The Internet of Things

What is the Internet of Things?

In 1999 Kevin Ashton, then at P&G, coined the term ‘Internet of Things’. It was a new term, but not a new operation. It was known as pervasive computing, ubicomp, and ambient intelligence. The 90s database storage was too expensive. It is the Cloud, operational from 2000s, that enables #IoT.

Buildings, cars, consumer products, and people become information spaces. We were entering a land where the environment became the interface, where we must learn anew how to make sense. Making sense is the ability to read data as data and not noise. Still this is the challenge we face today. 

Why would we want an Internet of Things? We want it because it can offer us the best possible feedback on physical and mental health, the best possible resource allocation based on real time monitoring, best possible decision making on mobility patterns and the best possible alignments of local providers with global potential. Operationally this means that we can define Internet of Things as the seamless flow between the BAN (body area network): wearables, LAN (local area network): smart home, WAN (wide area network): connected car, and VWAN (very wide area network): the smart city. Key to this flow is having control of the data. That is why Google is offering a Glass and a Lens so you can synchronize your health data into the NEST and the Google Car throughout the smart city applications of The idea is that in consumer applications and services you never have to leave the Google Cloud. The products are gateways linking up the networks.

Internet of Things is a new beginning. In our current architectures we are used to dealing with three groups of actors: citizens/end-users; industry/subject matter experts (SMEs); and those involved in governance/legal matters. These all are characterized by certain qualities. In our current models and architectures we build from and with these actors as entities in mind. The data flow of IoT will bring forth new entities consisting of different qualities taken from the former three groups diminishing the power of the traditional entities.

Council position text : Europe's IoT

The Internet of Things Council defines Europe’s involvement in the smart technology of tomorrow, its effect on everyday life and the development of a new world order

Europe can take pride in having coined the phrase ‘internet of things’ (IoT), for making a reference to it in the first public sector official document, and for pointing the way towards a more competitive, inclusive and sustainable IoT-driven economy. Over the period of 2007-2012, the EU invested around €100m in IoT collaborative projects, worked closely with EU member states to encourage and create synergy with national initiatives and managed a group of about 40 international experts from civil society, private sector, academia, governments and international organisations to devise an ambitious EU policy covering identification, architectures, data protection and privacy, ethics, security and standards.

However, in only three years the geostrategic IoT landscape has changed profoundly with the emergence of players from many worldwide countries, and the increasing globalisation of the key issues. Today the IoT is the main force driving change in industries and society. This explains why the European Commission and EU member states are committed to developing strategies to support experiments and the deployment of IoT technologies and services.

Yet the large number of national initiatives, if not properly co-ordinated around a shared vision and smart objectives, might degenerate into a fragmentation of the EU market, thus jeopardising the effective and sustainable implementation of the digital single market, and an ossification of industrial silos/applications.

See the pdf published in Pan European Networks, PEN: Government Issue 18

Pan European Networks: Government has been designed specifically, with its extensive distribution, to make sure that the ‘people in the know’ remain ‘in the know’.