INTERNET OF THINGS INTRODUCTION
This area of our website presents information on the Internet of Things (IoT) from a variety of sources. While the IoT remains relatively new and, to many, somewhat confusing, it serves as an integral function within the future of the internet.
The IoT has been around for a few years; however, 2013-2014 has seen a literal explosion of it!
The IoT refers to the connection and control of "THINGS" to and through the internet. Estimates put the number of "things" connected to and controlled through the internet by the year 2020 between 26 to 100 billion! As a reminder, the lower number reflects more than three times the population of earth!
This tells us that the IoT is here to stay and will—or already does—affect each of us in some manner. Hence, we should at least become aware of the IoT even if we choose to not try to understand its depth.
This page of our website should asist awareness of the IoT. If you choose to explore it at all, the PDFs offered on another page open a door to exploration. Additionally, links to five infographics appear after the PDFs; these infographics provide summaries of the IoT.
Inasmuch as there appears to be no 'single' definition for the IoT, I present several for your perusal:
- Simple Definition 1: Anything with an 'on/off' switch can be connected to and controlled through the internet.
- Simple Definition 2: About Technology, an internet site that describes myriad areas of interest, defines IoT as: "The Internet of Things (or IoT for short) is a term used to describe the concept of any object's ability to transfer and communicate data to another object via an online IP-based network."
- Simple Definition 3: CERP-IoT, (Cluster of European Research Projects on the Internet of Things), defines IoT as: "The Internet of Things links the objects of the real world with the virtual world, thus enabling anytime, any place connectivity for anything and not only for anyone. It refers to a world where physical objects and beings, as well as virtual data and environments, all interact with each other in the same space and time."
- Gartner Definition: Gartner, Inc., one of the world's leading information technology research and advisory companies, defines IoT as: "The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment."
- Investopedia Definition: Investopedia, an internet site devoted to investing education, defines IoT as: "A network comprised of physical objects capable of gathering and sharing electronic information. The Internet of Things includes a wide variety of "smart" devices, from industrial machines that transmit data about the production process to sensors that track information about the human body. Often, these devices use Internet Protocol (IP), the same protocol that identifies computers over the world wide web and allows them to communicate with one another."
Okay, we have numerous 'assigned definitions' for the Internet of Things. Now let's see if we can reformulate these into a clear summary.
The internet has been around for about 25 years. We are all familiar with the way it has allowed computers from around the world to interconnect, share data, and provide interactive experiences with data.
The Internet of Things is a step or so beyond the internet. The IoT allows us to connect, monitor, and alter things, regardless of where we are in the world! This might beg the question, "What does the future hold for humanity?" Only time will tell.
A crucial component for succesful functioning of the IoT is Cloud Computing. On March 13, 2013, Eric Griffith wrote in PCMag, "In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive." In brief, this means that we connect 'things' to a large network of dedicated computer servers and then control these 'things' using a web browser.
Finally, we may gather from the previous that the Internet of Things refers essentially to myriad Things connected to and controlled through the internet. A network of dedicated computer servers known as the Cloud manages incoming and outgoing data via web browsers.
Hmm! Smart and smartly done, eh?
Origin of the Phrase Internet of Things
Kevin Ashton, a British technologist, is credited with coining the phrase "Internet of Things" in 1999 while at the Auto-ID Center at MIT. This is according to analyst Anish Gaddam interviewed by Sue Bushell in Computerworld, on 24 July 2000. Since that time, the IoT blew into the future with the force mandatory change!
Examples of IoT
- Remotely monitor and manage home heating/cooling, appliances, lighting, and so forth.
- Monitor your baby.
- Create 'reminders' for everything from medication intake to picking up milk from the store on your way home.
- Activate or deactivate home or business alarms.
- Locate lost items or people.
- Monitor and control plants or a garden.
- Track levels of physical activity.
- Monitor and track health variables.
- Monitor and track city infrastructures.
- Smart Grid control.
- Subway monitoring and control.
- Train monitoring and control.
The list, of course, continues ad infinitum, limited only by imagination — or the lack thereof.