Much like the early clamor surrounding "Big Data," it has become next to impossible to avoid the "Internet of Things" (IoT) as the latest cross-industry catchphrase. However, while all the hype might imply that IoT is new, the term has actually been around since 1999, when Kevin Ashton, cofounder of MIT’s Auto-ID Center coined it in his seminal article, "That 'Internet of Things' Thing."
While the concept behind the "Internet of Things" has been around for about two decades, NEST, the web-enabled thermostat company recently purchased by Google, has popularized the concept. Today, a data-driven infrastructure of internet-connected devices that control utilities, guide our retail shopping experiences, and monitor our health is far from science fiction.
There will be over 20 million devices designed to automatically relay information over the internet by 2022, according to Machina Research. For most of these "things," traditional wireless internet networks will be a pretty poor choice.
Retailers must plan now for the IoT because the technology positively impacts top- and bottom-line business performance by improving omnichannel operations and enabling personalized and contextualized interaction with consumers, says a report from IDC Retail Insights.
Are we to add the Internet of Things to the pantheon of top strategic technology priorities for the decade? That's the question increasingly in front of IT decision makers these days as tech vendors add the buzzphrase to their marketing and practitioners evaluate the rapidly growing array of related tools and technologies.