What Won’t We Connect To The Internet?

So, I was on the evil internet recently and came across this most interesting article (#1) which got me wondering. What aren’t we willing to connect to the internet? What are the connection limitations to the internet? Why do we connect so many things collectively to the internet so willingly? Anyway, these just happens to be the articles I was reading. All credit belongs to the original author and I claim nothing but wanting to share. Also, take a look at the second article (#2) which gives some statistics that might blow your mind a little.

Article #1

See original here.

Jacob Morgan; Contributor

I write about and explore the future of work and collaboration.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

5/13/2014 @ 12:05AM 

A Simple Explanation Of ‘The Internet Of Things’

The “Internet of things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work.  But what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on you if any?  There are a lot of complexities around the “Internet of things” but I want to stick to the basics.  Lots of technical and policy related conversations are being had but many people are still just trying to grasp the foundation of what the heck these conversations are about.

Let’s start with understanding a few things.

Broadband Internet is become more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with wifi capabilities and censors built into them, technology costs are going down, and smart phone penetration is sky-rocketing.  All of these things are creating a “perfect storm” for the IoT.

So what is the Internet of things?

Simply put this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.  This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.  As I mentioned, if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT.  The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices…that’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion).  The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people).  The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

How does this impact you?

The new rule for the future is going to be, “anything that can be connected, will be connected.”  But why on earth would you want so many connected devices talking to each other?  There are many examples for what this might look like or what the potential value might be.  Say for example you are on your way to a meeting, your car could have access to your calendar and already know the best route to take, if the traffic is heavy your car might send a text to the other party notifying them that you will be late.  What if your alarm clock wakes up you at 6 am and then notifies your coffee maker to start brewing coffee for you? What if your office equipment knew when it was running low on supplies and automatically re-ordered more?  What if the wearable device you used in the workplace could tell you when and where you were most active and productive and shared that information with other devices that you used while working?

On a broader scale the IoT can be applied to things like transportation networks “smart cities” which can help us reduce waste and improve efficiency for things such as energy use; this helping us understand and improve how we work and live.  Take a look at the visual below to see what something like that can look like.

The reality is that the IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities and connections to take place, many of which we can’t even think of or fully understand the impact of today.  It’s not hard to see how and why the IoT is such a hot topic today, it certainly opens the door to a lot of opportunities but also to many challenges.  Security is big issues that is oftentimes brought up.  With billions of devices being connect together what can people to do make sure that their information stays secure?  Will someone be able to hack into your toaster and thereby get access to your entire network?  The IoT also opens up companies all over the world to more security threats.  Then we have the issue of privacy and data sharing.  This is a hot button topic even today so one can only imagine how the conversation and concerns will escalate when we are talking about many billions of devices being connected.  Another issue that many companies specifically are going to be faced with is around the massive amounts data that all of these devices are going to produce.  Companies need to figure out a way to store, track, analyze, and make sense of the vast amounts of data that will be generated.

So what now?

Conversations about the IoT are (and have been for several years) taking place all over the world as we seek to understand how this will impact our lives.  We are also trying to understand what the many opportunities and challenges are going to be as more and more devices start to join the IoT.  For now the best thing that we can do is educate ourselves about what the IoT is and the potential impacts that can be seen on how we work and live.

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Article #2

Connected Devices Accelerate the Need for IPv6 in the Internet of Things (original article)

Posted on 27 Decembter 2013 in: Blog, Featured Article, General Information, IPv4, IPv6

Just how many devices are connected to the Internet? A report from the NPD Group found there are more than half a billion Internet connected devices in U.S. homes alone – that’s more than the number of U.S. residents. And a report from ABI Research found there are more than 10 billion wirelessly connected devices in the global market.  Those numbers are only expected to increase as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands to include more devices that can connect to the Internet.  Gartner predicts the IoT base will grow to 26 billion units by 2020 not including smartphones, tablets and PCs.  Including those items, other predictions have placed the number of Internet-connected devices in 2020 everywhere from 50 billion to 75 billion.

The IoT is a true demonstration of the evolution of the Internet, but its potential could be slowed by IPv4 depletion. As the number of available IPv4 addresses dwindles, it is more crucial than ever to ensure new consumer devices and the networks that support them are IPv6 enabled.

Every device needs a unique IP address to connect to the Internet.  Drawing only from the pool of addresses that IPv4 provides, there just simply won’t be enough to connect every new gizmo and gadget to the Internet.  Fortunately we have IPv6 that has been in production across the web on many networks for years that can meet addressing need challenges.  There are 340 trillion trillion trillion IPv6 addresses available to allow the Internet of Things to come to fruition.  What is more, transit networks as a whole need to support IPv6 in order for all of these new devices to function properly and efficiently.

The Internet of Things has the potential to open new markets for innovation for many businesses and even entire industries. Take for example the car industry, where Ford’s director of technology predicts cars will have voice recognition capabilities allowing drivers to connect to their apps, pre-order a coffee or pre-pay for gas – all using their voice. Let’s not forget about safety, either. Envision a future with wearable sensors for drivers with medical conditions that connect to your car and can prevent accidents during medical emergencies.

The possibilities of the IoT with IPv6 are endless and the bottom line is consumers don’t want devices that will only connect them to part of the future Internet. The IoT is a dawning reality and its evolution is dependent on the use of IPv6.

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