Day 1 – Defining Internet of Things (IoT)

Being connected has become an integral part of human evolution in the 21st century. Be it through the laptop or smartphones, or via smartwatches or the traditional landline phones. Cisco reports that by the end of 2016, global IP Traffic alone will hit the zettabyte threshold. Automatic refreshes and downloads mean that users are connected 24X7 across the globe. Digital connectivity has become more of a utility than a luxury in almost all continents.

Tracing back the evolution of connecting “things” has always intrigued me. Back in the days of personal computers, when the Apples and the Microsofts of the world fought to capture the markets, the idea of connecting “things” was restricted to desktops. And Ethernet cable plugged into the RJ45 connector on your desktop was how you connected to the “web world”. Then came the laptops. The need to fully utilize its mobility was perhaps what lead to the connectivity over the air or the WiFi. With the laptops and desktops hooked on the web world, the wise men from the mountains began to explore the possibility of connecting phones. And thus emerged the world of smartphones. And rest is history.

The term Internet of Things was coined back in 1999 by a British entrepreneur named Kevin Ashton, the founder of Auto-ID lab at MIT. In a layman’s terms, it can be viewed as a way to connect the physical world with the web world. Kevin defined it as a way in which the computers could sense things for themselves, before the humans told them what to do. In other words, a constant communication between the computers of the world to create a society amongst themselves.

Over the years the term took a different dimension of its own. The word computer began to take different shapes and forms – from smartphones, to smartwatches, from smart grids to smart cities, what all and what not. My quest to explore the intricacies of this vast subject came as a fascination during a company pitch session which I had participated in. Smart Cities were the theme of the pitch and that got me to delve deeper into the subject.

Over the next few sessions, I plan to write about different aspects of IoT. Each week I plan to cover one of the major areas of growth, from consumer applications, to corporate use cases and city planning. While I’m not a master at this field, I plan to write as I learn and hopefully paint an exhaustive picture at the end of it all.