How to Explain IoT to Your Grandparents

Chances are, your grandparents haven’t heard of IoT (unless they are very ‘down with the kids’). So, where would you even start on how to explain IoT?

Guest Writer
How to Explain IoT to your Grandparents
Image Credit: Experientia, Illustration by IFA

Chances are, your grandparents haven’t heard of IoT (unless they are very ‘down with the kids’). So, where would you even start with how to explain IoT to them?

Here, I’ve outlined the best ways to explain IoT to your grandparents, and perhaps in the process, it will help you to FULLY understand it as well, from explaining what ‘IoT’ actually means, to realizing the full extent to which IoT can benefit our lives.

What does IoT mean?

Well, it stands for the ‘Internet of Things’. Basically, it refers to the concept of connecting everything to the Internet in some way or another: from smartphones and tablets (normal), to cars and fridges (emerging). IoT is about how tools, services, applications can all be connected to the Internet to make them more useful, and there’s really no limit to what can be connected to the Internet and why.

One of the key ways in which IoT will improve lives is in the way in which it makes sharing data a whole lot easier: IoT will help simplify our lives and take away some menial tasks in the long run.

I don’t really get it, can you give me some examples?

So how does this ‘stuff’ actually benefit us? Can you give me some examples of how I’d stand to gain from all this new technology?

Of course I can. Here’s a small selection of things that IoT makes possible:

  • Health monitors: IoT means that a person with a health condition can have their health levels monitored at all times. Issues can then be diagnosed in real time and serious problems averted entirely. If something goes wrong, healthcare professionals will be notified right away.
  • Self-driving cars: Have you heard of these? They’re connected to the Internet and have access to a constantly updating database of maps to make sure that they know the best routes to your destination. They’re aware of other self-driving cars and use special sensors to detect things on the road. They’re actually safer than human-driven cars (believe it or not).
  • Smart farming: To borrow an example from a previous IoT article, farmers can also benefit from this technology. They can use special sensors to tell them when their crops need to be watered (and exactly how much water they need) and they can then implement a system that will provide that exact amount of water required automatically, while the farmer works on other things.

So IoT is actively improving standards across a whole lot of sectors. These three examples are just a fraction of the variety of things that IoT can make possible. Do you think you’re starting to get a grasp for the opportunities it presents?

How can it change day-to-day life?

In quite a few ways, actually. It’s not just something to be used in special cases and only by big businesses – IoT is something that everyone can benefit from. In fact, it’s something the average person is already benefitting from. For example:

  • Handheld smart devices: Remember that tablet you got for Christmas? Yeah. That flat thing with a touch screen that you use to order your shopping. Being able to do your shopping on an easy-to-use tablet is IoT in action. (So is being able to see all those photos I sent you and being able to make those video calls to faraway family members).
  • Smart homes: Amazon (you know, that website that sells things) has a thing called Alexa. Alexa is a cool piece of artificial intelligence that you can speak to directly. It can manage all of the electronics in your home, including heating, lighting, etc. You can even get it to order food for you! Could Alexa be your next home assistant?
  • Safety: IoT is used to help keep people safe. For example, let’s look at the mining industry – historically an industry where accidents and injuries among workers were very common. IoT can help with predictive maintenance, which means that maintenance is always carried out before any issues arise and in the areas where it is needed the most. Police and hospitals are using it too.
  • Entertainment: People can pretty much access any film, TV show, or piece of music on any device. You can watch your favorite dramas on the bus. You can get your television to fill your house with the sound of your favorite songs.

IoT is already part of your life — without you even realizing it. Connecting everything to the internet will only make life easier.

What will it be like in future?

Even better! Things we currently imagine as being highly advanced will soon be the sort of things we take for granted. In future, we can expect to see improvements in:

  • Shopping: Current technology already means that you can virtually ‘try on’ clothes using VR technology, but what else might we expect? Taking this further, it’s possible that businesses will provide VR services so that people can look at products from the comfort of their own homes, with as much detail as they might find if they were in a physical store.
  • Cooking: We already have coffee machines that start brewing when you wake up, so it’s ready for you to drink once you get to the kitchen. Let’s take the concept a step further and imagine what might happen in future. Maybe ovens that can identify the ideal length of time to cook something and then do so without any risk of burning? Fridges that warn you when food is about to reach its expiration date? The possibilities are endless!
  • Driving: I already mentioned self-driving cars, but the plans for the future are amazing. They want to make smart roads to accompany these smart cars. They’ll be able to preemptively warn drivers of obstructions on the road ahead, make sure that drivers remain at safe speeds, and even provide power for the car as it drives.

That’s not to mention the much more technical applications that businesses and manufacturers will find to make things easier for them. It’s an exciting time to be alive, and IoT is part of that!

I think I get it

That’s great. I’m pleased that you were able to wrap your mind around the concept – a lot of people struggle with it. Basically, just imagine a world in which almost all devices and objects are connected, and you’re imagining IoT. The GPS in your phone connects to the systems in your house, making sure that your heating is on when you get back. Pretty cool, hey?

So that’s how I’d explain IoT to my grandparents. Why not try and explain it to your own? You’ll probably find that it’s not quite as hard as you think – but it does depend upon their existing levels of technological understanding.

If they don’t really know what the Internet is, you’ve got a long way to go before you can properly explain IoT. But it’s definitely worth it. You may even find that they start taking advantage of IoT in their everyday lives.

Written by Victoria Greene, Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer. Victoria works with ecommerce businesses and marketing teams to create valuable content and targeted marketing strategies that yield strong results.

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.