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Internet of Things: A Hyper-Connected World

New and exciting tech, but also some real dangers

An expanding network that will drive the future 

When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.” Famed inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla said this in an interview with Collier’s magazine in 1926. Fast-forward nearly 100 years, and the huge brain he predicted is pulsing away – and growing at an exponential rate.

There are already seven billion devices connected to the Internet of Things – not even including smartphones, tablets, laptops or fixed phone lines. Applying Tesla’s prediction, this means that some time in the not-too-distant future, there will be more devices connected to the “huge” converted brain, than there will be human brains on the planet.

In fact, some estimates suggest that by 2030, there will be 500 billion devices connected to the Internet – and here are some of the opportunities and risks involved in this incredible, ever-expanding network of innovation.

A global but vulnerable digital nervous system

In case you’ve ever wondered why is called the ‘Internet of Things’, this term was first coined in 1999 by British tech pioneer Kevin Ashton. He predicted that computers would develop to the point of being able to gather more data than it was manually possible to make sense of – and become smarter in the process. As vague as the word ‘Things’ may first appear in this term, there really is no better word – it simply means something connected to another thing.

However, the first thing now recognized as a genuine IoT device actually pre-dates Ashton’s naming of the Internet of Things by almost a decade. In 1990, software developer John Romkey accepted a challenge from Interop president Dan Lynch to connect his toaster to the Internet. Using TCP/IP networking, he enabled the toaster to be turned on and off remotely, setting an early benchmark for the smart home technology that many of us use today […]

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