The Internet of Things is changing the reality of web-connected devices. Some would argue that the world isn’t ready for the IoT, but it is already here. What really constitutes the Internet of Things? InfoWorld suggests that a lot of what the public sees as the Internet of Things shouldn’t be classified as IoT devices. For the sake of clarity we need a more substantial definition for this revolutionary phenomenon.
There are three primary categories of what the public perceives to be IoT devices:
Machine-to-Machine: Efficiency to the Max.
We live in the information age, and machines have to communicate with each other in order to function properly. This is especially important for medical, industrial, and office-operational equipment. This is called machine-to-machine communication (M2M). This makes sharing information between systems easy. In the medical field patient variables, like heart rate or temperatures, can be shared instantaneously between Hospitals if need be.
Should M2M technology be considered part of the Internet of Things? Arguably not. In terms of principle, M2M technology has not been changed by the IoT, but it has been made more affordable and readily available. According to Bernie Anger of General Electric, the spread of M2M technology can be attributed to several changes:
Smart Systems and Bluetooth
Another technology that’s been around for a while, but has not necessarily been changed by the IoT, is what can be called a “smart system.” These communication systems are generally used for diagnostics or repairs, an example is oil rig engineers using iPads while in the field to communicate with home base via a satellite signal.
That seems a lot like Bluetooth technology, doesn’t it? Bluetooth uses a device to communicate with another via a wireless connection, not unlike the above situation. Consumer-grade devices are basically just using this same technology (sort of like an IoT product) for new and improved purposes. It’s as simple as innovation versus rebranding. Innovation is taking something old and using it for new purposes, which doesn’t necessarily qualify as Internet of Things worthy.
The Internet of Things is simply complicated.
One of the most important characteristics of the Internet of Things is that it’s random and prone to change. It’s volatile and chaotic by its very nature. All of these ad hoc Internet of Things devices are designed for one function, and when so many different devices are involved, the situation quickly becomes messy and complicated. While some of this technology has the ability to communicate with other systems, some don’t. The chief difference between these newer devices and older ones is that they are connected in a different manner than the older ones.
The main idea behind the Internet of Things, for most companies, is that they want to create an environment where their new technology can thrive. They also want the ability to control all of these devices from one central location. One example of this is Google Chromecast. Most major technology companies want to be on the leading edge of innovation for the Internet of Things era.
So, if none of these devices fall under the category of “Internet of Things,” what does that mean for this new phenomenon? Basically, the IoT is a mismatched group of technologies being used for new and improved things, given a title which doesn’t really apply to them. If your business is looking to succeed in this new era of mobile technology, remember the differences between these three groups of devices, and you’ll surely be able to find your own definition for the Internet of Things. What are your thoughts on these new tech trends? Let us know in the comments.