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The IoT revisited

by Cornelius Weidmann on 2 June 2015

It's big, it's bold, it's reckless – and possibly the coolest thing since self-driving cars and drones. The Internet of Things is slowly but surely climbing into reality and consuming anything and everything it can get its hands onto.

What am I talking about?

Consider this. You are a human. You are the "thing" which is in control of this other "thing" which we call "the internet". The internet is this magical place. It contains "things" such as the youtubes, the soundclouds, the wikipedias, the social networks, the newses, the appses, and so on... That alone is already quite astounding and breathtaking – even more so when we know not everybody has access to the internet.

To put it short. The internet is quite impressive.

But hang on though... what about having even more "things"? Not more things as in more websites, more cool things to do, more entertainment. More actual things – more real "things".

Behold the Internet of Things

The IoT is the internet on steroids. They might as well have called it IoS (Internet on Steroids). Unfortunately that acronym was already taken. And because we all know what people mean when they say "thing" and "things", it seems very applicable to call it the Internet of Things. Cough... Nobody actually knows what it is. All we know is: "Things!"

Up until this point, interaction with the internet has been pretty straight forward. You need a device with a screen. You need some electricity, some WiFi or other means of connecting, and bang! Internet.

So where exactly in this picture does your fridge feature? Your car? Your front-door lights? Your TV? Your lawn mower? Your sprinkler? Your dog? Your plants?

Does your plant really need an internet connection? Seriously?

Probably not, although it could be interesting for the plant to tell you it needs more sunlight and that you gave it too much water yesterday. Consider something closer to reality:

You're driving your car. You have a serious accident with another car. You, as well as the other person, are incapable of moving and cannot reach your mobile phone. Assume you and the other person need medical attention as soon as possible. Wouldn't it be practical at this point for both of your cars to notify the nearest hospital that there has been a serious accident? The cars could send their precise location, the best route to get to the accident and even medical details on the passengers involved in the accident.

The IoT plans to bring together all types of different networks, especially networks which will be able to save lives and educate people. The plan is to establish a common "language" which will be spoken across these networks so that ultimately all kinds of "things" (yes, "things") can communicate and interact with each other.

Sounds awesome, but what about us?

Well, if you haven't yet noticed, these "things" won't need us to control them anymore. Remember how at the beginning I said we control the "thing"? Well, now we have more "things" and they don't need us to control them. They will be perfectly capable of "controlling" themselves. They will more than likely improve our lives and how we interact with the world around us, but it's sure exciting to see the internet doing some steroids.

I just hope the internet doesn't OD.