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Internet of Things

There was nothing Mama did not say. Of course I understood her concerns. Her only son was about to marry a lady who was hearing impaired.

“I will never allow omo mi to marry a deaf woman.” Mama sneered. She tied an imaginary loose end of her wrapper while tapping her left foot.

“First off Mama, Simi is hearing impaired not DEAF! I half yelled emphasizing the “hearing impaired” part hoping she would get it. Secondly, I continued, Simi is right here in the room. Even if she can’t hear you, respect her presence.”

Mama dropped the longest hiss I would ever hear and brushed past me. “You want to marry a woman that won’t be able to know when her child is crying at night” Mama added as she left.

Simi smiled knowingly, she apparently have seen this situation play out before. Simi was the most hardworking lady I had ever been with. Despite her physical disability, she turned out a fashion designer. I was definitely going to marry her, Mama would come to accept it later.

Simi followed Mama into the room after gesturing that she needed to talk to Mama. I let her. I loved her so much and I knew she could get Mama to love her too.

Simi wasn’t a regular hearing-impaired woman. She wore cochlear implant and often explained how “the internet of things” have allowed alert systems and health features to be connected to the cochlear implant providing sensors when there are emergencies such as a crying baby, a fall or medical situations.

Life is easy. Mama had a lot of catching up to do with today’s technology. I was going to help her.

What do we mean by The Internet of Things?

Simi has a lot to say about The Internet of Things. One could easily see her passion when she yaps un-endingly about it on her typing device. When Mama had shown interest in knowing more, she had written:

“Internet of things is how physical objects embedded with sensors and softwares connect over the internet. Technology has evolved making it easy for objects to exchange data and work together to perform a particular task.”

Mama gasped, eyes bulging out in awe.

“Tell me more, how does it work? Show me…” Mama rambled. So many questions played across her face. It was fascinating to watch my mother want to learn new things. I signaled Simi to allow me continue from where she left off.

How does Internet of Things work?

Internet of things is applied to home appliances, commercial and industrial sectors. In the home, we see IOT at work in smart Televisions, cars, phones etc that are voice controlled without WiFi. “Siri, turn off the lights” I gave the voice command and it startled Mama just as I hoped it would.

“Oyibo na winch!” Mama concluded. I snickered. Simi didn’t hear but she sensed Mama had said something amusing. I continued.

“It’s not witchcraft Mama, Siri is a software by Apple that is connected with other physical devices such as your cooling and heating device, your map, your car etc and they function together using the internet. So you can have a virtual assistant who helps out and take commands. In healthcare, Internet of Things work in health monitoring, emergency notification, voice control for visually impaired people and smart wheelchairs for the elderly or crippled. So Mama, there are softwares that can tell us when you have a heart attack or your blood pressure rises above normal.

“Olorun Maje! I won’t have heart attack in Jesus name” Mama shook her head vehemently rejecting my horrible choice of example.

In the commercial sector, IOT sometimes comes in form of real time analytics that observe consumer behaviors and suggest products for them. For instance, a shopping app could be linked to a smart fridge. This could help choose what food is needed following past consumption; and would send the grocery list directly to a person’s phone. In a similar process, a smart fridge is likely to order products automatically without any human operation or interaction.

At this rate, I had completely blown Mama’s mind away. Summarily, IOT can be used in:

  • Transportation: to control traffic, assist drivers with direction, parking, logistics and safety on the road
  • Buildings: hotels, residential homes or commercial properties can cut down energy costs when they integrate internet into the energy devices to switch off appliances not in use, raise alarm when there’s waste or hazard.
  • Industries: to collect data of people, their location and consumer behavior. So manufacturers will know what consumers want, where they want it and when they want it.
  • Agriculture: to tell the climate, soil content and humidity. They can be used with smart farming tools to aid agriculture.

“If manufacturers can know everything about consumers through the Internet of things it means bad people can access this information too. How safe are we then?” Mama asked thoughtfully.

How safe is IoT?

Every day, the IoT devices are always targeted by intruders and attackers. An appraisal reveals that 70% of the IoT devices are extremely easy to attack. Therefore, a powerful mechanism is greatly needed to protect the devices connected to the Internet against hackers and intruders and by this simple action, they are safe. Basically, it is the duty of the manufacturers to make devices more secure at the point of production. Statistics reveal that major source of protection for IoT devices come from their manufacturers.

“Please get me a Smart music player, I need to do my own ‘Siri play me Sunny Ade’s music” Mama mimicked.

I smiled knowing after this lecture, she would never worry Simi again.

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John Adebayo
John Adebayo

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