Internet of Things: Time for a Name Change?

Posted on May 23rd 2014

Internet of Things: Time for a Name Change?

internet of thingsWhile an exact number may be all but impossible to come by, the estimated 10 billion devices connected to the “Internet of Things” (IoT) in 2014 isn’t really all that many.

I mean, we live in a world of more than 7 billion people, so if you look at it that way, that isn’t even 1.5 connected devices per person on earth.

Now of course that isn’t the way it works, because our world doesn’t have that kind of equality. As we know, it is probably a fraction of the population comprising the vast majority of those connected devices, and chances are that fraction is comprised of people named “Enterprise, Inc.”

Regardless of how the 10 billion devices that are estimated by some analysts to multiply by 5x in the next 5 years are truly distributed, fact of the matter is the Internet of Things is growing like wildfire.

As our meat thermometers, dishwashers, and wristwatches find themselves being attached to the Internet, we are rapidly becoming more and more connected. Our online lives are becoming ubiquitous with our offline lives because we have really reached saturation as our devices aka “Things” become connected to us 24x7x365. If you have any doubt, these two statistics should put that to rest:

  • 91% of people have their mobile device within arms reach around the clock.
  • 75% of people take and use their phone while in the restroom.

In short, there are two major shifts taking place as it relates to the connected Internet. First, the connected world is becoming more pervasive by the minute; second, the internet of things is a silly and poorly thought out way of describing this connected world because things have intelligence but it is people, not things that make the Internet the most powerful connector of resources, intelligence and information on the planet.

A Case For An Internet of People (IoP)

To some extent the deployment of technology will continue to get larger in scope and smaller in size as supercomputers have been scaled down to 1 RU pizza boxes and microprocessors can be inserted into your eyeglasses, but the constant evolution of the internet will be rooted in those that make the internet go, which are and always have been the people.

People Power Networks: From the heart of the datacenter to the pile of routers and modems in the closet of a family or small business, the network it is people, not things that power networks. The need to operate businesses, search for information and connect with other humans is what makes the network meaningful.

People Power Communities: In today’s socially connected world, it is people, not things that are building the worlds largest online networks like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and others. It is comprised of the people and their desire to engage in life through the power of the Internet and the tools that their devices (things) enable them to use.

People Create What Is Next

One thing is for certain; the Internet of Things was a rev. 1 term that really should have expired in the early 2000’s as the very things that made them became interdependent on the people that used them to power the Internet revolution.

Today, the devices are merely interchangeable gizmos and gadgets that are being fed intelligence by the people that use them. Until the day comes (and I believe it probably will) where the things rather than the people fuel the Internet experience, we won’t have an Internet of things, but really an Internet of People.

In the future, it will once again be people that drive the next revolution of the Internet. It will be the designers that create the next iPhones and Smart Devices. It will be the engineers that find new and innovative ways to make chips even smaller to the point where our things become integrated with our flesh and blood.

At some point we, the 10, 15 or 20 billion people on earth will be one with the network as we become embedded with technology and the things we once utilized to connect become antiques that are displayed in museums or reside in our drawers as mementos.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

(Internet of Things / shutterstock)

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Daniel Newman

Founder/CEO, BroadSuite

Daniel Newman is the Founder of BroadSuite Consulting. An experienced C-Level Executive passionate about Strategy who also loves working with entrepreneurs and their small and mid-sized businesses. Prior to launching BroadSuite Consulting, Daniel served as the co-founder and CEO of EC3, a quickly growing hosted IT and Communication services provider. Before that, Daniel held several prominent leadership roles including serving as CEO of United Visual, parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm; a family of companies focused on Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies.

Daniel is also widely published and active in the social media community. He is the author of Amazon best-selling business book, “The Millennial CEO.” He also co-founded the global online Community 12 Most and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 business and leadership accounts to follow on Twitter.
Daniel is also an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College. He attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Executive MBA from North Central College in Naperville, Ill. He currently resides in Aurora, Ill., with his wife (Lisa) and his two daughters (Hailey 11, Avery 7).

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