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.

The Internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Everyday devices equipped with sensors and connectivity to work together, understand what we’re doing, and operate automatically to make our lives easier.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to sense and interact with their environment and each other to collect and exchange data to make our lives better.

What is the “Thing”?

A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and is able to transfer data over a network.

Increasingly, organizations in a variety of industries are using IoT to operate more efficiently, better understand customers to deliver enhanced customer service, improve decision-making and increase the value of the business.

History of IoT

Kevin Ashton, co-founder of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, first mentioned the internet of things in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999. Wanting to bring radio frequency ID (RFID) to the attention of P&G’s senior management, Ashton called his presentation “Internet of Things” to incorporate the cool new trend of 1999: the internet. MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld’s book, When Things Start to Think, also appearing in 1999, didn’t use the exact term but provided a clear vision of where IoT was headed.

IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microservices and the internet. The convergence has helped tear down the silos between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), enabling unstructured machine-generated data to be analyzed for insights to drive improvements.

Although Ashton’s was the first mention of the internet of things, the idea of connected devices has been around since the 1970s, under the monikers embedded internet and pervasive computing.

The first internet appliance, for example, was a Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1980s. Using the web, programmers could check the status of the machine and determine whether there would be a cold drink awaiting them, should they decide to make the trip to the machine.

IoT evolved from machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, i.e., machines connecting to each other via a network without human interaction. M2M refers to connecting a device to the cloud, managing it and collecting data.

Taking M2M to the next level, IoT is a sensor network of billions of smart devices that connect people, systems and other applications to collect and share data. As its foundation, M2M offers the connectivity that enables IoT.

The internet of things is also a natural extension of SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), a category of software application program for process control, the gathering of data in real time from remote locations to control equipment and conditions. SCADA systems include hardware and software components. The hardware gathers and feeds data into a computer that has SCADA software installed, where it is then processed and presented it in a timely manner. The evolution of SCADA is such that late-generation SCADA systems developed into first-generation IoT systems.

The concept of the IoT ecosystem, however, didn’t really come into its own until the middle of 2010 when, in part, the government of China said it would make IoT a strategic priority in its five-year plan.

Industrial revolutions – from industry 1.0 to 4.0

let’s look at IoT in the broader context of technology history. The first industrial revolution, a couple of hundred years ago, what it did was facilitate production using water and steam power. The second industrial revolution – what it did is then introduce mass production with the help of electric power, which was then followed by the third industrial revolution – the digital revolution. The most recent one really.

And this is where electronics and IT further automated production processes. And now we’re just getting started with what you might cool the fourth version of the industry in which digital and physical systems and things are combined for even more productivity.

The key difference this time, or the improvement this time, is that this higher level of productivity is based on data insights and knowledge that are only attainable when everything is connected. 

IOT Facts

In 1999
The term “Internet of Things” was coined by Kevin Ashton from MIT in 1999
87% of people have not heard of the term Internet of Things.
The first IoT objects
ATMs are considered some of the first IoT objects, and went online as far back as 1974.
# of Connected Objects
2016 - 6.5 Billion of Connected Objects 2020 - 50 Billion of Connected Objects
# of Connected Cars
Only 10% of cars were connected to the Internet in 2012. By 2020, it’s estimated that 90% will be.
For a device to be labelled as IoT, it must have 8 design features
1 • Sensors... 2 • Internet connectivity... 3 • Processors... 4 • Energy efficiency... 5 • Cost-effectiveness... 6 • Quality... 7 • Reliability... 8 • Security...

the future of IOT

There is no shortage of IoT market estimations. For example:

  • Bain & Company expects annual IoT revenue of hardware and software to exceed $450 billion by 2020.
  • McKinsey & Company estimates IoT will have an $11.1 trillion impact by 2025.
  • IHS Markit believes the number of connected IoT devices will increase 12% annually to reach 125 billion in 2030.
  • Gartner assesses that 20.8 billion connected things will be in use by 2020, with total spend on IoT devices and services to reach $3.7 trillion in 2018.

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