Is the Internet of Things Really the Internet of Everything?

Published: May 27, 2015 at 08:01 UTC

The term “Internet of Things” is tossed around pretty freely these days but what does it really mean? According to whatis.com, the Internet of Things, or IoT, is a situation in which people, animals or objects entail unique identifiers with the ability to transfer data across a network where human-to-human or human-to-computer isn’t needed.

Internet of Things has arisen from the culmination of the Internet, wireless technologies and MEMS, or micro-electromechanical systems. Huh? Yes, it sounds a little complicated so let’s further break it down.

Can you Break Down the Parts of IoT?

Yes, of course. Let’s take it step by step. The “thing” refers to pretty much any person, animal or object. For example, you could be referring to a person with a pacemaker.

Fluffy the cat’s microchip to prevent her from being lost or any one of the complex systems aboard an airplane. Basically an IP address can be given to any natural or man-made object with the capability of transferring data over a network.

If you’re still a little confused, think of it this way: it is most comparable to machine-to-machine, or M2M, communication that has long been used in communications in various utilities. These products are often described as being “smart.”

How Long Has the Internet of Things Been Around?

Great question. IoT was officially named in 1999, but the actual development had been in the works for decades. In fact, the very first Internet appliance was none other than a Coca-Cola machine on the campus of Carnegie-Mellon University in the 1980’s.

It was remote controlled and seemed so futuristic at the time. Instead of wasting precious time going down flights of stairs to an empty machine, by accessing the school’s computer system, students were able to determine how many beverages were available and even the coldest soda available. You’ve got to love technology.

What Are the Downfalls of IoT?

Another great question. According to Wired, Google is reporting as the breadth of Internet of Things continue to grow rapidly, so does the need for machines that are able to handle these plethora of connections.

For example, all of the information flowing from objects such as cars, washing machines and smart TVs must go through data centers such as the ones controlled by Facebook, Apple or Google.

There are concerns that there won’t be enough electricity available to power all of this data. According to the head of Google’s worldwide network of data centers, he doesn’t believe this is a legitimate problem. He thinks that many of the efficiencies of these problems will balance out the need for extra electricity.

However, he does see an issue when it comes to online cameras. Since they send so much data across the network, they can lead to an exponential use in power centers over worldwide data centers.

What is IoT Going to Look Like in the Future?

All of the top Internet companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are moving towards more efficient data centers. In addition, smaller companies are taking note and following suit. As more demands are placed upon the Internet of Things, both the technology and data centers are improving to keep pace.

According to Forbes, social media companies can’t wait to get their hot hands all over IoT. As the article describes, it’s the next logical step for social media companies as they continue to grow in status. Not only is it beneficial for them to connect people to other people but also people to all of their other devices and gadgets as well.

Here are a few examples:

• WeChat — a mobile social messaging app has lofty intentions on connecting and monitoring all pertinent things in users’ lives through a type of smart hardware. In a nutshell, you can monitor various devices through WeChat and even share with friends.
• Facebook — the big daddy of them all has made its intentions known with the Parse platform that plays a pivotal role in how to not only manage but control all of the devices around you.

Now, that you know what the Internet of Things is, you should have a clearer picture of how you fit in and how it will look in the future.

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