The world that we live in is incredibly more developed than the world that our grandparents or even our parents grew up in. Technology continues to evolve. To think that rotary dial phones were the norm not too many decades ago, and today’s children barely understand what it even is. Now just about everyone around the world can be connected with the touch of a finger to a button or screen. And one of the major reasons for this increase in connectivity is the Internet.
The rapid development of the Internet
The idea of the Internet, let alone the Internet itself is a relatively new idea, as far as the collective lifespan of humanity and the earth are concerned. While it has been around for decades, always developing and morphing into something new, the fact that it has changed so much just in those few decades is quite astounding. It has been quite the progression.
There were the first enormous computers that got connected, and then limited dial up connections in bulky desktops, until the Internet was finally in nearly every home and business. From there we had faster online access, laptops, and wifi. Now, we can carry the Internet around in our pockets on our smart phones. But you would be mistaken if you think that we have reached the end of the Internet’s capabilities. Now, we are seeing the growth of the Internet of Things.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: the Internet being connected to physical objects that have an electrical switch but that have not previously been known to have an Internet connection. Depending on your level of technological savviness, perhaps that sounds like quite a big next step. But the Internet of Things, or IoT, has already begun to creep into what we understand to be normal without us really noticing. Devices that track your movement and activity levels, to send to an app for you to keep track of your health and fitness, are the perfect example of a booming trend that has helped introduce us to this concept of connecting more things than ever. The term has existed for over a decade, but it is recently growing in use and understanding, as more things become connected.
Widespread application for IoT
As you might imagine, the possibilities for connecting so many things are endless. Practically any object with a switch could have the capacity to send and receive data. No matter how involved you are with technology, if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, that does sound like a concept out of a science fiction film or book. But it is real, and the future is clearly happening now. One analyst firm predicts that in less than five years, more than 26 billion devices that will be connected.
In fact already in 2011, there were 12 million RFID tags sold. RFID tags, or radio frequency identification tags, are those that employ the use electromagnetic fields for tracking purposes. It is estimated that by 2021, the number of RFID tags sold will number closer to 209 billion as the IoT grows more successful and more widespread. Current areas that this type of technology is already being used and growing in use is in material handling and packaging, engineering design, and telecommunications, to name just a few.
This world and the people populating it never cease to be amazing. We are still discovering just what our minds are capable of. And chances are, we will be seeing a lot more developments in the very near future that will seem to confirm we have entered the age that science fiction always told us about.