Tomorrow's "Internet of Things": What's it all about?

Following on the Internet of servers and the Internet of individuals, the "Internet of Things" (or IOT) will be the reality that we build together.

In this first section, we'll simply touch on a few ideas surrounding a concept that, for many, has a variety of interpretations.

To date and according to the translated French-language version of IOT's Wikipedia entry: "There is no standard, common definition of IOT." However, Wikipedia does make the following suggestion:

"A network of networks that, through standardised and unified electronic identification systems and wireless mobile devices, allows for the direct, unambiguous identification of digital entities and physical objects, thus making it possible to retrieve, store, transfer and treat the related data, with no discontinuity between the physical and virtual worlds."

Depending on the expert you ask, you can hear about several very different versions of this "new Internet":

  • The sociologist will warn you about the risks relating to your privacy and our fears of losing control over "things", referring to Orwell's 1984 or Terminator, depending on their age
  • The regulator will evoke norms and standards like EPCGlobal, which has offered to manage IOT
  • Don't worry, the sustainable development and Cloud Computing experts have their own ideas, too

To speak more concretely, let's imagine a world in which a large number of things that surround us are "autonomous", because they have:

  • a name: a tag with a unique code,
  • a memory: to store everything that they cannot obtain immediately from the net,
  • a means of communication: mobile and energy-efficient, if possible,
  • sensors: senses, in order to interact with their environment,
  • acquired or innate behaviours: to act according to a logic, an objective given by its owner.
    And, of course, like everything else on Earth, these things must have an electronic existence on the network of networks.

Now let's try to place ourselves in a future world where this "Internet of Things" is integrated into daily life:

  • No need to go to the grocery store to buy everyday products (butter, milk, tissues, etc.), your home "senses" all items present, and has more delivered when their number falls below the threshold you've set.
  • Lina is a "fashion ambassador". Her taste in clothing is tracked on the web, and at trendy events her friends point their mobile phones towards her and order items from her outfit. It's good business for Lina, who receives a percentage of the sale.
  • Luke wants to throw out an old thing he's been using as a coaster at his bar. He reads its name and related file in the Internet of Things: it's an iPad!!! The details for a waste removal network appear, as well as a community of collectors who are pre-registered to buy the object. A good way to get a deal on the newly redundant item.

All this may seem like it's from science fiction, and yet... the fundamentals are already here: technology, business and use.
In the B2B field, we can already see major players in the industry hovering around certain projects, which will be treated in a later post.
The next instalment:
Tomorrow's "Internet of Things": an ecosystem/infrastructure in motion

Charles Beuzit

Charles Beuzit is a Marketing Manager at Orange Applications for Business. He works on a subpart of the Marketing Portfolio : Connected Objects, Machine-to-Machine & Internet of Things.

Digital humanist and passionate about new technologies and usage with a business focus, he often shares is knowledge and discovery on social networks ( twitter, scoop-it, Linkedin).