What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things, more briefly known as IoT, is a term commonly used in the technology industry but do you really know what it means?
The Internet of Things is an intelligent system of interlocked computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
The definition has continued to evolve over the years as more and more innovative technologies are being developed and adopted.
IoT has many useful applications, including wearable devices, one of the earliest applications of IoT. Apple Watches, FitBits and Garmin devices seem to be on nearly every wrist as the services are deployed more.
When thinking about IoT, the first application that most of us think about is smart home devices, devices that track your use of electricity to save you money and to help fight the battle against climate change.
IoT technology encourages communication between devices which allows devices to stay connected and work more efficiently. The innovative technology provides us with more information which can aid decision making, whether it being what supplies to buy or knowing what stock is running low.
In addition, the innovative technology allows for you to save time which can benefit you in many ways especially in this busy day and age, it can allow you to divert your attention to other, more important tasks.
However, it is not all positive. The Internet of Things is a complex system and we all know that with complexity comes with a higher likelihood of failure. In addition, with the higher volume of data being transmitted, data leaks could be more prone to occur. Data will need to be encrypted which could be a lengthy process, defeating the advantage of time saving earlier in the process.
Whilst there are some disadvantages to the technology, its benefits far outweigh them, what system does not have some downsides? Its time saving abilities for consumers can not be matched.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”