The Internet of Things for Beginners

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I’m sure you’ve heard about the internet of things. You may have even wondered what it is or how to get started on it. I can assure you that you don’t need to be a super techie to get involved with the internet of things.

I’m going to get over some of the basics of what it is and what you can do to jump into this tend. Don’t worry, I’ll keep everything I talk about for beginners.


Disclosure: I am a computer enthusiast. While my main objective is to offer knowledge and assistance, my site contains links to produces. I will receive compensation when a purchase is made through these links. My opinions are my own. If I recommend an item it is because I genuinely believe the item is worth the cost.


What is the Internet of Things

The rising generation has an obsession with being connected to the internet. The internet of things just expands that connection to everything you can think of. It isn’t enough for it to have an internet connection. You need to be able to interact with things and know what’s happening with them remotely.

Have you ever gone on holiday and wondered if you remembered to turn the lights off or lock the door? You can be connected to these things so you don’t have to worry. It gives you the option to turn lights remotely, or open your garage so your trusted neighbor can move a package in for you.

Having a smart home is probably the most common way that people become connected to everyday objects. It isn’t the only way though. Companies are getting more and more objects connected to the internet.

Some of these things are fantastic. I have a friend that had a connected car. He can open an app and see with oil level, his fuel level, when his tires should be rotated, and number of other things. When done right it can be awesome.

Some of the things they come out with aren’t so great. Like a connected washing machine. I’m not sure what use that would be, but I guess you could check your phone to see if it was time to switch the laundry.

How to Get in on It

There are two ways you can get started. Both have there pros and cons.

The first way is to buy commercialized produces. Most of these are super easy to use and simple to setup, but they’ll cost you, and you can only do what you can find and buy. I know a guy that spent $800 to get a security camera system setup (he could have done it for much less) that would notify him when people approached his house.

If this is the route you go, you can easily spend thousands. You’ll want to plan, budget, and shop around for the things you want. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend hundreds of dollars on something that you never use.

The second way is by using something called a micro-controller. A micro-controller is fully customizable. If you can think it, it can be done. The best part is that these things are ridiculously cheap.

The only problem is that it requires an extensive amount of time to set things up with a micro-controller. You’ll need to be able to program them to do what you want. and figure out how to make them look good. It’s not terribly difficult to get things going with a micro-controller, but I’m going to focus on the first option. If you are interested in the second way, keep your eye open for an upcoming post on it.

Making a Plan

When beginning a project, especially one that can cost you a lot of money, you need to have an idea of what you want to accomplish by the time it’s done. You need to see the end from the beginning.

The main idea behind the Internet of Things is to simplify and make every day tasks more convenient. Where you choose to start all depends on you and what you do the most that you want to make easier.

One of the places that people start with is the lights. This can give you the option to turn the lights on or off with your phone or voice. I don’t know about you, but there have definitely been times when my wife and I have gotten in bed and then realized we haven’t turned any of the lights off.

We had to get out of bed so we can go turn the lights off. I know, This is a first world problem, but it’s kind of annoying to have to go chase the lights down. With lights that are connected you just pull out your phone turn them off, and they are super easy to do. It’s as easy as changing a light bulb.

If you or your significant other are constantly adjusting the thermostat up or down, you can get better control over the temperature in your house with a connected thermostat . You don’t have to continually get up and do it either.

For me, I started with a WiFi Switch for my Christmas lights. I got tired of having to go outside and plug them in and unplug them when I went to bed. I also didn’t want ot pay to run them constantly. I got rid of my light switch and installed an internet switch. This let me set a timer to turn them on when the sun goes down and to turn them off when it was bed time.

My point is, you want to start in the spot that’s going to have the biggest impact for you. To get the best experience, you need to start with something that adds a benefit to your life.

I can’t really say where the best place to start is, because I don’t know the situation and environment that you’re in. That’s why you’ll want to make a plan. To find all of the things that you want to put in. Keep your eye open for an upcoming post where I talk about some of the things you can do.

Budget

Like with everything else in life, you need to know how much you’re willing to spend on this. Like I said before, you can easily spend thousands of dollars on getting thing that keep you connected. You need to set a limit and stick to it.

If you have a a small budget there still loads of things that you can do as long as you stick to your budget. As awesome as some of these things are, you don’t want to do it if it’s going to break the bank to do it.

Recommendations

No matter what you decide to do with the Internet of Things, there’s definitely a strong appeal to being able to see and interact with your devices remotely.

Keep your eye open for an upcoming post where I talked about some of the different things that you can use in the Internet of Things and how to get them set up. If there’s something that you’d like to be able to to see and know how to get set up, leave a comment below and I’ll look into adding that item into the upcoming post.

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2 Comments

  1. Wow, kinda crazy what they are coming up with these days. Who would have thought we’d have connected cars and washing machines. I’ve heard they are even developing cars that drive themselves. I don’t even own a smartphone, so I’m definitely not on the cutting edge of things! Interesting article.

    1. It’s the current trend. Manufactures are trying to make everything connected to see what will work. Things like cars and washing machines are slow to be adapted because normal people don’t buy them very often. Self driving cars are a growing thing as well. They are getting a lot of back lash right now though. A few weeks ago there was an accident involve one. We’re a long way off before everyone has a self driving car.

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