IoT Demystified

Technology in the hands

This is how it started…

Zied: “Alessandro, explain the Internet of Things to me.”

Alessandro: “Well, the Internet of Things concerns all the things that regard the Internet.”

Gavin: “Oh no… That’s not enough, you should search about it a bit more!”

And so I did.

It probably happened to many of you, at least once, especially if you work in the IT sector, to end up in a conversation about the Internet of Things. People assume that you know what it’s about.

Definitions

The Internet of Things or IoT is about devices that can connect to the Internet and communicate to each other, without human interaction.

Margaret Rouse, on TechRadar.com, defines IoT as “a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction” (Rouse, 2016). Basically, it is an intricate system where objects can communicate to each other, receiving and giving instruction, without a person instructing them.

As for the Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), they propose a different definition of IoT, described as “the point in time when more ‘things or objects’ were connected to the Internet than people” (Evans, 2016), considering then the IoT as a timeframe rather than a concept.

Importance

In the last decade, IoT became surely one of the growing topics in the IT sector, giving an exponential increase in devices that can connect to the Internet.

Its origin can be traced back to the Auto-ID Center founded in 1999, a department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Evans, 2016). But the idea of IoT has been around for a long time and the first kind of IoT device was a toaster unveiled in the 1990’s Interop Conference (Livinginternet.com, 2016). Why a toaster? Still a mystery for me…

Internet Toaster
Internet Toaster

Every year, companies increase their investment in the IoT. For example, in April 2016, Intel announced a cut of 12,000 jobs in the sales and marketing departments across the globe, to focus on data centres and IoT (Intel Newsroom, 2016).

The IoT comprehend many applications and devices, and it does. We can have smart parking, that monitor spaces availability or traffic congestion devices to monitor the traffic, snow-level monitoring in real-time, potable water monitoring, pollution level on the seas, tank level monitoring, radiation level monitoring, supply chain control and much more (Libelium.com, 2016).

Obviously, all that glitters is not gold. What if a potable water monitoring system fails or is hacked? And what if that happen to a nuclear plant? Consequences for a lack of security could be very dangerous and bring disasters on international levels.

Now that you are more familiar with the concept of IoT, we invite you to read our next post about The Importance of Security in IoT.

 

References

Evans, D. (2016). The Internet of Things. [online] Available at: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/about/ac79/docs/innov/IoT_IBSG_0411FINAL.pdf  [Accessed 5 Nov. 2016].

Intel Newsroom. (2016). Intel Announces Restructuring Initiative to Accelerate Transformation | Intel Newsroom. [online] Available at: https://newsroom.intel.com/news-releases/news-release-intel-announces-restructuring/  [Accessed 18 Nov. 2016].

Livinginternet.com. (2016). Internet Toaster, John Romkey, Simon Hackett. [online] Available at: http://www.livinginternet.com/i/ia_myths_toast.htm  [Accessed 19 Nov. 2016].

Rouse, M. (2016). What is Internet of Things (IoT)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. [online] IoT Agenda. Available at: http://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/Internet-of-Things-IoT  [Accessed 15 Oct. 2016].

Libelium.com. (2016). Top 50 Internet of Things Applications – Ranking | Libelium. [online] Available at: http://www.libelium.com/resources/top_50_iot_sensor_applications_ranking/  [Accessed 19 Nov. 2016].

 

Image courtesy of Computerweekly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *