We recently posted a blog about the Internet of Things. Since that post went up, there has been a lot of discussion around the office about what “IoT” really is. It turns out our engineers have a lot to say about it!
They point out that the Internet of Things has been around for decades. One of our engineers mentioned his first IoT device was back in 1996, it was a door access lock controlled by cell phone modems. Imagine the look on people’s faces back then if you told them you had the ability to open their door remotely?! He also spoke about how Japan have been using IoT sensors for over 20 years now on Coca-Cola machines, so that they knew when a machine needed to be refilled.
The re-occurring theme about IoT was that it seems to be an “umbrella term”. Our Engineers consider it more of an integration phrase, rather than a technical description. Not wishing to stereo-type Engineers in anyway…but they are sticklers for the correct technical term! Their opinion is that the IoT landscape is still a mess of protocols, technologies and standards, and breaking these down into ‘recipes’ for particular scenarios of use would be more beneficial for the industry as a whole. A bit like IFTTT but for bigger ideas like cattle tracking in agriculture or tracking the safety of construction site workers.
Even with this, the general consensus around the office is that technology is finally catching up to potential. Connected devices have been around for a long time, but they weren’t easy to work with, and it was difficult to realise cost-effective, useful applications.
Zigbee were perhaps the first to pin together usefulness and value, but it was a hard slog back in 2006. Procept were one of the first companies to integrate it into a product and it was by no means straight-forward…but it certainly showed where the technology was headed.
Whether the term “IoT’ is technically accurate doesn’t matter. Humans have an inherent need to label and group complex information so that it can be understood and shared with a large number of people. The fact we’ve reached this stage with “IoT” is exciting, it means a groundswell of effort behind new and exciting applications of technology that can help solve important problems.
We’re right behind this, and are enjoying the challenge of creating new opportunities with our IoT customers!