The Internet of Things represents a vision in which the Internet extends into the real world embracing everyday objects. Physical items are no longer disconnected from the virtual world, but can be controlled remotely and can act as physical access points to Internet services. An Internet of Things makes computing truly ubiquitous – a concept initially put forward by Mark Weiser in the early 1990s.
Today 50 billion devices are connected to the Internet. Most of us are connected through at least one device, but more than often not, through a number of devices. Now smartphones are being used to control certain functions for us, for example remotely setting your house temperature, activating your alarm, security surveillance. This is just the beginning.
Imagine if connections could be made intelligently with us. Your air-con switched on half an hour before you got home, because it knows it has been a hot day, or the heat comes on because it is a cold day, the fridge tells you what is off... This is the Internet of Things. It is not about things at all, but about connections and this has huge implications for how we communicate.
According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to unleash as much as $6.2 trillion in new global economic value annually by 2025. The firm also projects that 80 to 100 percent of all manufacturers will be using IoT applications by then, leading to potential economic impact of as much as $2.3 trillion for the global manufacturing industry alone.
Technology innovations across computing and communication infrastructures , as well as the things themselves, have converged — after all, the Internet now connects the car, the home appliance, and the office building.
One of the criticisms being levelled against the Internet of Things is that it is being developed rapidly without appropriate consideration of the profound security challenges involved and the regulatory changes that might be necessary. In particular, as the Internet of Things spreads widely, cyber attacks are likely to become an increasingly physical (rather than simply virtual) threat.