Jason Parms

With the entire buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT), have you ever wondered where it all originated? Well, the term has not been around very long but the foundations were laid right from the time when machines started communication back in the 1800s when the telegraph was first used. From then on, the evolution has been unimaginable! Today, it is possible for you to wake up in the morning and simply signal your coffee maker to brew your coffee. It is also possible for your watch to keep track of things like your health metrics or even tell you where you are at any given time. This is all thanks to IoT and the opportunities are endless as the avenues for creativity remain open but where did IoT start? In this article, we will take you through everything you need to know about the history of the internet of things!

The definition

Before we dive into the history, let us talk a peek at the definition of IoT. Just try doing a Google search on the term “Internet of Things”. You will be surprised that Google’s answer is “a proposed development of the Internet in which objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data”. Well IoT is no longer a proposed trend it is already lively! Ironically, Google has been on the forefront in pushing for the development of IoT over the past few years. For instance, in 2014, they acquired Nest, a company dealing with smart thermostats. This is just the tip of the iceberg as they are many IoT applications today e.g.:

  • Smart Energy Meters
  • Industrial asset monitoring (GE, AGT Intl.)
  • Home Automation (Examples: Nest, 4Control, Lifx)
  • Wearable devices/fitness trackers (e.g., Jawbone Up, Fitbit, Pebble)

Now we agree that Google’s definition is somewhat outdated, what is a better definition of IoT? According to Mckinsey, IoT can be defined as the interconnection (wired or wireless) of sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects via the same protocols used by the Internet. If you have been keen, enough then you must have noticed some other terms be proposed to replace IoT but most of them do not actually mean the same thing. For example, Cisco has been rooting for the term Internet of Everything (IoE). Some other related terms are:

  • Intelligent systems
  • Pervasive computing
  • Industrial internet (of Things)
  • Industry 4.0
  • Smart systems
  • M2M (Machine to machine) communication
  • Web of Things

The History

The internet is seen to be a very significant component in the development of IoT. The internet itself started out as part of DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) in 1962 before evolving to ARPANET in 1969. The 1980s then saw commercial interests in ARPANET, a feat that formed the foundation for its evolution into the modern internet. The development of Satellite communication led to the emergence of Global Positioning System in 1993. In fact, most of the IoT is dependent on satellite communication.

It is also worth mentioning the impact of IPV6 towards the development of IoT given that it opened up the address space enough to allow communication between an unlimited numbers of devices around the globe. In other words, it looks like we are not going to run out of addresses anytime soon!

The Birth of IoT

Kevin Ashton, then the Executive Director of Auto-ID Labs at MIT, was the first to invent the term “internet of Things” during a presentation for Procter & Gamble in 1999. Ashton was keen to attract the senior management to a new technology named RFID and since the Internet was also new at the time, he called his presentation the “Internet of Things”. In the presentation, he observed that if devices were tagged then it could be easier for computers to manage, track and inventory them.

IoT Gains Interest

It was not until the year 2010 that IoT took root and gained popularity. This was when Google drew controversy after info leaked that they had not only made 360-degree pictures during the development of Google street view-it was said that they had also collected tons of people’s data through Wi-Fi networks. Many believed that this was the first step Google was taking towards indexing the physical world. The same year also saw the Chinese government declare its interest in making IoT a priority in a strategic five-year plan.

The year 2011 saw the inclusion of IoT into the list of emerging phenomena by Gartner, a company famous for the “hype-cycle for emerging technologies”.

By the year 2012, IoT had gained lots of popularity to an extent that one of Europe’s biggest Internet conference, LeWeb, coined the term “internet of things” as its theme. The year 2012 is also the year Tech focused internet magazines and blogs started using the term IoT prevalently.

In 2013, IDC jumped into the wagon in October when they published a report postulating that IoT would make a whopping $8.9 trillion of the market by the year 2013.

The year 2014 saw the IoT reach a mass-market awareness when Google announced that they had reached an agreement to buy Nest for $3.2bn. This announcement came at the time when the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held in Vegas under the theme of IoT.

One of major highlight of 2015 was the announcement of Brillo (developed by Google), an OS used crafted for IoT. Along with this, Google also announced a language (known as Weave) that allows communication between devices and smartphones.

If we look at 2016, the IoT technology was planned to improve sectors like retail, electricity and air travel. The New York Power authority can leverage sensors to minimize unintended downtime and could extend transmission lines with efficiency. Besides, the network connection of retail stores can take advantage of digital world with wearable gadgets, smartphones, and computers. Airlines, airport operators and travel and aviation industry can improve travelers’ experience by linking to IoT devices.

Security Measures in IoT

IoT is opening the world to whole new way of smart communication and this is bound to get even better in the coming years. Keeping that in mind, it always important to think of issues related to security and privacy in IoT implementations. If we consider threats on IoT then attacks on IoT devices can be categorized in three categories like attacks on device, attacks on communications, attacks on maker of device.

To secure smartphones or other IoT devices from these attacks, some best practices need to be followed like issuance of digital ID certificates during manufacturing of such devices. Moreover, cloud and IoT environment where data is being exchanged between two endpoints should have encryption. The usage of SSL certificate can prevent threats in a large span in IoT technology, so quickly choose the right certificate as per your needs.

Conclusion

Internet of Things (IoT) is helping to grow the business prospects, making open doors for new wellsprings of income, more brilliant collaborations with clients, and more outstanding effectiveness. IoT will be a standout amongst the most problematic technology with comprehensive suggestions for organizations.

The genuine guarantee of IoT lies in the capacity to consolidate machine-produced information with information made by people for in-depth reports and conclusive appraisal. IoT will significantly helpful for each industry to build effective business models and find new opportunities.