The Internet of Things – Wooohhaat?

The first time I heard the phrase “The Internet of Things (IoT)” (and that was not too long ago), my reaction was – “Wooohhaat the hell is that?! Speak English man!”

Now, my understanding of IoT is still very limited, and when I decided to write a blog on one of the new programmes we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) launched through our exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria (UoC), UK – 100% Online MSc Computer Science and International Business, I was happy to find that one of the modules in the programme was IoT.

Now, what can one actually write about a management programme in Computer Science and International Business? I certainly couldn’t think of anything, apart from information about the programme, which can anyway be found on our website. So, I decided to get a better understanding of IoT and pass it on to all those in the same boat as I, or who may be looking to do this programme with us.  

What is the Internet of Things?

We live in a digital world and have reached a point where most anything in the digital space can basically talk to other “things” digital and share data – we can share data through networking between our communication devices, between multiple and different apps and software. But until quite recently, this sharing was not possible in the physical world.

But now, technology has advanced to the point where we are able to build a network of multiple physical objects, connect it to the internet, to send, receive, and interpret data. And this is the Internet of Things.

I know it sounds complicated, but nowadays, we actually see it in a number of places and don’t actually realise it, taking it for granted. I saw it work at the end of last year and was impressed but did not know what I was looking at. 

My family and I were on holiday in Abu Dhabi and were lucky enough to be staying at W Hotel, Yas Island, and got an upgrade to a suite. The entire room was connected. As an example, every item in the minibar was detected and listed as removed on a screen. Housekeeping restocked as soon as we were out of the room and it was billed automatically.

People who use Google Home, Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, or Philips Hue are already familiar with the technology. 

How does IoT actually work?

The working of IoT can basically be broken down into four sections:

  • Hardware – is what helps us connect digital items to physical objects. The hardware is what senses things and converts that to data. 
  • Data – is the information that the hardware collects. It is what will help us make sense of how everything is working, becoming the true universal language, the universal language of “things”.
  • Software – is what interprets all the information and enables the use of information. Software is what takes data from the hardware and extracts value for the end user. 
  • Connectivity – without connectivity there is no IoT. 2g, 4g, 5g, wi-fi, Bluetooth, without connectivity there is no exchange of data and IoT would have only remained a concept that some genius penned down. 

Is IoT practical?

The simple answer is – YES! This is not science fiction; it is already is daily use. It is cheap and easy to build – the hardware can be bought out of the box, the software is readily available (that is, for those of us too lazy or who don’t have the knowledge to make or create it on our own, but are good at marketing and selling). And finally, they are simple and easy to use, especially if you make it compatible with Google, Apple and Amazon. And because of cloud computing and networking, IoT can be done from anywhere, at a low cost, with minimal maintenance. 

In fact, most of us already use IoT today, from turning on our Philips Hue lights to a colour and brightness matching our mood, to automatically switching on or off our air conditioner and heating systems, to security systems that monitor our homes and alert us when there is an unauthorised entry. All this is done live, from the tips of our fingers, with your preferences backed up on the cloud and available across all systems.

The impact of IoT on industry

According to a McKinsey & Company report in 2017, the impact of IoT across industry will be approximately US$11 Trillion annually by the year 2025.

The impact on industry is already telling, especially in terms of cost savings. As an example, vertical farms, where the only human interaction needed is at the time of planting. Watering, trimming, and harvesting are all taken care of by IoT systems.

Another good example of IoT integration to reduce costs and increase profitability is the city of Barcelona, which was one of the first European cities to adapt smart city technologies. Simple implementation of parking sensors informing motorists of where parking spaces are available has increased the revenue generated from parking to over US$50 million per year. By having IoT systems in public lighting has enabled Barcelona city to reduce their energy costs by over US$37 million per year. And finally, their smart gardens have saved them US$58 million a year by just efficient water usage.

And as technology is always changing, the city of Barcelona has also incorporated these changes to have a direct and positive impact on the lives of its residents. The use of smart phones has enabled residents to receive instant alerts and updates from the city about employment, housing, administration, mobility, health services, security and utilities. 

A recent study (2018) of McKinsey: Smart Cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future distinguished 55 applications within the fields shown below. According to this study, these applications are capable to improve quality of live by 10 – 30%.

Now for the cons of IoT

The “force” cannot exist without the “dark side” (Star Wars reference), and now that we have ranted and raved about how wonderful IoT is, here are a couple of its more obvious drawbacks. 

