment is used to ensure quick and efficient harvests.

The Future of IoT

At Total Phase, we are always working on new innovations for the greater world of technological advancement and doing our part to contribute to the development of new and exciting IoT devices in every category. Products like our Komodo CAN Duo Interface offer non-intrusive monitoring that can be used to develop, test, and debug applications for a multitude of industries such as; automotive, military, medical, and several more.

Another useful tool to help with the development and expansion of IoT devices is the Promira Serial Platform. With our Promira platform, data is transmitted quickly and easily to allow for uninterrupted work in a variety of fields and industries. Additionally, this device is able to work with a wider range of voltages, functions at a higher speed, and can be configured extensively to fit the varying needs of different projects. With an efficient embedded programming tool and system emulator, engineers can make specific data available to various embedded applications, making it a much simpler task to join the wider web of established IoT devices. Watch our video about this here:

How Total Phase is Advancing Embedded Systems and IoT Development


Looking to the future, we can expect IoT devices to continue their development and integration with most of our daily lives, including within our homes, business operations, healthcare, and even the manufacturing processes. New IoT devices are constantly being introduced, and existing ones are always being reworked and updated to keep up with changing demands and trends. As technology improves, these devices will likely improve as well, ushering us into a future that is seamlessly connected between the physical world and the digital one.

Possible IoT devices that we have to look forward to are only limited to our own, individual imaginations, thanks to the continued advancement of computer science and technology. As the years roll by, more and more devices are sure to be reimagined to include the sensors and tech that turns something from a mundane device into an IoT device, expanding our points of contact with the connected, digital web.

The potential future of IoT devices can truly be described by a single word; expansive.