The Internet of Things (IoT) is a computing concept coined originally in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, co-founder and executive director of the Auto-ID Centre at MIT. Ashton mentioned it in a presentation made to Procter & Gamble and in essence, the ‘Internet of Things’ describes a time in the future where objects, often considered as everyday items will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices. To make this happen we shall see the proliferation of what is known as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as the method of communication, although IoT may also include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes.
As an example of an everyday much used household item; a smart refrigerator would have the capability to read RFID tags on grocery items as they are put inside, then look up those tags via the Internet to identify milk, eggs, butter, and those four frozen pizzas you just bought. The fridge tracks usage, then alerts owners when they are running out of groceries, or need more food. (The fridge can tap into your calendar). The refrigerator could even place a grocery order automatically. Similarly, that smart fridge could warn about products nearing (or past) their expiration dates.
Research suggests that this is possible within the next couple of decades. All of this is quite significant as it will affect almost everyone and the hope is that it will make everyday tasks much easier, efficient and streamlined. This info-graphic explores the growth of this phenomenon, what it means for the future and also the possible barriers to its effectiveness.