IoT and connected devices hold the solutions to problems on all ends of the spectrum, from areas such as agriculture and industrial automation, to letting you know when your food is about to go bad. For me, the greatest potential for IoT (yes, I realize there's so much more) is the potential to eliminate life's maintenance activities, leaving more time for the stuff I enjoy doing. If I can minimize the amount of time I spend cleaning my house, figuring out what I need on my shopping list, or even just turning on the lights I turn on when I get home at night, I'll deem IoT a success.
For those looking to make my dreams come true, a good first step is learning MQTT. MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is a machine-to-machine messaging protocol aimed at IoT. It's designed with a lightweight messaging service that's perfect for remote nodes or sensors. One of our engineers, Alex, put together a great tutorial on getting started with MQTT with the very popular Raspberry Pi platform. I highly recommend it as a quick taste of what MQTT and IoT have to offer.
The tutorial can be found here, and more information can be found on most project websites (it's a very popular thing these days).