Just the other day, I was watching BBC news when they mentioned the “Internet of Things” in one of their news stories. It wasn't explained in depth in the story and many of the viewers would have likely missed it completely. That being said, it is a concept which will come to the front of the public consciousness in the coming decades, if not years, and I will go ahead and give a general overview to you, the reader.

The ‘Internet of Things’ is the name which has been coined to describe the concept or scenario in which objects, animals or even humans are connected together in a network and are able to exchange data in ways which surpasses current machine-to-machine communication. In essence, the Internet of Things is about taking the Web as we know it and extending it so that anyone can plug devices into it [1].

The explanation given above is good from a technical point of view, but it doesn't really help anyone to visualise what the Internet of Things will actually entail. To do this, I will instead break it down and portray it as a few different futuristic situations which the Internet of Things could enable.

First, I would like you to imagine that you are driving down the road and suddenly realise that you might not have locked the back door. You pull over into the next suitable stopping place and decide that it isn't worth the risk of ignoring it. Nowadays, this would mean that you would have to go back on yourself and lock it wasting precious time. If the Internet of Things becomes a reality (combined with Smart Home technology), you would simply be able to pull out your mobile and remotely activate the house’s secure locking mechanisms.

Now I would like you to imagine that you had a craving for a can of Coke and the only vending machine is on a different floor of the building. As it is the only machine in the building, it often runs out of stock. You could simply go to the machine with your fingers crossed or in a world where the Internet of Things is a reality, you could remotely check if it was stocked up using an internet-enabled device and travel there based on that information.

The Next Web

Funny thing is, that last scenario wasn't futuristic at all and wasn't even made up. It was actually a modified version of the story of the first Internet-enabled appliance, made by a team at Carnegie Melon University in the early 1980s. You can read more about it on their website (yes, really) by clicking here .

This brings me to the part where I point out how the Internet of Things isn't actually a new concept as it seemed earlier on in the article, it is rather a concept which has only recently become viable with technological advances such as IPv6 (which we will not delve into here thankfully).

In fact, it has been estimated by ABI Research [2] that there will be 30 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020 and a vast majority of them will be node/sensory devices (roughly 60%). Since these go part-and-parcel with the Internet of Things, it indicates that this concept is an upward trend rather than simply another niche concept/technology.

I hope that this article has been informative and should you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them in the comments section.


About the Author:
Redeye3323 recently completed a Bachelor of Science Computer Degree and is part of the Literature Review section of his Smart Home-related Dissertation delves into the Internet of Things (with several referenced sources).

[1] Kamilaris, et al., 2011 | “The smart home meets the web of things”

[2] More Than 30 Billion Devices Will Wirelessly Connect to the Internet of Everything in 2020

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