Today, the Internet--Tomorrow, the Internet of Things?
Computerworld (11/09/11) Lamont Wood
Industry analysts have long predicted the Internet of Things (IoT), in which anything with intelligence (such as roads and buildings) has an online presence and generates data that can be put to use. "In the coming years, anything that has an on-off switch will be on the network," says Cisco futurist Dave Evans. "We are seeing it across every industry," says Microsoft's Kevin Dallas, "and we will start to see the results in the next two to three years." In China, Premier Wen Jiabao has made the IoT a national goal, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Edmund W. Schuster. "The Chinese see it as fundamental part of a harmonious society, especially as it would make services easier to coordinate in dense cities," Schuster says. A key to the continued development of the IoT is the spread of Internet Protocol version 6, which Evans says offers enough potential Internet addresses to give everything on Earth its own address. However, he says the limiting factors are the cost, wireless bandwidth, business strategies, and the ability of humans to absorb that much information. In addition, IoT devices will need new user interfaces that must be easy to use, says Compass Intelligence's Kneko Burney. Privacy also will be a major issue.