The term “Internet of Things” was first coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton. It refers to the notion whereby physical objects of all kinds are equipped with small identifying devices and connected to a network. In essence: everything connected to anytime, anywhere by anyone. One of the potential benefits is that this would allow objects to be tracked, inventoried and status continuously monitored.
[div class=attrib]From the New York Times:[end-div]
THE Internet likes you, really likes you. It offers you so much, just a mouse click or finger tap away. Go Christmas shopping, find restaurants, locate partying friends, tell the world what you’re up to. Some of the finest minds in computer science, working at start-ups and big companies, are obsessed with tracking your online habits to offer targeted ads and coupons, just for you.
But now — nothing personal, mind you — the Internet is growing up and lifting its gaze to the wider world. To be sure, the economy of Internet self-gratification is thriving. Web start-ups for the consumer market still sprout at a torrid pace. And young corporate stars seeking to cash in for billions by selling shares to the public are consumer services — the online game company Zynga last week, and the social network giant Facebook, whose stock offering is scheduled for next year.
As this is happening, though, the protean Internet technologies of computing and communications are rapidly spreading beyond the lucrative consumer bailiwick. Low-cost sensors, clever software and advancing computer firepower are opening the door to new uses in energy conservation, transportation, health care and food distribution. The consumer Internet can be seen as the warm-up act for these technologies.
The concept has been around for years, sometimes called the Internet of Things or the Industrial Internet. Yet it takes time for the economics and engineering to catch up with the predictions. And that moment is upon us.
“We’re going to put the digital ‘smarts’ into everything,” said Edward D. Lazowska, a computer scientist at the University of Washington. These abundant smart devices, Dr. Lazowska added, will “interact intelligently with people and with the physical world.”
The role of sensors — once costly and clunky, now inexpensive and tiny — was described this month in an essay in The New York Times by Larry Smarr, founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology; he said the ultimate goal was “the sensor-aware planetary computer.”
That may sound like blue-sky futurism, but evidence shows that the vision is beginning to be realized on the ground, in recent investments, products and services, coming from large industrial and technology corporations and some ambitious start-ups.
[div class=attrib]Read the entire article here.[end-div]
[div class=attrib]Image: Internet of Things. Courtesy of Cisco.[end-div]