The Internet of Things

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, September 12th 2013

The idea behind the Internet of Things is the complete automation of communication between all the things. In this situation a “thing” is essentially anything that can be assigned a piece of hardware and an IP address. The IP address allows the things to interact among themselves, thus removing the need for any human-to-human communication.

Kevin Ashton first coined the name for this technology filled future in 1999 but the foundation of the idea was started in the 1980’s when companies first began using technology to communicate with machines. Each year the advances in technology built on and confirmed the premise of the Internet of Things.

We all rely upon technology every day. Whether it is a car’s navigation system to get to a meeting, sharing photos on Facebook and Instagram or tracking a package until it arrives at the front door. Technology is an integral part of our daily lives that is only getting more complex.

Every year our dependency on technology deepens. What was once thought to be futuristic is now the norm – smart phones, remote security monitoring, GPS tracking, even the computerized packaging of food. If this trend continues, which most definitely will, the concept of the Internet of Things is more realistic than one might think.

The idea behind the Internet of Things is built around the ongoing advances in technology. The actual need for human-to-human communication is slipping away as more things in this world are equipped with sensors, chips and other computer hardware.

For example, vehicles are now manufactured with sensors and a light on the dashboard to notify the driver when the tire pressure is low. What if a sensor like this was tweaked in such away that it was able to send a signal when milk in the refrigerator was going bad. This information would be very handy and the Internet of Things does not stop here.

Imagine if this sensor was also able to send a message to the grocer to place an order for a fresh gallon of milk to be delivered. This would completely eliminate a trip to the grocery store and kitchens could be fully restocked without any human interaction.

Now, expand that example to other aspects of your life that require human interaction – the possibilities are truly endless.

The concept of the Internet of Things is both fascinating and intimidating. Will we be able to create and maintain an infrastructure capable of supporting such a vast network of technology? What will be in place as a back up plan if hardware fails? Are we prepared for a world of automated communication?

Only time will tell but Cisco is not leaving it all to chance – they have developed the Catalyst 6800, a switch large enough to act as the backbone of the Internet of Everything. Yes, the Internet of Everything. It is thought to be the next step in technology evolution, building off the foundation of the Internet of Things.

Sources:
Wikipedia: Internet of Things   ||   TechTarget   ||   McKinsey   ||   Network World
 

Posted By: Heidi Kumm

Chat Now