I am taking Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Embedded Systems by University of California, Irvine on Coursera. Before I continue, I had to say that you cannot take the quizes and assignments if you are not premium member, which takes the fun away. I am still taking because I want to watch the videos and some PDF readings.
On Week 1, the instructor, Professor Ian Harris gave an overview of what IoT is. IoT are normal things like refrigerator, added with computational intelligence (chip), that can connect to the internet. Then, he explain the concept of IoT in a refrigerator. You can imagine the things around you that can possibly be turned into IoT.
The difference between IoT and computer is, IoT is more specialized for the task e.g. cooling food, driving, etc while computer is more general, it can run many programs for different tasks.
There are trends that have hasten the adoption of IoT, namely the decrease cost, size, weight of chips/ computers, the increase in computational speed, ability, the existence of internet and wide adoption of internet, wireless access, decrease in data cost and increase in data bandwidth. These are huge improvements!
Society can benefits from IoT because it makes thing easier, less dependent on humans, access to the wider world.
There are certainly risks, privacy and security issues involved. Social isolation, privacy (company keeping track of watching habits, health data), security (hacking health devices).
I think this course goes good hand in hand with the network communications (SCSR1213 UTM SPACE) course I am taking in university, especially the internet part.