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What is the Internet of Things?

Plume Marketing TeamSmart Home 2.0
woman looking at homepass app on her phone

AI/ML. IoT. WiFi 6. Web3. If you feel like you need a glossary to keep track of all the tech terms and acronyms floating around these days, you're not alone. This new vernacular takes some getting used to—which is why we've put together a little memory-refresher about one of the most impactful of these exciting emerging technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT). So, what is the Internet of Things, how is it transforming our daily lives, and what's in store for the future? Read on for a quick review. (And the next time your overwhelmed in-laws ask, "What does IoT stand for?" you can refer them here.)

The 'Internet of Things,' explained

Gartner defines IoT as "the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment." That's a fancy way of saying that the Internet of Things is a connected ecosystem. It's responsible for facilitating communication between and among the devices in your smart home—enabling them to collect and respond to information, including data they pick up via smart sensors. The Internet of Things encompasses just about every device you need to have a nice smart home, from the smart speaker that delivers the morning forecast to connected appliances that alert you when you're running low on milk. IoT systems make life more comfortable and convenient, whether that's optimizing the lighting and temperature in every room of your house or providing reassurance that your valuables are safe via smart home security systems. As the name suggests, the foundational technology of the Internet of Things is, well, the internet. Having a strong WiFi connection at home is one of the key elements of ensuring that your IoT devices work optimally. A "connected" device that can't connect to access points throughout your home is essentially useless. And with a growing density of IoT devices in the average smart home, some people using traditional WiFi networks may find their legacy systems aren't up to the task of supporting an IoT ecosystem.

The future of the Internet of Things

The answer to "what is the Internet of Things" is evolving as the technology becomes more commonplace. Today, the number of IoT-connected devices is skyrocketing. Globally, there were more than 12 billion of them in use in 2021, and this number is expected to grow to a whopping 27 billion by 2025. [Plume data]( a Successful Smart Home Strategy -May 2022.pdf?version=0) suggests that the average home will contain at least 38 connected devices by 2024, ranging from staples like smart speakers and wearable health monitors to more niche products like smart pet cameras or connected coffee makers. Just like Web3 promises to reimagine the World Wide Web and 5G hopes to propel mobile connectivity, the current WiFi evolution (sometimes called WiFi 6) that underpins the Internet of Things and Smart Home 2.0 devices will bring new technological possibilities into the physical world. Since the Internet of Things is constantly evolving, it's crucial to have the right infrastructure in place to make the most of the latest and greatest advancements. HomePass, Plume's self-optimizing WiFi network, is designed with IoT in mind, helping ensure you're getting the most out of all your smart home systems. More than 35 million homes use HomePass today, relying on the platform's custom control settings, AI-fueled cybersecurity, and other adaptive features. The future of the Internet of Things is exciting, but it will require a little preparation on the part of smart home owners. Laying the groundwork today will ensure a more seamless IoT experience tomorrow. Learn more about HomePass and how it can help lay a foundation for the evolving smart home and future of IoT.