We live in a world where everything we say and do is defined and driven by technology. All our interactions and decisions are molded by a nexus of forces, including, but not limited to, the world wide web and web-enabled devices.
The internet has irreversibly changed the way consumers associate with businesses and how these businesses engage consumers. Theses changes have been rapid due to the influence of a combination of social, mobile, web and cloud trends. We are now at the precipice of the next stage in this rapid evolution, The Internet of Everything, largely being addressed as IoT.
The Internet of Everything (IoT) is a catch-phrase that can be used to define global connectivity and intelligence. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is the next step after the Internet of Things (IoT). Although more and more electronic devices are becoming internet-capable, they are still living in silos, unable to make meaningful communication with other devices. The IoE eliminates any boundaries, physical or otherwise between them. It’s a technology concept that sees previously unconnected devices and processes being converged under a single digital umbrella. It is an all-encompassing convergence of physical and digital domains.
Wondering what is IoT and IoE?
Now a lot of you may be new to the Internet of Things & would already be wondering what this jargon Internet of Everything is. Cisco explained the difference between the two terms which are mistakenly used interchangeably, in a public address. The key takeaways from that speech are given below.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is the network of physical devices accessed through the internet. It allows devices to communicate and facilitate each other in performing functions which previously were not possible. For example, smart thermostats like ‘nest‘ use sensors that take real – time weather forecasts and monitor the real-time activity in your house to automatically control the temperature and minimize your electrical consumption.
Internet of Everything (IoE)
The Internet of Everything is the smart connection between people, data, processes and things. It allows devices to communicate with each other and transmit data, thereby allowing the devices to learn and adapt according to our mannerisms. For example, the ‘nest’ thermostat will be linked to our mobile phones, the mobile phone will send a signal to the thermostat sometime before we arrive home, thereby allowing the thermostat to pre-cool the room. The thermostat will give a signal to the coffee-maker to start preparing coffee. This level of interconnectivity and intelligence is what the IoE concept proposes.
IoT is the connectivity between unique and identifiable web-enabled devices. It talks about how individual devices can “talk” to each other, while still maintaining its own identity and singularity. On the other hand, IoE abandons this compartmentalized approach which looks at individual devices. The IoE views all devices as part of an ecosystem in which all the devices co-exist and which is omnipresent.
Put simply, the IoT is made of billions of connected objects. However, the IoE is the smart network, which is required to support and transmit all the data that is generated between these interconnected devices.
Today there are billions of web-enabled devices in the world, all these devices have the potential to be interconnected via the IoE. IoE will provide a seamless connection between people, data and processes. This will revolutionise the way we carry out the most rudimentary of tasks. We are seeing this interconnectivity today in many forms, some are common like connecting the internet on our TV with devices such as the Chromecast. Others may be unheard of like Internet-connected tooth-brushes which harness data to fight plaque. What was once a futuristic concept, the IoE is fast becoming a reality.
Devices such as Chromecast and Fitbit are part of the IoT, these devices utilise the web connectivity between devices to perform functions which initially were not possible. However, majority of these devices cannot communicate amongst themselves. The IoE proposes to eliminate these differences and establish global and continuous connectivity between all devices.
People – The aim is to connect more people in relevant ways that add value to them.
Data – The ability to receive and comprehend data to make informed decisions
Process – The right information to the right person or device.
Things – Physical devices or infrastructure used for connectivity, also known as the Internet of Things.
The emergence of IoE has been helped by the development of low-cost connectivity and projects such as internet.org and Loon will only help increase its rate of acceptance. These projects led by US-based technology giants Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) respectively aim to connect the “next five billion”. Currently, only about two billion people in the world have access to sustainable and reliable internet connection. These projects aim at providing the remaining people with reliable and affordable internet access. Post which, the IoE will connect these people, not just to the internet but with each other. The Internet of Everything will not differentiate between humans and devices, but view us as a single homogenous entity of data.
The Internet of Everything will be run by a protocol which in turn would be dependent on sensors. Sensors are the backbone in the dream to realise the Internet of Everything. These sensors are already present in billions of devices and are a means for these devices to connect to the Internet. These sensors will be the building blocks for the cities of tomorrow. All devices connected via the Internet of Everything will generate data, this data would have to be handled effectively. And in a world where data is money Cisco has estimated that the true value of the Internet of Everything in monetary terms exceeds $ 19 trillion.
The possibilities with such interconnectivity are limitless. Anyone with access to the internet will be able to access a plethora of information and resources. The IoE will not just connect all devices, but it will in-fact add intelligence. This intelligence will facilitate in our decision making and so add value to our lives.
Just like Web 2.0, IoE is a concept and it is a phenomenon that is changing how the Internet impacts us. Here is a concept video by Cisco on IoE: