How the Internet of Things Works

Summary & Key Terms


The Internet of Things article was probably the most interesting that I read out of the five articles that I read for this week’s assignment. I’m surprised that I hadn’t heard the term “Internet of Things” before, though I think I’ve recognized the concept. I just didn’t have a term for it. The Internet of Things or IoT “consists of all the web-enabled devices that collect, send, and act on data they acquire from their surrounding environments using embedded sensors, processors, and communication hardware” (Johnson).  These devices can sometimes connection and communicate with other devices, which is called machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. These devices do most of their work without human intervention.

Ultimately, the article focuses on the ways that smart devices have changed, and will continue to change, the reality that we live in. It discusses current “smart” devices many of us already have such as smart phones or smart TVs, but also discusses looking into the future at things like self-driving cars.

Currently there are about 15-25 billion connected devices, but this is estimated to climb to 50 to 212 billion by 2020 (Johnson). One of the current challenges with these types of devices is that many of these devices talk to the internet and to our phones, but not always to each other. AllSeenAlliance is currently trying to remedy this through creating standards and using opensource platforms for the technology in order to help devices interact with each other easily. Another challenge facing the IoT is that there are limitations on the standard ip addresses because we are running out of numbers. There are also security issues and economic implications for the use of these connected devices.

Cross-Gaming Console Networks

Both Xbox and Playstation have subscriptions for players that a

Wii U, Playstation 4 and Xbox One gaming consoles.

llow them to have a profile for that specific game console. This includes a username profile that includes their gaming library, a list of achievement/trophies that the player has earned, as well as gives the player access to the multiplayer experience on that specific console. This requires the game console device to be connected to the internet and for the consistent update of information to the profile.

One of the challenges that gamers face when wanting to play on multiple platforms, such as if the player has an Xbox, a Playstation, and plays games on a computer, there really is no way for these platforms to

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare game cover for Playstation 3.

cross over. By that I mean that two players could have the same game, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare for example, but be unable to actually play the game together because one was playing on the computer and another on Playstation 4. The devices are unable to communicate with each other. Part of this is likely strategic on the part of the gaming companies. In order to play with your friends, you must purchase the same gaming platform. However, there are also not ways to connect these profiles in one place, which can be very frustrating for gamers.

For instance, I personally enjoy achievement systems and working towards achievements and trophies across platforms. However, I do not have a cross platform way of allowing other players to see these achievements simultaneously. Raptr attempted to remedy this issue by creating a website that acted almost as a social network where gamers could link their Raptr account to their gamer accounts on multiple gaming consoles, Steam (network for PC gamers), and other online games played on the computer. While Raptr was an option for awhile, it has been phasing out connecting to Xbox and Playstation consoles because the consistent updates and changes to software often meant that the stream of data was being interrupted. It will be interesting to see how these challenges might be met as we continue connecting all of our devices and how resistant or accommodating companies will be to these types of connections.

Pokemon Challenge

Connections between devices also got me thinking about what was Google’s April Fools Joke in 2014, but something that has made players start considering alternatives to playing games like Pokemon by connecting multiple devices together.

Since this video came out players have been working on projects that include the use of GPS and step tracking devices to allow players to play Pokemon by walking around and encountering Pokemon based on location and number of steps taken.

Works Cited

Google Maps. “Google Maps: Pokemon Challenge.” Online video clip.
YouTube. YouTube, 31 March. 2014. Web. 17 Jan. 2016.

Johnson, Bernadette. “How the Internet of Things Works.” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 16 Jan. 2016.

Raptr. Raptr, n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2016.