There is no such ‘thing’ as the Internet of Things

 This blog originally appeared on Sogeti’s technology trendlab called ViNT – Vision Inspiration Navigating Trends


When we talk about the Internet of Things, we talk about connecting the physical to the digital. With the promise that when these connected objects generate data through embedded technology, it will deliver us insights we have never had before. These insights will be helping us as humans (self-tracking) and also companies and organisations to reduce waste, and raise efficiency. But is there already such a ‘thing’ as the Internet of Things?. An article on ReadWrite: 

“In its most basic sense, the Internet is just a network that connects any given device to any other given device. That connection alone, however, doesn’t mean that these gadgets will know how to talk to one another, much less that they’ll have anything to say”

“When devices can communicate, it’s generally via one or more “protocols,” or specialized languages for handling particular tasks. You’ve almost certainly encountered the most popular protocol on the Internet –  the HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. (Yes, that’s the “http://” you sometimes see leading off Web addresses in your browser.) HTTP allows computers of all sorts to send files, images and videos to one another across the Web.”

An question I would like to ask is: “Through what type of protocol do you think the Internet of things will communicate?”

When you ask me, the Internet of Things is about adding meaningful scenarios to our life’s. Based on the idea that the immediate pop-up technology era will end and be replaced with a new wave of calm technology, where ‘things’ add meaning to our lives and where ‘things’ also makes our life more easy by being contextual. When I look at examples like Nest, the Learning Thermostat, Belkin’s WeMO and platforms like ThingWorx where you can connect revolutionary sensors devices together on a application development platform, we are on the right track.

“The protocol issue, by contrast, is a direct obstacle to the Internet of Things, because a bunch of siloed devices talking only to the companies that own them does not an Internet make. (Though maybe you’d end up with the CompuServe of Things. Catchy, no?)”

We are building an interconnected planet. This interconnected platform will support our lives in a (hopefully) positive way. But, a large part of me is agreeing with the writer of the article on ReadWrite. We are not where we want to be. An interconnected world is for a big part still a vision and not a reality. How long will it take? Maybe not as long as you think… When we look at this ‘connected devices revolution’, it reminds me of the very fast adoption of smartphones.  Internet of Things is coming, very much like the iPhone was a breaktrough for the adoption of smartphones.

This can result in different shapes for the internet of things:

“Ultimately, the Internet of Things will take one of two shapes. If present trends continue, data to and from devices will largely be trapped within centralized silos, a la the home automation example above. Eventually, companies and vendors will interconnect those silos, rendering protocol differences all but irrelevant. And then economic incentives start to line up, too.”

We are going to have internetS! of things. But is that what we should aim for?

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