“Born” in 2009 when we as a human race stopped and realized, “Wait… There are more things connected to the internet than people!?” IoT, as they like to call it, is the integration of various utilities that are not computers, into a network with an internet connection; which kinda gives them a computer brain. I’d like to call out a difference between “Network of Things” and “Internet of Things”. A Network of Things doesn’t need an internet connection to function e.g. a Local Area Network (LAN), but an Internet of Things as its name suggests; is connected to the internet. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it.
More on IoT History
As far back as 1874, the French government monitored the weather and snow depth on Mont Blanc through a system of sensors and had them send signals to Paris in real-time. In 1929, Robert Bureau relayed temperature and barometer pressure signals from a weather balloon using wireless telemetry (reading and recording the measurements of an instrument remotely). Just a year later, Pavel Molchanov converted the readings into Morse Code (dots and dashes), which made it easier to read, making his radio probe more popular than Bureau’s. We just have to admit it, the French are largely responsible for our modern world; from the first mechanical adding machine (1642), parachute (1783), electric generator (1832), refrigerator (1858), and neon lamp (1910) see nationsencyclopedia.com.
So why now? Why is the IoT becoming popular just now? This is because of reduced prices (all thanks to the wide production of smartphones) of; sensors, chips, wireless transmitters, and batteries. From the time John Romkey and Simon Hackett connected a toaster to the internet in 1990, to turn it on and off remotely. To when students at Carnegie Mellon University got too lazy to check if there was any Coke left in the vending machine, so they connected it to the then internet (ArpaNet) to monitor the stock and coolness of the Coke in 1982 (by lazy I mean ingenious by the way).
IoT Functions in Our Lives
To when Mark Weiser made the water fountain in front of his office mimic the volume and trend of the stock market in height and flow in 1998. The IoT has become weigh more functional. From monitoring weather systems which it kinda always has, at least since the 1800s in France to smart greenhouses in Africa that send text messages to the farmer when your plants need watering.
The concept “Internet of Things” is made up of four core components:
- Remote control
A self-driven car is like the most exciting product of IoT to most people but for me, it would be self-opening toilet doors, self-flushing bowls, sensor taps, and automatic tissue and paper towel dispensers so you wouldn’t have to touch anything in public restrooms, especially in these Covid times. But I guess that would be more a Network of Things than an Internet of things since no one will ever need to flush the john remotely… unless you’re one of those people who need help.
Internet of Things Vs Internet of Everything
We can’t talk about the IoT and fail to mention the Internet of Everything. This includes the; IoT, Internet of Digital, and Internet of Humans. Some would add the Internet of Processes which involves using AI to give relevant information to individuals by use of Big Data. It’s all kind of the same concept but instead of “things” which have no natural /artificial “brain”, it’s digital devices like your TV, smartphone, and laptop being interconnected for a specific purpose in the case of the Internet of Digital.
When it comes to the Internet of Humans; vital information is drawn from the human through your smartphone, shoes, sprint goggles, and smartwatches. In the case of humans, the “Thing” doesn’t define the name “Internet of Humans” but rather its use, which is to log in data relating to the human body. It also includes social media. There are no fixed rules to naming these “things” yet but the essence of “The Internet of Anything” is to gather data, analyze it and automate processes.
There’s no doubt that the IoT brings with it a loooot of exciting opportunities. However, with every new opportunity comes a new challenge, from decreased security and privacy to an increased dependence on technology, electricity, and the internet.
Let’s enjoy it while we can but remember to stay on guard because you know, you just never know.