What is it?
The Internet of Things is a term used to refer to connected devices. Objects such as cars, smartphones and buildings can belong to the Internet of Things (IoT) and are able to collect, share and store data. The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefits. Although many physical objects are connected and part of IoT networks, there is far greater scope for the integration of new items and applications. The Internet of Things is not reliant on a single company, developer or appliance, much like the internet itself. The next few years we will see huge increase in the number of connected devices.
How did the technology develop?
Most sources credit the terminology the ‘Internet of Things’ to Kevin Ashton, the co-founder of the Auto-ID Centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He first used the phrase in 1999 to describe the use of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), to enable object tracking. The centre has been viewed as the birthplace of IoT technology, and since its establishment many developers, scientists, engineers and economists have debated how connected devices will enhance and effect the future. Today, the hype surrounding IoT is stronger than ever and the likelihood of a truly connected world appears to be within reach.
Adoption of IoT will be huge and applications of the technology will be far-reaching. One of the most popular uses of the IoT will be in the home. Connected houses will see appliances, lighting, security settings and energy services all connected allowing the users greater control and reducing costs. Similar capabilities are being applied to the automotive industry as sensors fitted into the car collect a plethora of data from tyre pressure and engine temperature through to accurate logs of driving performance and usage that can, in turn, be used to negotiate better insurance deals for drivers. Away from consumers, we are seeing IoT adopted by large industries such as gas, oil and energy to improve efficiencies across every step of the supply chain. The potential in healthcare is huge, with smart medical devices and vast online databases of patient information. IoT is even being used in agriculture, to monitor crops and the well-being of cattle – Yes Fitbits for cows!!!
A network of physical devices embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data
There are a lot of different numbers floating around when it comes to predicting the market size of the Internet of Things. Statista estimates that the global market value of IoT will have reached 1.7 billion USD by the year 2018. According to IDC, the global market value in 2014 was $655.8 billion USD, and this will have risen to 1.7 trillion by 2020. The number of connected devices is estimated to triple. Cisco have predicted that the overall economic value of the technology will hit a cool $19 trillion USD in 2020.
Easy overview to IoT
Panel discussion on IoT at Davos 2016
A Benson Hougland TED talk on IoT