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What is the “Internet of Things”?

It’s been referred to as the “sixth sense”. The ability for devices to communicate and exchange information between themselves, and to change their behaviour based on our input or the input of others.

Just as smart phones and always connected devices have revolutionised the way we communicate, it is theorised that the enablement of “smart” devices and technology with the ability to communicate amongst themselves will produce a technology revolution.

Sound all a bit Si-fi? But say your toaster and coffee machine had smart technology built into them. It knew that you always like an 3 shot Americano in the morning at 7:15, and your toaster knows you have 2 slices, but always have to reheat it because your making coffee. So what if the coffee machine and the toaster could exchange information? You pop the toast down, but it doesn’t start toasting until the coffee machine is half way dispensing you morning brew? In fact it might hold the toast at the right temperature for you, and pop it out only when you get near the toaster? Smart!

Now let’s say that your faithful kitchen appliances could talk to others around the world exchanging information about how you like you coffee. You book a night at a premier inn and walk in for breakfast and guess what? The coffee machine greets you and is already set to dispense your 3 shot Americano! Then it tells you where the toaster is, and that your usual 2 slices will be ready to collect in 30 seconds.

How does it know all this? Well your data is being shared among the internet of things. Your smart phone has been telling your location all along. But wait a minute, you left your phone in the room. Don’t worry, the imbedded microchip in you sweater you purchased last week has just told the coffee machine you are coming, and it knew that the second you walked past the sensors in the front door.

“Good morning Mr Flux, how is the wife and family” the waiter says, “I know you have not been with us here before, but I thought you might like the table by the window and your just in time for the 8 o’clock news”. How did he know? – was it the toaster, was it the coffee machine, was it the TV or perhaps “Big Data” told the Internet of Things? And that’s another story!

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