On my recent trip to Asia, I spoke about the connection between mobile and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) fields. Many technology analysts, especially when describing market opportunities, define these as two distinct categories, often using the IoT interchangeably with machine-to-machine (M2M). I think of mobile and the IoT not only as closely linked, but also as one fueling and often integrated with another.
The visions and various implementations of smart, communicating objects are not new. The term itself, The Internet of Things, has been is use for, at least, 15 years [Kevin Ashton, a cofounder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center, claims to have used the phrase first in 1999]
During the past several years the IoT has moved to the forefront and the hype has increased. Why? There are several converging factors that are fueling the rapid growth and attention to IoT. Among them:
- Smaller and cheaper sensors that are powered by long-lasting batteries,
- More ubiquitous, faster and cheaper networks,
- Emergence of IoT programing environments that tap into creativity of consumers and enterprise users, and
- Proliferation of cloud services that made computing resources and storage more accessible and affordable.
One of the key factors that fueled the recent interest in IoT (and hype around it) is the explosion of mobile devices.
Many IoT applications use mobile (and wearable) devices as the human interface, either to receive requests or to deliver insight from the machines being controlled and the data being collected. Furthermore, mobile devices can themselves participate in the IoT system as sensors to deliver information about location, locomotive activity, acceleration, noise, light, proximity, and even our mood. Accessibility and the proliferation of mobile devices has helped move IoT into our homes, gyms and cars.