Remember when the idea of WiFi seemed so futuristic and cutting edge? Now, not having access to it everywhere we go is cause for a collective groan. How many of you hate going to the grocery store because there is never WiFi and the signal is always terrible? We are moving into the age of IoT (Internet of Things); where if it has an on/off switch, it will probably be (if not already) a part of the IoT.
How Did This Craziness Start?
You can go back as far as the 1930’s to find ideas and speculation about communicating objects. As the 20th century continued, other less obvious examples of IoT surfaced. In the 70’s, UPC codes and ATMs were introduced. Twenty years later, wearable computers and webcams started to surface. In 1999, Kevin Ashton became the first to coin the term “IoT” during a presentation to Proctor and Gamble.
He says, “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.” Since then, we’ve begun to see connectivity between consumer items and the internet become more and more commonplace.
Where Is IoT Now?
Today, smart home products are beginning to flood the market. Amazon Echo, Google Home, SimpliSafe’s wireless security sensors, and wearable tech products are just a few examples of Consumer IoT. We demand innovation and simplicity. Anything that makes our life easier, more productive, and sometimes more energy/cost efficient is guaranteed to gain traction. Smart home products give you the ability to control the temperature, lighting, food, security and entertainment. Our vehicles are becoming more and more connected. Self-driving cars will become more commonplace and we’ll truly have control over most parts of our lives. On an enterprise level, we’re seeing IoT hit the transportation/infrastructure telecom industries, creating more of a smart city.
What’s Next for IoT?
Security. As we continue to become more connected, there will be a great need for specific security and steps to ensure it. It’s not just nanny cams that can be hacked anymore. Everything we work with, touch, and see will have the ability to work against us. We will be taking a risk getting into our car every morning (The Fate of the Furious, anyone?), using our phone, the ATM, or anything that has access to the internet. The risk is also the excitement. We will have control over how much energy we use at home. We’ll be able to activate and deactivate at a moment’s notice. On a national level, we’ll have the ability provide more information and analytics to every part of insurance, climate control, and renewable resources. Globally, we can have a direct impact on clean water, medication, and disease control innovations. Where do you think IoT innovation can help most?
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