Tag Archives: Smarter Planet

The ‘Real’ Internet of Things

(This post is derived from a talk given at the 2012 Wrexham Science Festival.)

There are so many different ways of describing the Internet of Things.  On the one hand, maybe it’s what the original Internet was always destined to be; on the other, it’s about as boring as it gets.  Tag just about anything and everything we can stick a label on, let them talk to each other, then turn the existing  Internet into a massive database of things that can be referenced, interconnected and used any which way we like.  Great if you really need your fridge to reorder the milk for you or the plants to water themselves but hardly inspirational.  Two features, however, give the proposed (and not yet fully considered) IoT a serious ‘Oooh!’ factor …

Firstly, the ever-increasing intelligence of the Internet will allow us to manipulate this data in new and exciting ways.  More and more, the evolving Semantic Web will be able to understand the information it’s working with and make the best use of it for our benefit.  Our personal and working lives are about to become completely automated and made easier by web intelligence.  Secondly, and potentially on the darker side, other hardware and software developments will extend the IoT’s reach.  Face-recognition, image-scanners and numerous other advanced detectors and sensors will soon mean that everything can be read, whether it’s deliberately labelled or not.  We, and everything we use or own, may soon become part of the Real Internet of Things (RIoT) and we might have to expect to be identified and traced in everything we do.  So what will the future will look like?  Are we heading for paradise or Big Brother? Continue reading