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Internet of Things (IoT) – Connecting the unconnected to generate business value – A Primer

“We’re seeing data now, but in the future we’ll see an explosion of innovation around how to apply that data,” John Walicki, Watson IoT Developer Ecosystem Advocate at IBM

Technology is playing a big role in all domains for offering different services. Internet of Things (IoT) is the technology which can create a network by connecting almost every living, non-living thing. IoT is not a new concept but it’s getting popular in recent years and it may get functional in next 3 to 4 years. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), microservices and the internet. The convergence has helped tear down the silo walls between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), allowing unstructured machine-generated data to be analyzed for insights that will drive improvements.

The first Internet “device”—an IP–enabled toaster that could be turned on and off over the Internet—was featured at an Internet conference in 1990.

The toaster was connected to the internet via TCP/IP networking and had a single control, Simple Networking Management Protocol Management Information Base (SNMP MIB), which could turn the power of the toaster ‘on’. Once the command was given, it could switch on the power.

Over the next several years, other things were IP–enabled, including a soda machine at Carnegie Mellon University (US) and a coffee pot in the Trojan Room at the University of Cambridge (UK) which remained Internet–connected until 2001. From these beginnings, a robust field of research and development into “smart object networking” helped create the foundation for today’s Internet of Things.

KEVIN ASHTON used the term Internet of Things, for the first time in 1999 during a presentation on supply chain management. At that time he was an executive director at MIT’s Auto-ID center, where he contributed to the RFID applications into broader domains, which built the foundation for current IoT vision.


Predictions about connected devices

The past year has seen a rush in the industry to connect any every device. From trash cans to thermostats, technology vendors and device manufacturers are racing to launch the newest smart “thing.” But now, businesses are beginning to realize that the real value in IoT is not the ability to collect that data from devices, but rather analyzing that data to derive meaningful business insights. Various research firms over the past few years painting the Internet of Things as the next big industry-changing technology.  According a survey done by CRN, almost 85 percent of solution providers are currently deriving revenue from IoT solutions, with 49 percent saying IoT represents a meaningful or huge opportunity for them over the next 18 months.

  • Cisco – more than 24 billion Internet–connected objects by 2019
  • Morgan Stanley – 75 billion networked devices by 2020
  • Huawei – 100 billion IoT connections by 2025
  • McKinsey Global Institute – the financial impact of IoT on the global economy may be as much as $3.9 to $11.1 trillion by 2025

Right now, there is a lot of fragmentation in the IoT market, but hopefully the picture will become clearer as the rest of 2017 unfolds and IoT solutions will become more integrated and part of open ecosystems and platforms that foster interoperability and offer services based on combined data coming from multiple devices and sources.


-Prof. Yatin Jog

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