The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. IoT has been around for decades, and its history is complex and intertwined with the development of other technologies. While the idea of a network of interconnected devices was first suggested in the 1980s, it was not until the early 2000s that the IoT started to gain traction.
The concept of the IoT was initially put forward by Kevin Ashton, a British technology pioneer, while he was working at the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1982. Ashton’s vision was to create a network of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that could be attached to physical objects, allowing them to be identified, tracked, and monitored remotely. The Auto-ID Center was founded in 1999 with the goal of developing a global network of interconnected devices that could interact with each other and share data.
Since its establishment, the IoT has experienced rapid growth and development, with various milestones along the way. The Auto-ID Center developed a system of RFID tags and readers, as well as an open-source network protocol called EPC (Electronic Product Code), which was designed to enable the exchange of data between the tags and readers. In 2006, the first commercial implementation of the EPC network protocol was released by the Auto-ID Labs. The concept of the “smart home” was introduced in 2007, with the launch of the first home automation system. The ZigBee Alliance, a consortium of companies dedicated to developing wireless communication standards, released the first version of its wireless protocol in 2009, while the first version of the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol was released in 2011.
The development of the IoT has been a collaborative effort involving many different organizations and individuals. Key players in the development of the IoT include Kevin Ashton, the Auto-ID Center and Auto-ID Labs, the ZigBee Alliance, the Bluetooth SIG, the Wi-Fi Alliance, and the Thread Group. In the decades since its inception, the IoT has grown exponentially, with billions of devices now connected to the Internet. The technology is being used in a variety of applications, and is continuing to evolve as new protocols and standards are developed. The advent of 5G cellular networks is expected to further accelerate the growth of the IoT, allowing for faster speeds and the connection of more devices.