The Internet of Things IoT is a buzzword that you’re going to hear a lot about of the next few years. What, exactly, is the Internet Of Things? What are Apple’s plans for the Internet Of Things, and what IOT apps and devices can you buy.

In our Internet of Things feature we look at one of the most exciting areas of tech, the point where physical objects and the internet collide. IN this place are some of the coolest devices you’ll ever own.

Let's take a look at The Internet of Things:

What is the Internet Of Things?

The Internet Of Things is a new type of technology that refers to physical real-world objects, and their ability to connect to apps and websites in an internet like structure. It’s essentially about connecting everyday objects to the internet, and to apps.

Devices like the Internet Fridge have been much mocked, but with rapidly falling prices of technology it’s becoming easier and cheaper to equip just about all our objects in daily life with tags and microchips.

This has opened up some interesting possibilities. Medicine boxes could monitor their contents, and order more of themselves when they run out, bins could keep an eye on their contents and notify the local council when they are full; the tires on a car could have sensors and chips implanted to alert you when they need inflating.

All of this isn’t really going to demand much attention from you, it’ll be one of those things that gradually changes the world around you.

If you want to know what other Apple brands and related tech terms mean, take a look at our Apple user's jargon buster

Why is the Internet Of Things a good idea?

Kevin Ashton, cofounder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, explained why the Internet of Things would be a good idea in a presentation. He says:

The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy -- all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things -- using data they gathered without any help from us -- we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.”

What are some of the best Internet of Things apps you can buy

While it’s still early days for the Internet of Things, there are already several apps and devices you can use that blend the device between everyday objects and data. Here are some interesting Internet of Things devices to look out for:

SITU nutrition scale for iOS

SITU: Smart Food Scale

SITU is a Smart Food nutrition scale. You place food upon the scale and it weighs the food. It then connects to an iPhone or iPad to display the exact nutritional content from that piece of food. Place food on SITU and you’ll see exactly what’s in it–from calories to salt to sugars to vitamins and minerals.

According to its founder, Michael Grothaus, SITU can be used to weigh individual items or to track the entire dietary history with alerts for nutritional limits. You can export data from SITU to share with doctors and nutritionists.

While SITU is ideal for those looking to lose weight, we also think it has real world potential for most people looking for a data-based diet. It also hints at the kind of biometric health-based future for technology that we are hearing musings about from Apple.

SITU is in Kickstarter mode at the moment, as its inventors raise the funds to develop the app further. Click here to read more about SITU.

NEST Thermostat: connecting central heating to the iPhone

NEST is a smart thermostat that hooks a home heating system and connects it to a smartphone. With a NEST system installed, the heating is automatically turned down when you leave the house, and temperature settings are controlled remotely from an iOS device. NEST claims to be able to reduce customers heating bills by 29 per cent.

It’s an interest take on blending together the technology you carry around with you, with the technology you use at home.

Google NEST thermostat in the UK

NEST Thermostat is owned by Google so you can be sure that NEST is going to be big news. It’s recently been launched in the UK and is offered by Npower to its customers. “With the U.K. Office of Gas and Electricity Markets saying that UK residents spend on average about £1,342 per year on energy¹, and heating responsible for over 60 percent of the bill, it’s the perfect time to bring the Nest Learning Thermostat to the U.K.” said Lionel Paillet, general manager for Europe, Nest. “Nest Learning Thermostat customers in the US experience savings of approximately 20 percent on average off their heating and cooling bill and we’re looking forward to helping customers in the U.K. save as well.”

Jawbone Up24: monitor your daily activity

While we wait for Apple to release the iWatch, take a look at this Jawbone UP24 wristband. This interesting device sits around the wrist and monitors movement and activity, sending biometric data to the iPhone. The Up24 band monitors your movements, sleep patterns and eating activity. It then transmits the data to the UP app on the iPhone, where you can monitor information about your activity. You can set goals and milestones and use the data to make smarter choices about your daily lifestyle.

Jawbone UP24