The Internet of things: An Inside Perspective

By R. Richard Asselstine

A data revolution is underway: the Internet of Things is giving a “voice” to billions, even trillions, of objects – connecting them not only to the Internet but to each other. The potential consequences of this are complex and far from certain. Below, Richard Asselstine offers an insider’s perspective, outlining five key organisational implications that this “trillion-voiced world” will deliver.

It looked really cold – my annual dip in the lake. But how cold was the water? If I had a wearable computer on, I might possibly know, in that very instant, before jumping in, its sensor browser elegantly streaming real time temperature data. I would know before venturing out and jumping in. But did I want to know? Did I want the data? Or should I just take the plunge?

Good questions, because soon everything will be capable of generating data. Every thing will talk. It is estimated that we will be awash with 40 trillion gigabytes by 2020, up from 400 billion gigabytes of web enabled data in 2013.1

We did not know the potential of the internet then. We do now. What we don’t yet know is the potential multiplier effect of linking trillions of objects to the internet.

What is happening? What are the implications? In short, it is the Internet of Things. IoT. Internet of everything. Machine to machine. M2M, IoP. Take your pick. All of these current descriptors capturing a world where “things” that did not or could not previously have a “voice”, get one; where objects at the very edge of the network get connected – to the Internet, to each other. Billions, even trillions of voices. “Datafication” as Kukier and Mayer-Schoenberger refer to it. I offer some thoughts on this, but first some context.

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