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What Is the Internet of Things?

Posted By RFID Journal, 08.22.2016

What do people mean when they say "IoT?"




That's a very good question, and a lot of people would give you very different answers. Let me share mine. The Internet of Things is a term coined by Kevin Ashton around 1999 to explain radio frequency identification to senior executives at Procter & Gamble. At the time, the Internet was just taking off. For the first time in human history, hundreds of millions of computers were becoming connected to one another via the Internet. Kevin said that by putting a tiny radio transceiver costing just a few cents into every product the company sold, P&G could connect these goods to the Internet so that they could be tracked and managed effectively.

The term was picked up more recently as thermostats, smoke alarms, light switches, coffee makers, cars and other objects were outfitted with more sophisticated radio devices (more than RFID, that is) that connected them to the Internet. Some people do not now consider RFID to be part of the Internet of Things, which is silly. I would say the IoT is a concept that covers a wide variety of wireless technologies that enable physical objects to send information to and receive data from the Internet.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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