The biggest and most obvious disadvantage of IoT is data security and privacy. As mentioned earlier, creating an IoT device is not too difficult or expensive to make, and in their rush to become the first mover and trendsetter, most manufacturers tend to overlook the security aspect of IoT. Keep in mind, in most cases, you will have to enter your personal information, and in some cases, even your credit card information to effectively use your IoT enable devices. Now, these devices usually work in a network and are on the cloud, so if there isn’t firewalls and security, your privacy and data can be at risk. 

Another unexpected drawback, if you can even consider it that, as it is caused due to the increase in efficiency due to implementation of IoT, is to increase in the short-term unemployment. With the increase in efficiency, the workforce required to do a particular job will be streamlined. While this has the positive impact of reducing costs and the turnaround time to job completion, it also has the unintended consequences of leaving a large percentage of the workforce either unemployed or having to be retrained in a new job skill.

A good example of the massive impact IoT is having on the retail industry is Amazon Go. The evolution of how everything from merchandising and stocking, supply chain management, human resources, and billing, in the retail industry is just amazing to see.


Finally, the importance and potential future impact of IoT cannot be understated, especially in the era of social distancing. The judicious and responsible implementation of IoT will free up humanity to do what we do best – create, innovate, learn, socialise and moving on to the next “big thing”. Which is why IoT, as a study module, is integral to a number of programmes offered by Robert Kennedy College

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programmes offered, application process, and for more information on any discounts we might be running in this rather strange period of our lives.

COVID-19 – Changing the way we live, work, and learn!

History has shown that a crisis pushes us on to new paths. 

Everything we have ever known has been flipped on its head! Things we have taken for granted no longer exist – our 9 to 5 jobs, meeting friends at the pub, a romantic dinner date with that special someone, going for a movie with the kid. It all just feels like a dream now!

Even simple things such as shaking hands or walking around without a mask might be a thing of the past. Social distancing and hand sanitization might be the norms of the future.

And that is just when it comes to how COVID-19 has affected us personally! COVID-19 has also made an impact on the way we do business. Words like “globalisation” at present hold very little meaning, especially after billions of people have been under lockdown and self-isolation worldwide. People can no longer travel or enjoy the positive impact of an abundant and global supply chain. 

And this will continue to hold true, at least until an effective, globally accessible and economical vaccine is developed. Not all countries will recover from COVID-19 at a similar rate and not all countries will be able to avoid a relapse.  

The below graphs give an indication on how varied the impact of COVID-19 has been on different countries.

Retail is one among the hardest hit segments – people just don’t want to risk going out and getting stuck in the middle of a big crowd (and who can blame them, it is simply not worth the risk).

But it is not just retail – it is education, IT, automotive, hospitality, entertainment, travel and tourism, etc., etc. (I can’t go on listing all the different industries, so please assume that I have listed them). And it is not just these industries that are affected, the ripple effect can be felt across all supporting industries and businesses. A number of friends of mine who either work for or own small businesses, have all shut shop (some of them say they haven’t gotten any new orders for the last three months).

And, as things stand today, there is no end in sight! 

The airline industry itself is set to lose about 350 billion US dollars this year, which translates to cheap flight tickets being a thing of the past, at least for the immediate future. This will have an impact on the way we plan our travel, whether it is for work or play! And this will in turn have a trickle-down impact on a number of support industries. 

Self-isolation and lockdown have already changed how we work and study. Many schools have now started offering their programmes online and companies are basically running on Zoom and Skype, and this could be the modus operandi going forward. Every day this continues, we will get more data on home-schooling and home-working, and will be able to refine, optimise, and develop solutions to maximise productivity. Maybe the “new way” will even be able to outperform the “traditional way” of doing things.

At the very least, we may see an increase in work-from-home and study-from-home going forward. Families will have to learn and adapt to this new reality too.

Even if we develop a vaccine and COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past (fingers crossed), things have changed and will continue to evolve – locally and globally, personally and professionally, and economically. The way we look at things, the way we interact with other people, it is all changing. Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Online Communication will be brought front and centre, and this will have a direct impact on efficiency and resource management, reducing the human contact requirements to the minimum “necessary”.

Sustainability, solidarity, and healthcare will take centre stage in the future.


Did you plan to join a school to further you studies and learn new skills. Have your plans hit a roadblock? Then, it is time to get off the bandwagon and think “online”!

Have a look at our list of 100% online programmes and see if we have anything that meets your requirements.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisers for more information on the programmes offered, application process, and for more information on any discounts we might be running in this rather strange period of our lives.