I’m willing to bet that you’ve got a pretty strong grasp on the Internet by now. But how about the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an idea that’s been around for almost 20 years but hasn’t become mainstream yet. The “things” in the Internet of Things are devices or sensors that receive, analyze, and share data with countless other “things” in the world. So they pretty much have a limitless amount of data at their, um, fingertips. Stick with me.
With all of these connected “things” sharing their knowledge with each other, they form insights that are way beyond what humans could conceptualize in the same amount of time.
You see, the human brain is incredible, but it’s flawed (at least from a programmer’s point of view.) There are some days where I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast, much less the logic behind Pythagorean’s Theorem that I learned in high school. But with the IoT, we’re dealing with machines that can access old or distant information in rich detail. So the system produces genius insights that the human brain might take a lifetime to recognize.
The interactive network between the “things” – the data and insights that the system creates – is the Internet of Things.
I know the concept seems futuristic, but the IoT is already here, and it’s growing more prevalent every day. Here are some factors that support my argument:
- Falling costs and rising quality. Components like microchips, cloud services, and GPS devices are more affordable than ever. Livewire’s work with Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield showed that kiosk technology can be cheaper than paper! Components also run extremely advanced software nowadays.
- Accelerated demand for connected devices. As more companies and consumers realize the value of connectivity, the market is growing into the billions and beyond.
- Expanding device options. Everything from light bulbs to washing machines to point-of-sale ticketing terminals is becoming connected.
- Mainstream machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions. It’s predicted that 50% of companies will adopt M2M communications technologies by 2020. (Vodafone, The M2M Adoption Barometer, June 2013.) Companies like T-Mobile are already using M2M technologies in their promotions.
I’m a tech geek so it’s exciting for me to think about the role technology could play in our future. How do you feel, hopeful or dubious?