The Internet Of Things Has Gone Mainstream

The Internet Of Things Has Gone Mainstream

Exclusive and closed to the public, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (ECS) in Las Vegas is widely considered to be the most influential exposition in the world that is dedicated to the future of technology. According to The Verge, the Internet of Things (IoT) was “the omnipresent theme of the expo” in 2015. But even though CES is about the technological potential of the future, IoT is a reality in the present and has already hit the mainstream.

The Internet of Things, Then and Now

The genesis of the Internet of Things can be traced to 1932, when a writer attributed the abundance of free time enjoyed by modern people to their private army of “mechanical slaves,” which did everything from light and heat the house to provide transportation.

But in the modern era, IoT is a loosely defined term that describes intelligent objects functioning independently, yet communicating through a common Internet connection. Until recently, this concept was relegated to the realm of high-end gadgetry for rich people (think of a wifi-enabled thermometer inside of a baking turkey that, upon reaching its maximum temperature, “tells” the wifi-enabled oven to cool from 400 degrees to 325 degrees).

But now, IoT is mainstream and in use by the everyman.

As discussed in the article “The Internet of Things: Big Data is About to Get Bigger,” people and their devices already generate 2.5 exabytes of data every day (an exabyte is a byte of data multiplied by 1,000 to the sixth power). IoT is believed to have accounted for $2.1 billion in revenue in 2014 alone.

A Future Dominated By IoT?

Even though just .1 percent of the things that could be connected actually are, there were already more connected objects than human beings in 2008. By 2020, it is expected that we’ll be sharing our planet with at least 26 billion and as many as 50 or 100 billion smart objects.

Many experts speculate that the majority of “dumb” items will soon be due for an education. Light bulbs may be notified by a connected chair that someone just sat down to read. A washing machine may be notified by a smart utility meter that it’s a good time to do a load of laundry because water is being regulated at its least expensive point in the day.

Device Failure and Household Applications

When large, complicated items such as cars are made from individual smart parts that are connected, IoT will be far more capable of notifying us when our vehicles are due for repairs before we hear a knock or a rattle on the highway.

This failure-prevention potential could dramatically boost efficiency across nearly all industries as breakdowns and outages could be all but eliminated. At home, failure protection and waste prevention may be more familiar. Smart refrigerators, for example, could make recipe suggestions based on which ingredients in the fridge are due to expire the soonest.

The Companies Behind the Tech

The main players in IoT are Google, Apple and Samsung. Apple announced plans for a “smart home” platform in 2014 and Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion. During CES, Samsung pledged a whopping $100 million to developers to work on building an IoT platform that is more open and accessible.

The Internet of Things is no longer science fiction, or even an optimistic portrait of what the near future may hold. It’s here now, and it can be found creeping into the homes of regular people who expect more out of their stuff than they used to. Most things are not yet connected, but there are fewer dumb objects now than their will be tomorrow – or ever again. IoT is already here, and just waiting to bring the rest of your things to life.

About AuthorAndrew Lisa is a freelance technology writer. You can email him or follow him on Twitter.

Andrew Lisa

Andrew Lisa is a freelance technology writer. You can email him or follow him on Twitter.

You may also like...