Writing for ZDNet, Ken Hess says the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just a fancy buzzword that describes how a refrigerator alerts its owner to buy a new bottle of milk or pick up some fresh vegetables for dinner.
“[The IoT] is so much more. How much more is only left to your imagination and to your budget. You can do as little or as much with IoT as you want,” opines Hess. “For example, if you operate food distribution business, you could install sensors in your trucks that send temperature, humidity, and dock-to-dock travel times back to your home office for analysis. You can also more accurately track the exact expense required to deliver each food product or container to the customer.”
Hess also notes that the IoT is not just about gathering data, but rather analyzing and leveraging information collected by various sensors. His favorite example? The Internet Coke Machine at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Computer Science department.
“One of the computer science students in 1982, David Nichols, had the original idea to poll the Coke machine so that he didn’t waste a trip to the machine to find it empty. He and a group of fellow students (Mike Kazar (Server Software), David Nichols (Documentation and User Software), John Zsarnay (Hardware), Ivor Durham (Finger interface) together to create this now famous connected vending machine,” writes Hess.
“From their labs, they could check the status of the sodas in the vending machine. I’m pretty sure they didn’t realize the international effect this would someday have when they devised their plan. Nor did they realize that anyone beyond themselves would care.”
Indeed, says Hess, serious IoT is coming to the world in a big way and has far reaching implications for big data, security and cloud computing.
“If you look at some of the projections for the next few years, you’ll have an idea of what I mean,” he continues. “Internet-connected cars, sensors on raw food products, sensors on packages of all kinds, data streaming in from the unlikeliest of places: restrooms, kitchens, televisions, personal mobile devices, cars, gasoline pumps, car washes, refigerators, vending machines, and SCADA systems for example will generate a lot of data.”
Hess concludes his article by stating that readers won’t have to keep their ear too close to the ground in 2014 to hear about the IoT.
“If you do, you’re just not listening. IoT isn’t a marketing term or tech buzzword, it’s a real thing. You should learn about it and how it can help your company learn more about itself,” he adds.