What is the "Internet of Things" ?

What is the "Internet of Things" ?

The Internet of Things is a product design megatrend that is impacting how both new and old companies innovate and turn designs into the next breakthrough. Yet for many electronic product companies on the outside looking in at the potential of the IoT market, one lingering question remains: What exactly is the “Internet of Things”?

If you’re still confused about what the “Internet of Things” actually means and why you should care then you’re hardly alone. In fact, nearly half (43%) of the manufacturing executives polled by LNS Research said they don’t know anything about the IoT market. What’s more, only 10% say they’ve started to invest in IoT technologies.

The concept of “Internet of Things” dates back almost a century. In 1926, Nikola Tesla said, “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 with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

As a modern working definition, Internet of Things is the advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services over a variety of protocols, domains, and applications. “Things”, in IoT, can refer to a broad array of devices, such as heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, automobiles with built-in sensors or field operation devices that assist fire fighters in search and rescue. The interconnection of these embedded devices will usher in omnipresent automation in nearly all fields.

As innovative product designers dream up countless ways to exploit the inherent connectivity that will be offered in intelligent products, you can bet your sensor-covered shorts that an endless universe of new devices will explode upon the market. And as user-oriented computing expands, so will the Internet of Things market.



From a product design perspective, the opportunity is big and the possibilities are endless. Sensors embedded in everything from buildings to vehicles to clothing are solving real life problems. An office that tells you the lights are on, a bike (or a dog) quietly alerts you that it's been stolen with its location, dance aerobics shoes that can let you know when they’re worn out, and a couch could holler, belch or burp depending upon your downloadable alert tone when it has swallowed your keys.

Imagine how much easier Pee-Wee Herman’s quest to find his stolen bike would have been with an IoT solution. In the next wave of IoT development, we’ll see the aggregation of connected devices propagated into truly smart homes, smart factories, smart grids and smart cities.

And while Tesla’s vision for a “perfectly applied” wireless technology and “simple” tools has not as of yet proven to be totally accurate; there’s no doubt that the IoT market has become a viable reality with commercially successful deployments in several markets, ranging from consumer electronics and fitness wearables to medical devices.

The IoT market will impact every aspect of our lives, and transform how we interact with both physical and digital worlds. From virtual reality to self-driving cars to wearable devices, the opportunities are endless. We are entering a quantified world, so hold on to your IoT hat.

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  • Chris V

    Our world is going to be a hacker's heaven :)

  • Seth Woodard

    Information is today's currency. Its all about control and profit.

  • Ed Pritchard

    To all those people saying its dangerous and should not happen, I just wanna say you share your whole life on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and that doesn't bother you but when "things" do it you got a problem. IOT is not just a concept, there are many companies working on it to make it possible. Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are the future and nobody can stop it.

  • Aaron Misner

    Big Data and the Internet of Things will help big tech companies to make more money

  • John Doe

    Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the biggest buzzword of these days. It is rapidly taking a transformation from concept to reality. By 2020, more than 20 billion devices will be interconnected, paving way for more IoT. This is super exciting !!!

  • Conor Kramer

    Can we first please change the wireless frequencies to be biocompatible, please? Our biological cells communicate with light and radiation too, and all these signals could be disrupting that.

  • David Johnson

    The internet of things is going to throw us back to the times where we don't have computers, where we rely on things. The Internet would be appliances.

  • Chris R

    Technology is moving so fast... I remember in the early 90’s when I was hyped about coloured gaming being released for the game boy.

  • James Nordblom

    Facebook was the first step to get your private data, which people are so happy about, but that's not enough. They need to know everything about you and your belongings, no data is irrelevant, embrace the bright future, guys!

  • Vishal Mehta

    Good article !! What might we create if we combine artificial intelligence and internet of things?

  • Jordi T

    I don't need an app to tell me if my sleep was good or not. I can tell that by how I feel in the morning.

  • Richard Benoit

    Very Interesting. But why do I feel that we are going to become puppets and technology our master. What a scary world !!

  • Steve Haigh

    Brilliant article much appreciated.

  • Kamran Bashir

    Nice explanation

  • Patrick Vargas

    In this century information is power so they want to gather more information

  • Kyle Mitchell

    Very nice presentation...Insightful indeed :)

  • Vicky Davis

    On the surface this looks really cool. But don't be fooled! All of that data about your life can be hacked into.

  • Joshua

    In the past, we couldn't imagine that we can pay money for buying something using the internet. Now, it has become a reality.. but so many people don't like the idea and prefer to buy things with some physical interaction not electronically !! IoT is a nice idea, useful and will make our life better.. but we are concerned about security & privacy more than feeling a better life with a 1% possibility having a threaten on privacy......

  • Sofia Hernandez

    Awesome ! You guys are just afraid of change !

  • Eli Crowley

    I've always wondered to myself, what if the technology we have today was already perfected decades ago and they are only just now deciding to share.

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John Papageorge

Tech Expert

John is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Omnicell. He is a results-driven consultant who has worked with some of the biggest names in technology, including Oracle, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, and IBM, to improve their marketing and lead generation strategies. John holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

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