What is the Internet of Things?

You have a machine. You connect it to the Internet. What's the big deal?

One of the first weather stations—possibly the first—to report its measurements on the Internet was the one installed in 1993 in the campus of the National Technical University of Athens. The web didn’t exist yet, and the measurements, updated every 10 minutes, were accessible worldwide through a system called “finger”. This was an impressive novelty. I can type a command in my computer and see what the weather is in Athens right now?! People connected from all over the world to see it. A few years later there was also a web page showing these measurements, and it was also an immense success.

I’m lucky to have been in Prof. Koutsoyiannis’s team, still a student in 1993, and to have taken part in this. My introduction to the Internet, besides email, was that weather station. So when people started to talk about the “Internet of Things”, I was confused. It was like being a fish and trying to understand what water is.

Perhaps it’s for this reason that I’m skeptic about whether the “Internet of Things” is anything more than a buzzword. You have a sensor. You connect it to the Internet. What’s the big deal?