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Internet of Things: for business and beyond (1/2)

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

Last week I had the privilege to speak about ‘Internet of Things’ at the Dutch Sogeti headquarters in Vianen, as part on my thesis study at VINT. In this 20 minute presentation I presented my thoughts about the subject “Things” to our Communication professionals. The presentation is my insight in the world of IoT and where it is coming from. The title of the presentation was, “The need of Things”. And, wether you like it or not, we need connected objects to save money, energy and to reduce waste of our (for example) resources.

What’s in a name?
The internet of things is far more than just gadgets. What are we really talking about, and what is the context of the bigger picture? Cisco talks about Internet of Everything, General Electric about the Industrial web, Microsoft calls it the Web of the World, the Germans speak of Industry 4.0 and Bosch about the Internet of things and services. Still there is no end at the list.  Here a few more definitions:

  • Industry 4.0
  • Internet of Sensors and Actuators
  • Internet of Everything
  • Internet of Things & Services
  • Smarter Planet
  • Ambient Intelligence
  • Machine 2 Machine
  • Social web of Things
  • Industrial Internet
  • Web of the World

All these type of synonyms and definitions are marketing buzzwords from large companies, research institutes and independent organisations or governments. Companies like Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Intel, Ericsson and so on, who are trying to be an industrial driver of the phenomenon Internet of Things. Internet of Things? Yes, Internet of Things, as Kevin Ashton found it in 1999 at his job as Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble. When we combine these perspective we can generate (if you ask me) a definition that deals with what IoT is really about:

“Internet of Things (IoT) refer to the collective noun for the general idea to connect the physical to the digital via embedded technology. To receive data from all kind of smart objects from the past, the current and the future to communicate and sense or interact with their internal state or the external environment to simplify and facilitate human life, improve business processes, reduce costs and risks and raise efficiency.“

Things are not smart, the cloud is.
Internet of Things is about a very logical system, you can compare it with the principal of the website If This, Then That. When an object is triggered by his internal state or external environment it will react on that. A case about this principle you can read in a blog post we wrote before with the title: ‘Things’ aren’t smart, the cloud is.’ In this stage of ‘tagging’ things and objects, a necessarily question for all of us is: what type of objects and things should we connect to simplify and facilitate human life, improve business processes, reduce costs and risks and raise efficiency. What data will help you of your company. What insights do you need to create competitor advantage?

Is Internet of Things a new phenomenon?
No, it isn’t. Here is a great read from Alex Brisbourne on Forbes. A Blog post with as title: “The Internet Of Things Isn’t As New As It Seems”

And what do you think of Tesla when he told a reporter from Collier in 1926 the following?

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.  We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance.  Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone.  A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.” Read the full article: “When woman is boss’ here.

Part 1/2
In part two of this presentation online next week, I will go on with the ‘need’ of data and insights in our personal lives and for our business. Please share your thought in the comments.

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