The Internet of Things is Fast Becoming a Reality

I’ve been waiting for 2015 since 1989.

That’s when Back to the Future II came out, and Marty McFly traveled to 2015 – October 21st, to be exact. Kids of the 80s were promised that there would be flying cars, a world without lawyers, and most importantly: hoverboards.

Of course it’s 2015 and none of that’s happened (yet), but it stands to illustrate how movies about the future always try to predict…the future. I was always amazed at how there were robots on The Jetsons that would come clean up a mess seconds after it happened. This show aired in the early 1960s and it took decades to get a Roomba to do effectively the same!

Ideas from “back in the day” often couldn’t become reality because the technology simply didn’t exist, or it wasn’t cost/size effective. The first computers were the size of a room; now we have better computers in our pockets. As we consider what’s in store in the very near future, a new phrase has come to embody it:

The Internet of Things for Consumers and Businesses

What is the so-called “Internet of Everything?” At its simplest, it’s the idea that any device that connects to the Internet can be connected to one another, opening the door for integration of applications and services. The concept isn’t new, but it was a buzzworthy topic at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Naturally, there will be great debates on whether we (consumers) need this level of connection. Can it positively impact our lives? Will it ultimately lead us towards a dystopian future? Forgetting for now the “should,” we’re looking at it from the perspective of “could” – as in, what could we do? How can businesses create applications that could increase their efficiency, reduce costs, and improve services?

Sensors in devices that we use, like phones or wearable technology, can gather endless amounts of data and provide predictive analysis. The “fridge” example, where sensors in your refrigerator can alert you when you’re running low on milk, captures one possibility of the Internet of Things (IoT) in a consumer setting. Or perhaps the example of wearable technology that assists the visually impaired better understand their surroundings.

There’s also incredible potential for the IoT to provide value through business applications. Data is the cornerstone of almost every business, and the ability to process and evaluate real-time data – and act on it – can impact a company’s bottom line. Tracking inventory levels, monitoring equipment, utilizing energy more efficiently, and providing more accurate forecasting are just some of the possibilities for how connected networks can make businesses perform better.

With no shortage of content on the topic, you can continue to learn about the Internet of Things and how everyone from global organizations to small start-ups are using technology to provide (and monetize) more services, and ultimately value, to their customer base.

Ryan McGrath is a Marketing Consultant at G.1440. Admittedly not a technophile, he sees pros and cons to having all of our machines connected. But he’s also seen enough science fiction movies to know better than to trust robots. He can be reached at (410) 843-3880 or