The Internet of Thingies

By Dr. John Bates

Dr. John Bates describes how the concept of The Internet of Things has come into being and how exactly technology has managed to get to this stage, and explores the future possibilities this could bring.


What on earth is the Internet of things/thingies?

People often come up to me in the street and say, “John, what is this Internet of Thingies? Please be a good chap and explain it to me.” Or, they might ask, “Is absolutely everything connected and how can we possibly keep an eye on it all now?” They may even suggest, “I’m not sure I want to be monitored or probed, so back off.” And so I do. Promptly.

On a more serious note, the idea of the Internet of Things has been talked about for a few years now, but more recently it has come to the fore as technology has become more capable, the cost of sensors and connectivity has dropped, or viable use-cases have started to become reality.

The Internet of Things, put simply, describes a concept where everyday objects and devices are connected to the Internet – most likely wirelessly – and communicate at some intelligent level.

In 2008, the number of things connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people on earth (6.7 billion). By 2020, it is estimated that there will be 50 billion things connected. And the business behind the Internet of Things is expected to grow by more than $5 trillion over the next six years, according to market research firm, International Data Corporation (IDC)1.

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