Original article by Julio Hartstein – redacted
When reviewing the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT), there are a few basic concepts that need to be understood. This raises the following points:
- What is the Internet of Things?
- What is the brief history behind the IoT?
You can think of IoT as “the next phase” of the internet. Essentially, everyday items – for example, refrigerators – will have network connectivity, which allows them to send and receive data. It basically means that devices will be connected to each other and can communicate with each other.
You can typically view this development in one of two ways:
- This is great; it will fundamentally change the way we live and work!
- This is terrifying; there are security concerns and our devices will take over the world!
Apart from the fact that it will take time for implementation and adoption, there are still some other concerns. One of the concerns, as mentioned above, is around security and a fear of the unknown. This again will take some testing, some improvements and time before people trust in the technology.
When we start to look into the IoT, we also take a look at the history behind the IoT. You can technically trace ideas about the IoT back to 1932, when Jay Nash wrote this in Spectatoritis:
“Within our grasp is the leisure of the Greek citizen, made possible by our mechanical slaves, which far outnumber his twelve to fifteen per free man … As we step into a room, at the touch of a button a dozen light our way. Another slave sits twenty-four hours a day at our thermostat, regulating the heat of our home. Another sits night and day at our automatic refrigerator …”
Nash understood the potential of technology as well as the effect on and capabilities of household objects, as did the creators of Dick Tracy, who gave him the two-way wrist radio in 1946. The barcode – one of the primary ways that a household object “talks” to a network – was invented just three years later, in 1949 (although it didn’t gain popularity until later, when IBM tied it to supermarkets).
In short: The core ideas behind IoT have been around for decades.
Some take it back even further, noting the 1832 invention of the electromagnetic telegraph as well.
Six years before Nash’s quote, Nikola Tesla told Collier’s Magazine the following:
“When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole … and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared to our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”
Tesla was quite far ahead of his time. It’s no wonder one of modern day’s most innovative companies is named after him, right?