In 1982, engineers at Carnegie Mellon University hooked a Coke machine into the local network so that they could check if the machine was empty before making the journey from their desks. Today, connected smart devices are everywhere: in our homes and our pockets, on our wrists, in factories and stores. Many of us drive sensor-laden network-connected vehicles capable of some degree of autonomy.
Over the next few years, the number of devices that comprise the Internet of Things (IOT) will multiply as their sophistication evolves, creating business opportunities and shaping consumer and industry behavior.
The name Internet of Things has been in use for less than 10 years, coined in 2009 by Kevin Ashton, the Executive Director of Auto-ID Labs at MIT, who envisioned a world of trackable objects carrying RFID tags. In the same year, the first wireless pacemakers were installed in patients, allowing doctors to monitor the condition of the device and of their patients remotely.
But it was the convergence of several emerging technologies that made the IoT as we know it possible. Improvements in miniaturization, computation technology, and power management made processor-equipped devices cheap to manufacture. Ubiquitous wireless connectivity allowed those devices to talk to each other and with servers in data centers. The cloud, big data, and machine learning provided the infrastructure and tools necessary to store and analyze the deluge of data generated by smart devices.
Our thermostats, utility meters, watches, security cameras, and home automation devices are part of the Internet of Things. In industry, the IoT is powering innovation in manufacturing, infrastructure management, agriculture, environmental management, logistics, energy management, construction, healthcare, and elsewhere.
The growth of the Internet of Things will increase exponentially as new applications are devised and the technology continues to evolve. 5G connectivity, which is likely to see widespread rollouts in the next 24 months, will have a major impact. As we discussed in a previous article, 5G provides greater bandwidth at lower energy and much reduced latency, allowing for real-time communication between devices and to data centers.
Alongside expanding investment in IoT technology for industry, we can expect to see an increased focus on security. The IoT security story hasn’t been encouraging, and the market has been flooded with cheap and insecure devices that can’t be upgraded. If the IoT is to fulfill its potential, security has to become a priority.
As you can see from our infographic. The Story Of The Internet Of Things, the IoT has come a long way in a short time, and we’re just at the beginning of the story. The Internet of Things has created business opportunities across many different industries. Forward-looking organizations are leveraging strategic executive recruitment and technical training to cultivate the expertise they need to make the most of those opportunities.