What is the ‘Internet of Things’?

It is a term that has been popping up more and more lately in fields as diverse as medicine, gaming and home design yet from the name alone it’s not exactly clear what the ‘Internet of Things’ is. 

In a nut shell the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is the new landscape of the internet where everything is or will be connected to it in some way. This includes phones, games consoles, home appliances and security…you name it, someone either has or is in the process of connecting it to the internet in an attempt to make our lives easier or allow access to useful data that we haven’t been able to access previously. 

If you still can’t quite wrap your head around the concept the video below should provide some answers.

Opinion on the idea of the IoT is currently divided as, on one hand, many claim it is the future of a connected human race whilst others are more pessimistic suggesting that it won’t be of any overall benefit and may even be dangerous by allowing the possibility for hackers/criminals etc. to manipulate sensitive information. 

This next video is from a TED talk given in late 2012 by Dr. John Barrett in which he outlines many of the potential benefits of a connected world including remote health monitoring and gaming that interacts with our own reality. In the spirit of objectivity Dr Barrett also explains some of the more negative outcomes that will likely occur including a scenario where insurance companies may request permanent access to your health data so that in the event of injury or illness they can automatically increase your premium in the line with the added risk you now pose. 

As Dr. Barrett suggests, regardless of the positives or negatives, the IoT seems to be the way technology is heading and it will bring about massive technological and social change with regards to the way products are designed as well as privacy laws and rights.

If you’re not put off by the negative aspects of the IoT then maybe head over to postscapes.com as for the last three years they have run the Internet of Things Awards in which products and ideas which fall into certain categories are given awards, such as: best connected body product, best smart city application and best networked art project. Some of the 2013 winners include inFORM which has been featured on this blog recently, Spike Jonze’s film Her and Bitlock, a keyless lock that facilitates community bike sharing. 

Hopefully this articles will have cleared up any misunderstanding and if you have you own thoughts on the subject or know of any IoT style projects currently in the works that the world should see then leave a comment below.