While the answer to the question “what is the Internet of Things?” is fairly simple, the technology itself holds substantial ramifications to our societal and economic behavior. The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a breadth of devices that connect to the Internet and that communicate with other connected devices via wireless networks (cellular and WiFi), and embedded sensors. It impacts the way we monitor and interact with our environment, automate and shape our shopping habits, and even affects how we maintain our physical health. Examples of IoT devices include autonomous cars, smart appliances, and wearable tech. The promise of connected devices is to not only solve larger, complex issues such as health and environment but also to alleviate simpler problems in our daily lives.
We are currently living in a world with IoT technology. However, the projected number of connected devices is expected to rise significantly by 2020.
What is the Internet of Things? 11 IoT Facts
- Kevin Ashton first used the term during his presentation on RFID and supply chain for Proctor & Gamble in 1999.
- The first IoT device is the ATM, created back in 1974.
- Machine to Machine Communications (M2M) is the forbearer of IoT (and will still be in use alongside IoT). Both rely on devices communicating with each other via a network, but M2M “tends to have a more commercial and industrial connotation” while IoT defines a broader range of devices, according to Sierra Wireless.
- Cisco lists the industries benefiting from IoT. The list includes Manufacturing, Energy, Transportation, Smart Cities, Government, Education, Retail, Healthcare, and Financial Services.
- Siemens’s research suggests that there will be 26 billion IoT devices by 2020.
- Gartner predicts that a quarter billion connected cars will be in use by 2020.
- IoT may contain devices as small as dust that can be sprayed or injected. The devices may also be large enough to encompass an entire city.
- Smart clothing will be included in the marketplace of IoT devices. Tractica wrote that “sports enthusiasts are leading the adoption of smart clothing with sensor-infused shirts, shorts, sports bras, and socks that provide biometric data on muscle activity, breathing rate, and heart activity zones, all data that is not currently tracked by fitness bands or smart watches.”
- Gartner also predicts that smart kitchens will save the food and beverage industry 15 percent with its ability to streamline the food ordering process.
- According to Cisco’s survey, “60 percent of IoT initiatives stall at the Proof of Concept stage, and only 26 percent of companies have had an IoT initiative that they considered a complete success.” However, the outlook for future successful IoT projects remains optimistic.
- Barcelona “produced 30 percent energy savings across the urban lighting system” when they implemented a smart city infrastructure.