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What is the Internet of Things?

What is the Internet of Things?

All across the globe, people are connecting to the Internet to access information, communicate with other people, and do business. But it’s not just people that are using the Internet: objects use it too. Machine-to-machine communication is widely used in the manufacturing and energy sectors to track machinery operations, report faults and raise service alerts.

Increasingly, everyday objects are also using the Internet to connect to the cloud forming an ‘Internet of Things’. It’s estimated that 1.9bn devices are already connected to this Internet of Things (source: BI Intelligence.)

Some of the most prominent Internet of Things sensors or devices in the consumer sphere so far have been activity and fitness monitors like the Nike FuelBand and Fitbit, the Google Glass wearable computer and ‘Hive’ connected heating systems from British Gas.

Sports equipment manufacturer ASICS used Salesforce to develop its Support Your Marathoner website, delivering messages of support to a trackside screen when a unique tag was detected on the athlete’s shoe.

The Internet of Things is growing rapidly, and it’s forecast that, by 2020, it could include between 30 billion and 75 billion things ranging from smartbands, toys and photoframes to medical devices, earthquake sensors and aeroplanes.

Why is everyone talking about the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things is set to revolutionise business – and in particular, the relationship between organisations and their customers. That’s because it creates a completely new channel of communication.

And like the Internet, it will create huge opportunities for companies ready to exploit it. Networking giant Cisco predicts that the opportunity represented by the Internet of Things will be worth $14.4 trillion for companies and industries worldwide in the next decade. More specifically, this represents an opportunity to increase global corporate profits by about 21 percent.