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Internet of Things - Questions & Answers

The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) was first used in 1999 by British technology pioneer Kevin Ashton to describe a system in which objects in the physical world could be connected to the Internet by sensors.

Ashton coined the term to illustrate the power of connecting Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags used in corporate supply chains to the Internet in order to count and track goods without the need for human intervention.

Today, the Internet of Things has become a popular term for describing scenarios in which Internet connectivity and computing capability extend to a variety of objects, devices, sensors, and everyday items.

The Internet of Things engages a broad set of ideas that are complex and intertwined from different perspectives.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an important topic in technology industry, policy, and engineering circles and has become headline news in both the specialty press and the popular media. This technology is embodied in a wide spectrum of networked products, systems, and sensors, which take advantage of advancements in computing power, electronics miniaturization, and network interconnections to offer new capabilities not previously possible.

An abundance of conferences, reports, and news articles discuss and debate the prospective impact of the “IoT revolution”—from new market opportunities and business models to concerns about security, privacy, and technical interoperability.

Consumer products, durable goods, cars and trucks, industrial and utility components, sensors, and other everyday objects are being combined with Internet connectivity and powerful data analytic capabilities that can transform the way we work, live, and play.

Projections for the impact of IoT on the Internet and economy are impressive, with some anticipating as many as 100 billion connected IoT devices and a global economic impact of more than $11 trillion by 2025.

At the same time, however, the Internet of Things raises significant challenges that could stand in the way of realizing its potential benefits. News headlines about the hacking of Internet-connected devices, surveillance concerns, and privacy fears already have captured public attention. Technical challenges remain and new policy, legal and development challenges are emerging. 

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