The Internet of Things – in which ordinary objects get smart and connected, making possible all sorts of new services – promises to give us smarter cities, fewer traffic jams, a cleaner environment and a Series victory for the Cubs. (OK, maybe not that last one.)
Trouble is, while lots of technologists and technophiles talk about the Internet of Things as if it were already here, there really isn’t any such thing. Not in any true sense of the term.
To be sure, there are plenty of smart gadgets out there that are wired up and broadcasting data to other devices – home alarms, for instance. Cameras. Heat sensors and hydrometers. But as you might have already noticed, we’re still a long way from the day when your refrigerator sees that you’re out of milk and orders a new gallon, or when your suitcase checks your calendar for out-of-town meetings and makes sure your travel clothes have been washed and folded.
No Lingua Franca
In its most basic sense, the Internet is just a network that connects any given device to any other given device. That connection alone, however, doesn’t mean that these gadgets will know how to talk to one another, much less that they’ll have anything to say.
When devices can communicate, it’s generally via one or more “protocols,” or specialized languages for handling particular tasks. You’ve almost certainly encountered the most popular protocol on the Internet – the HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. (Yes, that’s the “http://” you sometimes see leading off Web addresses in your browser.) Continue reading on readwrite.com