IoT Unwrapped: Your Beginner’s Guide to Internet Of Things

By Abigael Mwangi


Remember when the Internet was confined to desktops, laptops, and phones? Well, those days have long gone now the Internet has woven its way into almost every aspect of our lives from our homes, to our workplaces, and even our cars. Objects are not just smart but also brilliant, being able to communicate with one another without human interaction. How did we get this? Let us now unravel this mystery. 

What is IoT (Internet of Things) 

In a nutshell, inanimate objects can interact by sensing and sharing information. It is a system of interconnected devices that transmits data wired or wirelessly without human interaction. 

For example, in a smart house with an alarm sounding, blinds can be opened, and coffee can be prepared automatically. As this occurs, the water heater can be heated as news updates or weather forecasts are read out to the user. 

Another example is the smartwatch, which notes the number of steps taken by the individual wearing it, the heart pulse, and the blood pressure of the person, and all this information can be sent to both the person’s home and their doctor who can examine them while they are not there. 

However, for all of these, much has happened for the seamless operation of the device, from accurate communication of the devices to precise processing of the data received and collected. 

Working of IoT 

In the context of IoT devices, hardware can be classified into two types: general and sensing devices. 

General devices are the main components of a data hub that deals with the embedded processing and connectivity of the platform. They deal with information exchange that can occur wired(Ethernet) or wirelessly(WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.).

The best example would be various home appliances such as coffee pots, water heaters, and other home appliances. 

The sensing devices include sensors and actuators. These can measure parameters such as temperature, humidity, light intensity, and noise levels. 

These devices are connected to the networks through gateways. These gateways process the information collected by the sensors and store it in the cloud, which acts as the storage and processing unit. Actions are then performed on the collected data to ensure the right response is returned 

For example, when sleeping with your smartwatch on your wrist, you would not want a small stir from your sleep to start activating a chain of reactions, such as opening the blinds and making coffee in the middle of the night. The device should be able to detect the exact time you have woken up for the chain of reactions to be activated. 

Implementation of IoT into our Learning 

I believe that exposure to the IoT world should be as low as the high school level or even lower, and it should be implemented in the curriculum. 

These would bring the curriculum to life, and students would no longer be passive listeners but would be able to see real-time data flow, see IoT systems in action getting the nitty gritty of technology because, according to statistics, it is projected that 75-100 billion IoT devices will be up and running worldwide, adding to what is already evident, the world is getting smart. 

Preparing students for this IoT-driven future is crucial for their success, as it creates fertile ground for interdisciplinary work, bridging departments, and pooling expertise to tackle real-world challenges. 

Picture: A campus that lives in tech? 

What I love about the IoT is universality. It is not confined to a specific field, such as engineering and computer science; rather, it permeates every aspect of our lives. From healthcare to engineering and smart homes to agriculture, IoT is everywhere, making our world more connected and efficient. It is a technology that belongs to everyone. 

At Kenyatta University, students transcended theoretical concepts and turned them into tangible reality through a myriad of innovative projects, a testament to their ingenuity and drive.

However, this project was more than just a ventilator; it represented a leap forward in healthcare technology, demonstrating how the IoT can revolutionize medical care. What’s remarkable is that these breakthroughs aren’t coming from huge, famous companies with exorbitant budgets; rather they’re being spearheaded by students who are not only reducing costs but also democratizing access to advanced technology.