The idea of connecting everyday objects and devices, which we now call the Internet of Things (IoT), has fascinated us for more than 50 years, even though it didn’t have that name back then. Way back in the 1940s, our great-grandfathers were reading Dick Tracy comics and getting excited about his cool two-way radio watch. And believe it or not, in 1989, some clever researchers showed off a toaster that could be turned on and off using a fancy TCP/IP network. They were onto something big, even before the term “IoT” became popular.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about connecting everyday objects, or “things,” to the Internet so they can talk to each other. These things can be anything from your regular household items to fancy industrial tools. Right now, there are already over 16 billion IoT devices out there, and experts think that number will jump to a whopping 31 billion by 2025. That’s a whole lot of stuff getting connected and sharing data! British technology pioneer, Kevin Ashton puts his own spin of the definition of IoT:

“What the Internet of Things is really about is information technology that can gather its own information. Often what it does with that information is not tell a human being something, it [just] does something.”

For a more formal meaning, we can turn to International Data Corporation which defines an IoT solution as:

“A network of uniquely identifiable endpoints or things that communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity—whether locally or globally. IoT brings meaning to the concept of ubiquitous connectivity for businesses, governments, and consumers with its innate management, monitoring, and analytics.”


Back in the 1980s, a group of computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh came up with what could arguably be considered the first-ever IoT device: a networked Coke machine. These clever geeks designed a processor board that could detect when someone bought a Coke and when the machine’s last bottle in any of its dispensing columns was purchased. Through the ARPANET, which was the early version of the Internet, users could connect to the machine and check if it had any Cokes available. They even coded some nifty logic to determine if the beverages were chilled to their liking. However, it’s worth noting that during that time, the ARPANET was only connected to a limited number of computers, mostly at universities and research institutions in the United States. Fast forward to 1999, and the term “Internet of Things” was officially coined. Just a year later, in 2000, LG Electronics made a groundbreaking move by introducing their Internet-connected smart refrigerator, further pushing the boundaries of IoT innovation. The original voice of Crash Bandicoot, Brendan O’Brien once said:

“If you think that the internet has changed your life, think again. The Internet of Things is about to change it all over again!”


IoT became a reality thanks to the widespread availability of microprocessor chips and operating systems like Linux and Android, which could be seamlessly integrated into various “things.” These smart devices play a crucial role in the IoT ecosystem as they gather data from embedded sensors and transmit it over the Internet. This data is then stored, processed, and delivered through end-user applications and dashboards.


One remarkable aspect of IoT is its ability to capture and process massive amounts of data from diverse locations. This distributed nature of IoT applications results in the collection and collation of vast quantities of information. That’s where the cloud comes in and proves its immense value. The cloud provides a scalable and efficient infrastructure for storing and analysing this extensive IoT-generated data, enabling seamless access and utilisation across different devices and applications. In short, the cloud plays a vital role in making the IoT ecosystem truly functional and useful.


From Smart Retail to Smart Banking, Smart Agriculture, Smart Home, and Smart City — you’ll find IoT applications everywhere these days. It’s no longer a surprise to see everyday items, whether personal, household, business, healthcare, automotive, agricultural, or industrial, coming with built-in Internet features. Businesses have eagerly jumped on the IoT bandwagon, using it to keep tabs on their inventory, track shipments, and deliver goods right to customers’ doors. IoT is making waves in factories, where it helps control production lines, and in agriculture, where it automates irrigation systems and keeps an eye on livestock health. And let’s not forget the consumer side of things! You’ve probably encountered IoT-enabled products firsthand, like smart dishwashers, fridges, TVs, watches, cars, thermostats, fitness gadgets, and more. IoT has truly transformed our lives across industries, and it’s just getting started! Technology writer Jared Newman says:

“And just like any company that blissfully ignored the Internet at the turn of the century, the ones that dismiss the Internet of Things risk getting left behind.”


Cool advancements in different technologies have made it totally doable to bring IoT into our lives:

  • Affordable and efficient sensors: Sensor tech has become cheaper and better, so now more manufacturers can hop on the IoT train. These sensors help collect data from the environment and make smart features possible.
  • Easy-peasy connectivity: We’ve got loads of internet protocols that make it super simple to connect sensors to the cloud and other IoT devices. That means smooth data transfer and real-time communication between devices.
  • Cloud computing to the rescue: Cloud platforms are everywhere now, giving businesses and regular folks easy access to scalable infrastructure. You don’t have to worry about managing all the hardware – just tap into the cloud for storage, processing, and analysis of your IoT data.
  • Smart analytics and machine learning: Thanks to fancy advances in analytics and machine learning, we can quickly dig into all the data that IoT generates. With all that info stored in the cloud, businesses can spot patterns, trends, and valuable insights to boost their operations and decision-making.
  • Conversational AI gets chatty: Neural networks and natural-language processing have made conversational AI a real thing. Now we have smart devices like Alexa, Cortana, and Siri that can chat with us and make IoT even more fun and useful in our everyday lives.

These awesome tech breakthroughs are pushing the limits of IoT, making it more powerful and applicable across industries and homes.


IoT devices weren’t really designed with security in mind, and that’s caused a whole bunch of security headaches. Unlike other tech stuff, there aren’t many rules or standards in place to keep IoT security in check. On top of that, most folks don’t realize the risks that come with using IoT systems or how big of a challenge it is to keep them secure. It’s a bit of a wild west out there when it comes to IoT security, and that can lead to some seriously disastrous situations. Some IoT security issues include

  • Lack of visibility
  • Limited security integration
  • Open-source code vulnerabilities
  • Overwhelming data volume
  • Poor testing
  • Unpatched vulnerabilities
  • Weak passwords

Internet entrepreneur Sunil Paul adds:

“Convenience and ‘magic’ will overwhelm concerns. The history of technology is clear on this front—ATMs, e-commerce, credit cards, the list is endless.”

We’ll be digging deeper into these security challenges a in couple of weeks so watch this space.


Whether IoT is magic or not, it does come with a plethora of potential threats. By the looks of things, you’ll need to deal with those sooner rather than later as IoT secures its foothold in the corporate world. And this is where I can help. I have over 20 years of experience in professional business IT support for SMEs, specialising in cybersecurity and risk mitigation. I can also offer world-class cybersecurity advice and get your systems and business ready for a whole new world of IoT. Get in touch today and let’s make sure you don’t get left behind.

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