The IoT is cited as being one of the most crucial drivers of our technological future, often being mentioned in the same breath as smart cities, driverless cars and improved healthcare. Chances are you know what it is and how it works – you may even be about to embark on your own IoT project, but here’s a few things we bet you didn’t know…
If you thought the IoT is a very recent technology, you’d be wrong. The first IoT device was connected to the internet over a decade before the first internet browser was launched.
The IoT actually started with a humble Coke machine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that could report its contents through a network. Though it’s primitive by today’s standards, it holds a unique distinction: it was, as far as anyone knows, the world’s first IoT device.
The motivation for the start of this ground-breaking leap in technology came from David Nichols, graduate student in Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science department who wanted to know whether a nearby vending machine had his favourite drink, and more importantly, was it cold?
To address this pressing issue, David connected sensors in the machine to the internet and provided a text-based interface so that anyone with the vending machines internet address could, from anywhere in the world, know the machine’s contents and temperature.
While it sounds somewhat trivial, this application of the IoT illustrates the basic principle of the IoT.
2. Powerless IoT devices are now in development
One of the biggest limitations of the IoT is that the sensors required to collect data and deliver it via the internet require electricity. This either means that IoT deployments must either have a wired connection to a power source (somewhat defeating the purpose) or require occasional battery replacements.
Scientists, however, are making great strides in developing ‘powerless’ IoT sensors which do not require mains electricity or batteries to function. Instead, these sensors are powered by light, heat, vibrations or even radio frequencies.
3. It’s predicted that 10.2 million units of smart clothing will ship by 2020.
Wearables are about to take on a whole new meaning as technology meets fashion to deliver smart clothing. The idea of clothing with sensors isn’t brand new, but until now, it’s been manufactured in small batches for very niche purposes – like professional sports.
This all sounds super exciting, but what’s the point, I hear you cry? Well here are just a few real-world possibilities:
4. More IoT devices than people have been connected to the internet since 2008
According to Cisco IBSG report, the number of devices connected to the internet exceeded the number of people connected in 2008, and now it isn’t even close. Current estimates are that there are around 10 billion devices connected in 2018 and that will at least double by 2020.
5. That’s an awful lot of devices requiring an IP address – but don’t panic, we won’t run out!
If you have been wondering if there would be enough IP addresses for the increasing number of connected devices in the market, let us reassure you that it’s the last of the concerns faced by IoT. With the onset of the IPV6, we have enough IP addresses in hand to assign over 100 distinct IP addresses to each atom that makes up the planet.
For more amazing facts, check out our recent blog to find out how the IoT is set to revolutionise healthcare.