The term “Internet of Things” was proposed in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, one of the three founders of the Auto-ID Center of the University of Massachusetts. There are several definitions of this term, and each of them is not accurate enough. We will use the definition proposed by Gartner (the one that came up with the term ERP):
“The Internet of Things is a network of physical objects that have built-in technologies that allow them to interact with the external environment, transmit information about their state and receive data from the outside.” The Internet of Things is an Industrial Internet of Things (Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT).
And a new term has already appeared: “The Internet of Everything” (Internet of Everything, IoE), which will replace the Internet of things in the near future.
In 1990, John Romki, one of the creators of the TCP / IP protocol, connected his toaster to the Internet and made it turn on and off remotely. This device was the first in the world "Internet thing". In the period from 2008 to 2009, according to Cisco analysts, the number of devices connected to the World Wide Web exceeded the population of the Earth.
The modern Internet consists of thousands of corporate, scientific, government and home computer networks. Networking of different architecture and topology is carried out using the IP protocol. Each member of the Network is assigned an IP address, either permanent or temporary (dynamic).
Similarly, the Internet of things today consists of a multitude of weakly interconnected networks, each solves its own tasks. For example, in an office building several enterprise networks can be deployed at once: to control air conditioning, heating, lighting, security, etc. These networks can operate according to different standards, and combining them into one network is a non-trivial task. In addition, the existing (fourth) version of the IP protocol (IPv4) allows using only 4.22 billion addresses, which has caused the problem of their exhaustion. And although not every device connected to the Network needs a unique IP address (but a unique identifier is still needed), due to the rapid growth of the Internet of Things, the problem of lack of addresses may become a limiting factor. The sixth version of the protocol, IPv6, will help to solve it cardinally. It will ensure that every inhabitant of the Earth can use more than 300 million IP addresses.
It is expected that by 2020 there will be 30-50 billion networked things in the world, and the ability to address IPv6 will allow virtually any thing to be identified on the Web.
The Internet of Things is based on the following technologies.
Means of identification
Every object of the physical world participating in the Internet of things, even when not connected to the Web, should still have a unique identifier. For the automatic identification of objects, various already existing systems can be used: radio frequency, with the use of which a radio frequency tag, optical (bar codes, Data Matrix, QR codes), infrared tags, etc. are attached to each object. But in order to ensure the uniqueness of identifiers of various types, it is necessary to work on their standardization.
The task of measuring instruments is to ensure the transformation of information about the external environment into data suitable for transferring them to processing facilities. It can be either separate sensors for temperature, illumination, etc., or complex measuring systems. In order to achieve autonomy of measuring devices, it is desirable to provide power to the sensors at the expense of alternative energy sources (solar batteries, etc.), so as not to waste time and money on recharging batteries or replacing batteries.
Means of data transmission
For data transfer, any of the existing technologies can be used. In the case of the use of wireless networks, special attention is paid to improving the reliability of data transmission. When using wired networks, they actively use the technology of data transmission over power lines, since many “things” (such as vending machines, ATMs, etc.) are connected to power grids.
Data processing facilities
Thirty or more billions of devices that are projected to be connected to the Internet in 2020 will generate 44 billion terabytes of data. This is about seven times the amount of digitized information around the world as of 2010s. Therefore, Microsoft believes that the main part of the Internet of Things is not sensors and data transmission facilities, but cloud systems that provide high bandwidth and able to quickly respond to certain situations (for example, to be able to find out from the sensor data that there have been no one in the house for five minutes, and the front door has remained open). Foggy computations that will not compete with cloud computing, but effectively complement them, will also help to cope with the huge flow of information.
These are devices capable of converting digital electrical signals from information networks into actions. For example, in order to enable the heating system in a house through a smartphone, we must have an appropriate device. Actuators are often structurally combined with sensors.
The bright prospects for the Internet of Things
It is assumed that by 2020, the Internet of Things will be applied in a wide variety of industries. First of all, it is industry, transport (220 million connected cars), smart home, utilities (a billion sensors, a significant reduction in energy loss), health care (646 million devices that collect data on people's health) , agricultural sector (75 million sensors for monitoring soil condition). In addition, the Internet of Things will be used in trade, logistics, catering, hotel business, banking system, construction and in the armed forces (126 thousand military drones and robots).
Since the Internet of Things is a young and potentially very receptive market, many large companies are rushing to take their “own” place on it:
Google promises to develop a voice interface, thanks to which houseware (for example, a refrigerator) will learn to understand a person’s natural speech.
Intel announced the Intel IoT Platform, designed, as the name implies, for the Internet of Things.
Apple offers the HomeKit platform, which is designed to control home electronics (household appliances, lighting, alarms, garage doors, etc.).
Microsoft Adapts Azure Cloud Services for the Internet of Things.
As usual for the young promising markets, a “war of standards” can begin. In order to avoid it, considerable efforts are already being made.
In particular, two publicly available largest high-tech concerns - AllSeen Alliance and Alljoyn from Qualcomm - have joined forces with the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) in the framework of the new Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF).
The OneM2M standard, which is already followed by 230 companies, including such well-known companies as Amazon, Cisco, Huawei, Intel, NEC, Qualcomm, Samsung, and many others, must cope with the corporate level of compatibility.
IoT Information Security
Experts believe that "ecosystem of the Internet of Things is not secured enough." Due to the fact that many devices that connected to the Internet do not encrypt traffic, and complex passwords are not provided, and also due to many other factors, hackers can, for example, activate/disactivate someone else’s dishwashers and washing machines, lock the hosts in their own home or even to observe their home life with the help of, for example, a video camera mounted on a vacuum cleaner. To improve security, it is proposed to introduce mandatory certification of devices designed for connection to the Internet, special unified chips installation and other measures.
In the future, not only houses will become “smart”, but also cities, and even (some) states. But at this stage of development of technology and society, the Internet of Things is actively being implemented not on a global scale, but inside companies engaged in the production of goods, energy, transportation, etc. - where new technologies are expected to increase productivity and competitiveness. The difficulty of scaling this experience is due to the fact that it is necessary to integrate many systems from different suppliers, and to harmonize their work is a more difficult task than to achieve harmonious sound of the Grand Symphony Orchestra.