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What is the Internet of Things?

What is the Internet of Things? McKinsey & Company* describes it as “Sensors and actuators connected by networks to computing systems.” Put another way, it could be described as a system of network-connected devices that you wouldn’t readily associate with this type of capability.

For instance, if you imagine a hand-towel dispenser that could inform maintenance when stocks are running low; a refrigerator that sends you an email to let you know it’s getting too hot or even a sensor network in a company’s offices that senses room occupancy and adjusts the heating and lighting accordingly, these are just a few examples of the Internet of Things or simply ‘IoT’ in operation.

You’ll already be more familiar with some systems that you perhaps hadn’t realized are IoT-capable, such as CCTV, access control, HVAC, smart LED lighting and asset tracking and you can trace early examples of the IoT in action way back in the mid-1980s where modem-enabled copiers and printers gathered and analysed machine diagnostic data to enable preventative maintenance. It was a smart idea then and it’s an even better one now that technology and connectivity have caught up and can provide a capable and ubiquitous framework upon which to operate.

So, the IoT already has longevity and analysts are predicting rapid growth in the future; Gartner, Inc.** forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015 and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020 with 6.6 billion units shipping in that year alone. They also forecast that in 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.

The Internet of Things has a strong future and the bright ideas for innovating machine to machine communication keep coming thick and fast. Have you thought about how your organization can benefit from adopting an IoT strategy yet?

* http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/business-technology/our-insights/the-internet-of-things-the-value-of-digitising-the-physical-world

** http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3165317

Dave Hitchins
Global Marketing Manager
Molex Connected Enterprise Solutions

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