Beyond the IoT, long live the Internet of Everything!
The Internet of Things is dead, long live the Internet of Everything! This could be the summary of the rapid evolution that the automation of connected devices has gone through in recent years. The IoT, defined by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton in 1999 as “a global network of objects connected to radio-frequency identification” is indeed slowly reinventing itself, connecting the physical and digital domains and expanding its “intelligence”. That’s why today we tend to use, more correctly, the term Internet of Everything, meaning by it the “intelligent connection of people, processes, data, and things“.
Hence, no longer only Machine2Machine, automation, connected objects and specific tasks, but a real, global intelligent network, “to manage and control the grid and support the incredible growth rate of available connections“, in the words of the president of Cisco John Chambers.
The Internet and other communication devices such as smartphones already connect humans, but cars, smart meters and healthcare devices are also becoming increasingly connected. Recent forecasts show that for every person there will be at least 2, maybe even 6 connected “things” by 2020: therefore the possibilities of connection between all these elements are expanded exponentially. The value is not created by the connection itself or by the simple number of connections: it is created by the level of interconnectivity we can reach with these connections.
(image by iot-analytics.com)
Some examples: today in Barcelona it is already possible – via sensors distributed throughout the urban area – to get key information for intelligent management of water resources, urban lighting, waste, parking and energy in order to save money and resources. Smart parking spaces detect the presence of cars and notify it to the drivers on their smartphone apps, sensors in garbage containers track rubbish levels and send real-time updates to operators of the garbage trucks, so that they can optimize routes and productivity. A remote irrigation control system for the city’s green quantifies the input and output of water at a specific time, compares them with the plants’ water needs and brings all that together with data on rainwater, evaporation and drainage. These sensors are not simply connected: all of them are part of an ecosystem, a smart network in which all the devices are now able to make meaningful communication with each other without the restrictions of a “central brain”.
IoE is not just about companies or municipalities, it also impacts on our day-by-day lives: today we are able to connect our smart devices and apps together simply by using online tools, such as IFTTT or Zapier. For example we can use the IFTTT recipes to change the colors of our Philips Hue connected lightbulbs when we receive a mail or when the weather changes or when it’s a certain time. We can tell our Netatmo Thermostat to switch on when we are arriving home (or set home temperature to a certain value whenever we are away) using the GPS of our smartphone, or we can let it change ignition times and intensities independently, depending on the climate and our habits (previously saved and outlined as patterns of behavior). Wanna know more? Check out the best 110 IFTTT recipes listed by Pcmag.com.
As mentioned earlier in this post, physical and digital domains slowly come together and the IoE is the smart network where they “live”. In indoona we created a really encouraging environment that nurtures development for IoE applications. Our apps, as well as our partners’ ones, manage Web services and smart objects through the easiest and more across-the-board language possible, the chat.
As pointed out, the Internet of Everything is more than just connecting devices, is more than home automation. It’s a form of “collaboration” between devices and services that aims at simplifying our life. It works across web, homes, offices, factories and vehicles to let people “really” use Internet. Not to be used. Our bet is to make life easier: a common language is needed to connect people, devices and services. And we are happy to do our part to make this happen.