Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the millions… scratch that… billions of physical objects and devices around the world that are connected or synced to the internet which enables them to easily collect and share data. These days, due to the availability of cheap processors and wireless networks, we are able to sync anything from a medical pill to aircrafts into a part of the IoT world or database. Internet of Things (IoT) simply adds a level of intelligence to devices that would ordinarily have been dumb. This advancement in technology helps devices to communicate with each other and their surroundings without human intervention.
Examples of Internet of Things (IoT) Devices
Actually, any physical device can be transformed into an IoT enabled machine so long as it can somehow be connected to the internet and controlled.
Developments in IoT have advanced such that light bulbs, vacuum cleaners, televisions etc can be controlled using a smartphone app or an internet-connected controller. IoT devices can come in various shapes and sizes, from a tiny thing as a baby’s toy to a driverless speed-train.
IoT devices are increasingly being filled with thousands of sensors to help collect and transmit data and ensure optimum performance. Teams are even dreaming up on a bigger scale to create entirely smart cities run on IoT.
The term IoT originally refers to items that will ordinarily not be expected to be connected to the internet but have been connected anyway and are able to carry out their functions without the need for external or human assistance.
History of Internet of Things (IoT)
The idea of adding sensors to devices to make them smarter had been discussed by engineering and science communities all through the 1980s and 1990s. In the early days of IoT conceptualization, only a few devices such as a handful of vending machines got linked to the internet. Progress was slow, the tech was not ready.
To make IoT happen, there was the need to have adequate supply of processors that were very cheap to make the process of mass production and adoption possible such that billions of devices could be connected and hooked to the internet cost-effectively.
The adoption of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags which are low power chips capable of communicating wirelessly was handy in solving some of the earlier mentioned issues above. Then came the wider adoption of broadband and wireless internet, and then hitherto impossibilities started to become possible.
The adoption of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) which among other things helps to assign IP address to billions of devices around the world was another ground-breaking invention that helped to scale the process of making IoT possible.
The term Internet of Things (IoT) was coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999, it however took about another decade for the world to begin to catch-on to the technology. “The IoT integrates the interconnectedness of human culture… our things… with the interconnectedness of digital information system… the internet… That’s the IoT” Kevin Ashton said back in 1999.
IoT was initially interesting for businesses and large manufacturers as it was first used by them in an application form known as machine-to-machine (M2M). But lately, emphasis have been placed on more domestic and individual use of IoT devices to help make human activities easier, faster and more efficient.
How Big is the Internet of things Market?
The market as at this year 2018 is big, and it is getting bigger with increasing adoption. There are already more connected devices under IoT than there are people in the world. According to Analyst Gartner, there were an estimated 8.4 billion IoT devices as at 2017. This figure is up 31% from 2016 numbers and it is expected to go up to 20.4 billion by 2020. In terms of spending, $2 trillion worth of transactions were executed in the IoT market in 2017.
Half of the 8.4 billion IoT devices were consumer products such as TVs, smart speakers, smartphones, smart electric meters and commercial security cameras.