Internet of Things

IoT Day 2014. Photo by Medialab Prado. (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Internet of things (IoT) has become a popular term lately. As going through the different stages of the internet experience, we are now facing a new evolution: the internet 4.0. a. k. a. the “Ambient Internet”.

The connected world is not a theory any more, as internet-powered devices are becoming a commodity in our daily lives. In this new hyper-connected world, we’ll experience the internet in a more organic and integrated way.

What exactly is the internet of things? According to the Collins Dictionary, it’s “a network of objects that are fitted with microchips and connected to the internet, enabling them to interact with each other and to be controlled remotely”.

Infographic: Internet of Things to Hit the Mainstream by 2020 | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista


The internet of things term wasn’t coined until 1999 by Kevin Ashton and it’s still a young concept, although there are some early examples, like the Carnegie Mellon’s coke machine:

These are the key milestones in the development of this technology.

  • In 2010, the term gained some popularity when Google Street View started to store data related to Wi-fi networks.
  • By the same time, China showed interest in implementing IoT by integrating it in their Five-Year-Plan.
  • In 2011, Gartner announced the Internet of Things was an emerging phenomenon.
  • In 2012, both the mainstream media and major conferences put their focus on this technology.
  • One year later, IDB issued a report estimating the value of the IoT industry in $1.9 trillion by 2020.

Source: IoT Analytics


Now that we know the IoT is a network of devices, we must understand how they communicate with each other. This new paradigm allows the devices on closed, private connections to interact and come together, overcoming any prior limitations.

One of the main challenges lying ahead is the creation of compatible standards for a smoother experience. Nevertheless, there have been some remarkable efforts like Hypercat and Microsoft’s IoT Central initiative.



One of the immediate consequences of the internet of things revolution will be the increase in big data generation. This will force the companies to update their processes and technology to take advantage of this influx of valuable information.

As a result, the big volumes of data will also require increased security and flexibility, making the cloud storage (public, private or hybrid) a safe and convenient solution.

New protocols (MQTT) and appropriate safety measures (like a proper configuration and a network segmentation) must be implemented to avoid security breaches.

Finally, it’s important to implement the adequate platforms for data analytics.


Artificial intelligence is to the internet of things what the brain is to the humans, its main goal is creating computer systems able to perform diverse tasks, like speech recognition, language translation, driving, etc.

Nowadays, AI is present in many industries like insurance, banking, consumer electronics and healthcare and it is expected to reach US$59.75 billion value by 2025.

Read Muhammed Subhani‘s answer to


As already stated, the upcoming of the internet of things will provide tonnes of useful data, and that brings a new challenge: how to process the information in an effective way.

Machine learning (defined as the construction and study of systems that can learn from data) provides a clear answer, as it can process and analyse billions of data points.

Moreover, the objective of this data processing is finding patterns and similarities to learn from them and make better decisions in the future.

At present, we are looking forward to a connected future, with a forecast of 20.4 billion connected devices in 2020.

Therefore, it’s not surprising the internet of things is already transforming how are industries and services function.

Here are some remarkable uses of the IoT in different fields:

  • Connected, sustainable and competitive machinery.

However, all these advancements are not free from challenges, like the lack of unified protocols and security vulnerabilities. Botnets and malware attacks have become a common problem in the connected devices and they must be taken care of.

In conclusion, we are on the verge of the fourth industrial revolution, and we’ll undoubtedly see many wonders in the coming years.

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