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May 19, 2020

The Internet of Things: A Brief Explainer .

The Internet of Things: A Brief Explainer


Jake Ahnen

Whether you’re streaming your favorite songs through your smart speaker or checking your messages on the smartwatch on your wrist, the Internet of Things is an integral part of your 21st-century daily routine. Let’s take a closer look at the Internet of Things—often referred to simply as “IoT”—and dig into how wireless connectivity makes it all possible.

What is the Internet of Things?

The term “Internet of Things” is used to talk about the art and science of building objects, appliances, systems and other traditionally offline items so they can connect to the internet. This type of connected communication enables technological innovations that improve our lives, whether that simply means starting to cook your dinner from afar before you leave the office through a smart oven, or avoiding accidents through the use of 5G-enabled traffic lights. The wireless industry is constantly developing new uses for IoT, not only for the individual consumer, but also for society at large.

A Connected World

People across the United States are taking advantage of IoT to transform their lives. Implementing IoT solutions can improve people’s quality of life by helping cities reduce public transit delays thanks to sensors that give us more information about traffic patterns, increase industrial efficiency through automated systems and improving public safety with cutting-edge technology like drones.

Improving Your Commute. Automated vehicles, one of the most sophisticated forms of IoT, will bring us both faster road travel with fewer accidents and a significant decrease in air pollution from traffic emissions. Automated vehicles, as well as smart road traffic infrastructure such as stop lights and traffic cameras, are outfitted with sensors that communicate with each other over wireless networks. IoT-enabled traffic lights use real-time traffic data to direct a smoother flow of traffic. Less idling means lower emissions and cleaner air.

Meanwhile, public buses and bus stops outfitted with sensors communicate the real-time location of the bus to both display screens and mobile apps so that you can plan your commute down to the minute. Whether you prefer to take a car or hop on the bus, you can rest assured that IoT will provide you with a faster, safer journey.

The rollout of next-generation 5G networks will produce internet speeds up to 100x faster on networks that will be able to handle 100x the number of connected devices compared to 4G. IoT and 5G are a winning pair.

Increased Industrial Efficiency. Smart factories with IoT-based production lines are able to quickly reconfigure their production flow using software, preventing workers from having to rewire factory-floor machines by hand. Wirelessly connected robots allow factories and work sites to operate without the clutter of bulky, accident-causing cables and cords. When it comes to mining and construction, IoT-powered automation and the ability to control heavy machinery remotely help operators accomplish tasks efficiently without having to put themselves in physical danger on a job site.

A Safer Public. Drones outfitted with live-streaming video cameras enable public safety officials to quickly locate a missing person or assess the scene of an emergency to send the right level of first response. Gunshot sensors can immediately summon first responders to a precise location, decreasing gun crimes and getting medical assistance more quickly to a victim of gun violence. Parking garages, sidewalks, parks and alleyways can be outfitted with sensory-activated lights that self-report outages in order to simultaneously increase energy efficiency, reduce maintenance costs and create a safer public environment.

Powered by Wireless

The rollout of next-generation 5G networks will produce internet speeds up to 100x faster on networks that will be able to handle 100x the number of connected devices compared to 4G. This increased speed and capacity will allow smart cities, homes and factories to flourish as an increased number of IoT devices connect to the network. IoT and 5G are a winning pair, and CTIA’s members are hard at work bringing their potential to life.

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