IoT or Internet of Things is a really poor term but will continue to be used given all the other options are even worse. This is an unfortunate reality.
The term IoT directs attention to connecting sensors and other smart objects. Yet, connectivity is only an enabler for the benefits. IoT is all about better products and services, lower costs, and new business models. It’s about action and insights from data, the knowledge of the physical world missing so far from digital innovation.
Not surprisingly, the term IoT and its emphasis on connectivity prompts people to question what’s new. Haven’t we always had things connected to the Internet? Doesn’t IPv6 and 6LoWPAN solve all the problems?
Early days of cloud computing
I’m reminded of the early days of cloud computing. There were similar discussions about how poor a term cloud computing was and whether it was actually anything new or just a new way of marketing outsourcing.
Then, as is now happening with IoT, incumbent suppliers scrambled to show how cloud ready there products and services were already.
They suggested alternate terms for cloud computing to emphasise their point of view and their positioning. It’s not too surprising then that IoT incumbents are promoting their own term now. Microsoft calls it the “Internet of Your Things”; Cisco the “Internet of Everything”; and GE the “Industrial Internet”.
All of this didn’t prevent cloud computing from evolving over the years. The term cloud computing stuck but an appreciation of the opportunities and real benefits carried on. The same will happen with IoT.
So, it seems we’re going to be stuck with using the term IoT. At least it’s better than the alternatives suggested.