There seems to be a lack of public appreciation of the extent to which the Internet of Things is going to fundamentally change how people interact with the world around them.
While the actual list of technologies comprising the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to be unimaginably broad, the overarching concept behind it is relatively simple: Take everything from everyday household devices like thermostats and refrigerators to street lights and factory components, connect them to the Internet, and then use the data they generate make the world a more efficient place.
The most high-profile entry into the Internet of Things is Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat, which collects data on its users’ preferred temperatures, automatically lowers temperatures when the house is empty to save energy, and can be controlled from anywhere in the world.
A litany of other companies are looking to follow Google’s lead, which bought Nest for $3.2 billion in early 2014. The whole concept of the “connected home” looks to be one of the biggest themes in at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. While only 1.5 percent of U.S. homes are currently dialed in to the Internet of Things, that number is expected to top 15 percent within five years.
But the implications for the Internet of Things go far beyond the home.