The Internet of Things (IoT) is the ever-growing system of physical objects that feature an IP address for Internet connectivity. It is basically the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet, allowing it to send and receive data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Software developers have been using this term for more than 15 years; however, it only began gaining momentum more recently. There are three core sectors of the IoT: enterprise, home, and government. The Enterprise Internet of Things (EIoT) is the largest of the three.
The IoT expands Internet connectivity beyond the more commonly used devices such as laptop computers, smartphones, and tablets. Now there exists a diverse range of devices that use Internet technology to interact with the environment. Examples include thermostats that use Internet connectivity to manage temperature controls, as well as cars, security systems, speaker systems, vending machines, lights, and even farm animals implanted with biochip transponders.
RFID tags are used to capture data and track the movement of objects in the physical world. As many as 12 million were sold in 2011, and experts estimate that by 2021, this number will increase to 209 billion as the Internet of Things evolves. This boom of the Internet of Things means that the number of devices connected to the Internet will increase from about 13 billion today to 50 billion by 2020.
So, what’s the point? Kevin Ashton, the cofounder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, explained the potential of the IoT in the following statement:
“The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy – all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things need replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.”