A history of the Internet of Things
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06 October 2021
1982 – Students invent a connected Coke machine.
Students at Carnegie Mellon University connected the department vending machine to the main computer via the local network, enabling them to check if drinks were available and cold. Not everyone liked Coke, but they all loved this invention.
1989 – The World Wide Web is invented
British scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web (WWW) while working at CERN. The Governmental system of satellites was complemented by privately held ones, providing future IoT systems with communications. The first website that Berners-Lee brought online from the Swiss Alps is still available.
1990-1993 – World’s first IoT device invented
In 1990, John Romkey created the first IOT device – a toaster that could be turned on and off over the Internet. By 1991, he had automated the entire process by adding a crane system that inserted the bread as well.
Then in 1993, the world's first webcam prototype, the Trojan Room Coffee Pot, was installed at the University of Cambridge to monitor the amount of coffee remaining in the brewing machine.
1998 – Mark Weiser creates a connected water fountain
Father of ubiquitous computing Mark Weiser created a fountain outside his office. The flow and the height of the water mimicked the price trends and volume of the stock market in real-time.
The 2008 crisis would have been a spectacular sight.
1999 – “The Internet of Thing” is coined
Kevin Ashton, the founder of Auto-ID, titled a presentation he made at Procter & Gamble “The Internet of Things”. Ashton linked the ideas of RFID (radio-frequency identification) and the Internet, which impressed the listeners with its innovativeness. While his idea of RFID-based device connectivity differs from today’s IP-based (Internet Protocol) IoT, Ashton’s breakthrough played an essential role in IoT history and technological development overall.
2005 – The first smart home device is created
Originally released in June 2005, the Nabaztag – an early version of smart home devices like Alexa and Google Home – was an ambient electronic device shaped like a rabbit, able to alert its owner and speak to them about the weather, stock market changes, RSS feeds, etc.
In 2019, the iconic bunny made a comeback for a limited time with a new Raspberry Pi brain.
2008-2009 – IoT is born
According to Cisco IBSG*, IoT was conceived between 2008 and 2009, when the number of connected machines surpassed the number of humans on the planet. Currently, there are about 21.5 billion connected devices in the world – almost three times the number of people on the planet.
2011 – IoT added to the hype-cycle for emerging technologies
In 2011, Gartner, the market research company that invented the famous “hype-cycle for emerging technologies”, included “The Internet of Things” on their list. This year, Gartner named Vodafone as a Leader in its 2021 Magic Quadrant for Managed IoT Connectivity Services for the seventh time in a row **.
2013-2014 – IoT devices start using sensors
Thermostats and home lighting started using sensors to accurately sense the surrounding environment. This allowed people to control home lighting, garage doors and thermostats all from their phone.
2014 – The first “smart city” is created
As a smart city “testbed”, Smart Docklands in Dublin provided a platform for innovators to test cutting-edge technology solutions to local challenges, such as smart bins, sensors monitoring flood levels and city sound monitoring sensors.
2018 – IoT enters the healthcare and health insurance industries
Healthcare devices represent one of the fastest-growing sectors of the IoT market. The value of this sector – sometimes called the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) – is predicted to reach $176 billion by 2026***. IoT technology allows healthcare professionals to access patient data and improve the quality of wearable medical devices. Medical IoT solutions include blood glucose and heart rate monitoring, pacemakers, fall detection, geofencing and location monitoring.
2020 – IoT steps up in response to the COVID-19 crisis
In 2020, heat detection cameras started popping up in all sorts of public spaces to measure people’s temperature. Using infrared technology, thermal cameras detect radiating heat from a body. Although these devices were originally not designed to be used for medical purposes – they are often deployed by firefighters to track smouldering embers and police to search for out-of-sight suspects
2021 - FIA creates IoT forum
The FIA IoT Forum provides a great opportunity for FIA members to work with other members under the banner of the FIA as the industry-leading voice to enable the fire industry and the customers we serve to benefit from IoT.
If you are eager to join or just want to know more, please email Adam Richardson, FIA Business Liaison and Secretary for the FIA IoT Forum.
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