What Is the Internet of Things?

By | January 9, 2015
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thingswebThe Internet of Things

The world is full of cool names for things; I suppose it has always been so. I know for a fact our  grandparents had cool names for things. For instance, I can remember when people say – “Hey get Gary on the horn.” The Horn was a cool name for a telephone. And speaking of cool names, what about the word cool itself. It’s a beatnik word from the 40’s and 50’s when it was usually used in conjunction with “man”- as in “That’s really cool, man.” Words like Fridge and Mike and Cell and all the rest of the cool words – usually shortened versions of the original word – are testament to the human need for speed. For example: I can say Fridge faster than I can say refrigerator.

So it should not surprise anyone that we now refer to things which are stored on Web servers — the way things have always been stored on Web servers — as being stored “in the cloud: . The cloud is just another another name for Web, Web servers, and Internet. So I guess it’s easier and faster and cooler  to call it the cloud than to call it the Web, a Web server, Web servers and/or Internet.

When Darcy and I were taking our first baby steps on the Internet back in 1995 – twenty years ago – it was a different place than it is today. It was more a curiosity then and it had some really dedicated fans like us who extolled its virtues to everyone who’d listen. I can people used to look at us like were were insane when we told them we building a Web site for email stationery. Most people barely knew what email was in those days – and building a Web site was something reserved for geeks or introverted hermits who rarely if ever saw the light of day. But we were on the Internet as much as our day jobs would allow – some said we were addicted, and that’s probably true.

Today the Internet is no longer a curiosity – it’s a necessity. Banking, credit card systems, stock markets, online stores and even brick and mortar stores depend on computers and the Internet. If the Internet were to simply disappear the world would would be in a state of chaos. Having come from the days when we were freaks because we spend our spare time hunched over computers downloading as much freeware as we could – before the days of ubiquitous malware – and building our very first Web site called “Thundercloud & Eightball’s Christmas Graphics” we are simply astounded by the growth of the Internet, particularly in the last 10 years.

The Web has evolved from a curiosity, to a necessity, controlling many facets of our life. And so it  is because of the nature of technology to grow exponentially, that we have now call the Internet – The Internet of Things.

No longer is the Internet accessible only by people hunched over a computer – it’s accessible from phones and tablets as well as many other things. Things like thermostats, watches, refrigerators, automobiles, ovens, pacemakers, and more things. And it is all these things that comprise the “Internet of Things“.

To us an internet refrigerator or internet oven or an internet thermostat seem a little bit over-the-top, but for those who never knew a world without computers, without the Internet, and without cell phones, those internet-connected gizmos are probably pretty ho-hum.

And to think we’re just at the threshold of this Internet of Things. We cannot imagine what the Internet of Things will be in fifty years, not that it will matter to us – we’ll be long gone.

As for us, we liked the Internet better when it was the Internet of one thing – when it was new and when it was just a curiosity. Like looking back on things usually does, it brings with it a sad sense of nostalgia.

But it is what it is.

So whether you’re reading this while hunched over a computer or on the menu screen of your Internet refrigerator, or on the dial of your Internet-connected smart watch or any other Internet-connected “things” – you are part of the Internet of Things whether you know it or not and whether you like it or not.

Did I mention the Internet coffee maker? The Internet light bulb?

9 thoughts on “What Is the Internet of Things?

  1. Thelma

    Thanks for that interesting story, TC. You have a great talent for story telling!

  2. Deanna Baugh

    Love it! I too, miss the good old days of the internet! A simpler time for sure!

    1. Margie Paregian

      Wish I were replying to you over the coffee maker – that would be fun!! Thanks for a great story – I think us older folks can all relate.

  3. Robert

    What a wonderful reminder on how far we came, and a reminder of the visionary talk I attended in 1971, put on by the Bell Telephone Company. The talk, by some visionary in Bell Tel, was about the future of telephony, when one could imagine all sorts of information recirculating in the ether of a network. When as one needed information, all they’d have to do is to connect their data terminal to that ether.
    Well, your little epistle, comes real close to that dream of long ago, which in Technical parlance, was forever ago in the dark ages of the computer world.

    To quote one early computer pioneer “Who’d want a computer in their home” . . .


  4. Joan E

    I can`t remember when I first discovered Cloudeight. But I have been a fan, member, and promoter to all my family and friends for a `lotta`years now. I don`t just play here anymore, my PC is a household tool. I would not want to go back to those days of running here or there, and having to mark on the calendar every payment due note, or remembering to mail every item or go to the bank to take care of bills. But I`m gettin`on….77yrs OLD….and this technology is beginning to outrun me. I loved IE!! But GOOGLE is boggling me! My son-in-law loves it….I hate it! Can`t the `powers-that-be` have an ÒLD FOLKS`programÉ

    1. infoave Post author

      Unfortunately the Web and Google and almost everything else in this world is run by the younger folks. Us older folks ran the world at one time too and I wonder how many people were wondering if touch tones phones were better, or television was better than radio, or if sputnik was a good idea. Every generation confounds the older folks. I really doubt anyone is going into the business of designing stuff for old folks like us – except, of course, Hoveround and medical supply companies and Colonial Penn Life Insurance and Reverse Mortages…thing us seniors can make vastly profitable. Don’t think anyone is going to design a geriatric email program – Outlook Express is dead I’m afraid. We wish it were not so as well.

  5. JoninOz

    Whether on likes it or not, he world is becoming a very sad place as many wonderful, descriptive words fall by the wayside, as many people have never learned them, or do not understand how to use them, (or even speak correct English)
    Cool now relates to many things, as does hot, TV cooks say the taste of a product is beautiful. (Beauty is in the EYE of the beholder).
    Chill Out does it mean Cool Outdoors, if not, Relax instead.

    I feel very sorry for my Indian neighbour’s wife, recently married in India and came to live in Australia.
    She spent many years learning text-book English, and now has difficulty understanding what is said by people with the Australian accent and using the many ‘buzz’ words.

  6. Joan

    My question as a Senior lady is: “How did ALL the data get on the World Wide Web?” I am in awe that no matter what subject it is that i look up in a Search, it shows me numerous links to look up to find a vast amount of info on every subject … (more than any encyclopedia set had that we all used years ago)…..

  7. Ken Roberts

    You have a nice way with words , could we call you a word smith?


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