MIST 7500: The Internet of Things – Executive Summary 3

In today’s environment, the Internet has become a focal source of economy, culture, and innovation. We as social beings have found it very advantageous to be connected to each other and to our environment. Our connection to the physical world is powered by what we call the Internet of Things.

The term the Internet of Things (IOT) was first used by Kevin Ashton, co-founder of the Auto-ID system from MIT. He was describing a system where physical items were connected to the Internet through the use of sensors. The concept started because of his work on Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags where he became interested in using this technology to help manage product supply chain.

Presently, aside from RFIDs, we have a lot more technologies that help connect our environment.

Advancements in mobile internet such as 3G, LTE, WiMax, etc., which are powering smartphones and tablets, are in the forefront.

Near Field Communications (NFC) is a set of standards to establish radio communication between devices by bringing them in close proximity. This builds upon RFIDs because communication can be two-way. We’ve seen this implemented in payment solutions such as Google Wallet and MasterCard Paypass where the user ‘waves’ an NFC device that stores credit card information near a payment terminal to complete a transaction. There’s also digital badges and calling cards which contain NFC prints that can send contact information directly to a person’s address book just by touching them together.

Internet connected household devices such as refrigerators that can give you the weather and display notes created remotely are already in the market. There’s also security devices that can be locked or unlocked anywhere, thermostats that ‘learn’ how you like the temperature during certain parts of the day and lights that can be controlled via the Internet.

Cisco has stated that by 2020 there will be about 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. The possibilities for applications are enormous once the Internet of Things really takes off. Our company needs to recognize this as a good opportunity for our products in the future. Mobile application development is relatively new and is a good area we can invest in. Ensuring that our software products are cross-platform, especially on mobile devices, is something we should continue doing and improving. Business process improvements through the actual use of internet-enabled devices internally is also something we should consider.

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