In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.
“Today is August 4, 2026,” said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling, “in the city of Allendale, California.” It repeated the date three times for memory’s sake. “Today is Mr. Featherstone’s birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita’s marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills.”
Ray Bradburry. «There will come soft rains»
Would you agree that everyone experienced at least once in his life the horror feeling of not remembering whether the steamer is switched off? Whether is water leaking or all windows are closed during the storm. There are so many similar situations! You might think of it and you will see pictures one worse than the other to the rest of the day.
But everything will change soon! We will be able to control remotely what is happening in our houses. The internet of things is coming, a technology linking all the things, the electronical devices in a network and allowing them to interact without human intervention.
How internet of things appeared
The idea of the world where things serve people is not new. It is possible all folks have fairy tales where magic pots cook by themselves, butter churns churn, table cloths serve food and watches advise. And in the science fiction novels the miracles of smart devices are always included in the description of the far future. Even Ray Bradberry who was not a big fan of technical innovations was one of the first ones who described a system today known as Smart house.
In 1990 the american engineer John Romkey created just for fun a new model of toaster could be connected to internet. The inventor remotely switched on and off the device and lost any interest to it. But anyway that was first internet thing in the world.
1999, the center of automated identification started to work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologie. Radio-frequency identification technologies were developed there. Now they are used in shopping malls when sensors on the department entrance read the data from goods stickers upon leaving a trading floor. The engineers of the center have formulated and developed the idea known as Internet of Things (IoT).
There are more devices connected to the internet than internet users. this moment is exactly the start of the internet of things.
Why do we need it
State — management and control. There is no difficulty to switch on and off toasters, coffee grinders and vacuum cleaners for the biggest part of the Earth population, so the internet of things has no high demand among the population. But the countries and their governments do really need it in order to control and manage the procedures.
The technologies of the Smart City are already applied in South Korea, China, India and EU countries. For instance the system of urban transport is managed with it.
In Great Britain and States communal services remotely control the amount of electricity used by the inhabitants with smart counters.
Business — optimization, productivity, saving. International corporations willingly implement the internet of thing to where you can gain competitive advantages with it. It could be costs decrease for production, storage, transportation and product maintenance. Here are couple of examples.
GE Aviation (USA) is a company producing air jets with built-in sensors. It is a great tool for inspection and update planning to be able to read remotely the entire story of the aircraft exploitation. Do you think it’s just a little something? But the maintenance costs of such aircraft will be seven times lower. Try to imagine savings of just one private airport and you will understand why engines of GE Aviation are on such high market demand.
Rio Tinto (Australia) is a mining company with dump truck control center. The unmanned trucks can work without break and hear instructions from center on 1200 km distance.
Reasonable possibilities limits
The system Smart house and its compounds can be found in the houses of every fourth US user. Look around, you also have enough sensory devices. It is enough to supply them with internet access and smart devices will coherently work and make us free from any concerns.
For instance, dust sensors will switch on vacuum cleaner. Fridge will order food delivery, dispose of expired products and watch you don’t buy unnecessary. If it will be synchronized with weight scale it can track your diet. Will it hide cakes and ice cream from you? Only if you will program it.
In other words, devices will take over the routine we don’t like. It remains only to sigh, why the internet of things still does not do everything instead of us. There are several reasons for it.
Projects in development. It is difficult to forecast when all the puzzle details for a total internet of things will be completed. As for now according to research of Cisco 60% of the projects in this field will not be realized and 30% of the realized ones will be considered as unsuccessful.
Energy. Every object inside the internet of things shall be supplied with working sensors for data transmission. In today’s reality that means that billions of devices should be supplied with batteries. And this solution is unacceptable. It is a real challenge to find accessible electricity for all these devices.
By the way this challenge already brought to the big breakthrough. In 2010 USA presented a nano-generator. It is a chip able to transform simple human movements like finger flexure into energy.
IP-addresses. Every device connected to the internet need a unique IP-address. It is hard to imagine that deficiency of such addresses may become a problem. For example, in 2010 there are no more free IPv4 addresses available. IPv4 is the fourth version of internet protocol existing from 1980s. But that did not stop us from connecting more and more devices to the internet, because we found new ways to enhance the capacity of IPv4.
But in case of the internet of things there will be needed billions of sensors, those need billions of new IPs. And the fourth version cannot stretch that much. A new version, IPv6, will be needed and that will require the restructuring of the whole network.
Security. New opportunities often come with new risks. It is a current challenge to prevent all possible problems may appear. Technical standards of all devices need to comply with what is already developed. But there are still some open issues. Among them is user data security.
Future is coming
The experience of humanity is showing we will not refuse the invention if it is not perfect. The internet of things is being constantly integrated. It provides business and state organizations with huge opportunities. And that creates both a demand and financing of new developments.
Today this technologies are most needed in transportation, production and community services (remote metering checks). In european countries an automated accident alert system eCall is being developed and till 2018 all european vehicles will be equipped with independent sensors, those needed for any IoT device. So internet of things is slowly but forever coming to our lives.
Preliminary predictions indicate over 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet till 2020. About six trillion dollars will be invested in development of new devices for internet of things. And the world will not be able to live without IoT just like without internet.