If you are into technology you would have to be living under a rock not to have seen the rising (and accelerating) interest in the “Internet of Things” (“IoT” or for short). Unfortunately, because Internet of Things is such a broad term, it tends to attract on overly wide range of topics, making it hard to cut to the chase on what IoT is—and more importantly—how it can be used to make your life or work better. We have started this blog to help add some clarity to the discussion on thinks like IoT, M2M, the Industrial Internet, AllSeen Alliance, AllJoyn, the rise of sensors on your smartphone and even the use of social media as a societal sensor.
IoT: Not one tech trend, but a combination of eight
One of the reasons it is so easy to lump so many things—no pun intended—into the Internet of Things is because IoT is actually a combination of (at least) eight technologies and tech trends:
|TECH TREND||MAPPING TO THE CONNECTED WORLD AND INTERNET OF THINGS|
|Rise of Sensors||Sensor technology advancements have lowered cost of production and operation, enabled use in more places. This allows us to capture more data from more things, in more places without the tedious work of manual data entry, transfer or even upload.|
|+ Emergence of a Sharing Culture||Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) made it “normal” for people to share information about themselves and their activities across the Internet. This has not only created stream of human sensor data to harness but also made people comfortable conducting interactions on sharing-economy platforms like Uber.|
|+ Rise of Smartphones||The explosion of smartphones has put a platform into the hands over a billion people that not only allows them to instantaneously share data and connect with others but also carry sensors around with them wherever they go. Today’s modern smartphones have up to a dozen sensors in them: download Sensor Kinetics on iTunes or Google Play to see what is on your phone.|
|+ Expanded Bandwidth and Communications Technologies||The advancement of GSM and 2G GPRS to 3G and now LTE and 4G has made it easier—and cheaper—to transfer vast amounts of information from anywhere. Bluetooth LE and ZigBee are making it easy to connect anything to an Internet “radio” such as your smartphone. Companies like Google are now even exploring use of drones for Internet coverage anywhere—at costs much lower than Iridium SatComm.|
|+ Open APIs||While “Web 2.0” is a now-outdated term, it sparked a move towards open APIs. These make it easy to get data, share data, and exchange interactions between devices and platforms. (Aside: as most APIs are HTTP- and JSON-based, exchange of data with devices would not be practical without advances in bandwidth and communications tech.)|
|+ Reduced Computational Costs||Managing data from billions of connected devices will require expansion of computing capacity and the ability to “dial” capacity up or down based on demand. The continuing reduced cost of cloud computing (IaaS and PaaS) combined with automated configuration management technologies has not only made this possible, but also practical as well.|
|+ Big Data technologies and analytics||The IoT presents the ultimate Big Data challenge: disparate data from many different kinds of devices at high volume and velocity, with extreme volatility (sensor data is inherently volatile). The rise of Big Data technologies, schema and streaming and new data-centric Big Data Architectures now enable us to make sense of all this data.|
Timing IS everything. None of these trends existed when the “Internet of Things” term was coined at MIT 15 years ago. Imagine doing this with: bar codes + dial-up modems + $20K servers + SQL-only + no smartphones + these UIs.
“The Connected World” Blog
We are calling our new blog “The Connected World” because this new movement is more than just “things on the Internet.” It is part social media, part mobile, part cloud computing, part Big Data, part Business Transformation, and part connected “things” (sensors, M2M, D2S, and D2D). As such, we have pre-populated it with some of posts on topics underlying this.