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“I’ll take a kilogram of the IoT please?” Said nobody ever.
Whilst the phrase has only come into popular vocabulary over the past few years it has been frequently attributed to Kevin Ashton of Proctor & Gamble as far back as 1999.
Over the weekend at a family thing a relative innocently asked “what is an IoT?” (pronounced ‘eeott’). How can I explain all this technology, the possibilities, the data? LoRaWan, BLE, sensors galore and don’t even get me started on what a cloud is.
No, not THAT kind of cloud!
I was fortunate to have attended the Intel Solutions Summit a few weeks back and one presentation tackled a similar question. It was much easier to explain what the IoT isn’t first rather than what ‘an IoT’ is. So with the help of Google dictionary.
What isn’t the IoT?
1) Vertical Market
“a market comprising all the potential purchasers in a particular occupation or industry.”
The IoT is already affecting all of us in millions of hidden ways from fitness trackers to our city transport links, as far as vertical markets go the whole population is too big to define as a specific market. The IoT is everywhere.
“the application of general rules to particular cases”
One thing is clear with the IoT, rules either don’t apply or haven’t been written yet. From the Dash button to agriculture there are definitely no general rules in place around what a typical IoT application is.
“an article or substance that is manufactured or refined for sale.”
Going back to my earlier point, “I’ll take a kilogram of the IoT please?” or “Can I upgrade to the new IoT 3 please?”. It simply isn’t a product refined to a point where it is a specific product or service to purchase as a specific entity.
What is the IoT?
“a plan or intention”
Connected devices aggregating data points in order to help us make better decisions.
“a person or thing that makes something possible.”
Technology has reached a performance/price point where adding localised sensors or distributed data collection to billions of devices is a commercial reality.
“a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something”
The possibilities surrounding the IoT are endless. Adding local intelligence to make anything smart is but an Arduino or Raspberry Pi away.
So what is the IoT? Certainly nothing tangible. The technology is available to all, the culture, appetite and drive for using to change the world is there to support it and with the added vigour behind STEM education becoming more of a focus, has there ever been a better time to go invent?