We use a workstation in an office located miles away to turn on the lights in our home. Our refrigerator reminds us to pick up milk on the way home. Based on previous purchases, a packet of cookies on the supermarket shelf recommends that we buy it. Due to a “smart” supply chain, the cookies themselves are on the shelf. When we reach home, the thermostat has already been set to the preferred temperature, whether that be toasty or brisk. The connected world of connected devices, objects, and people is known as the Internet of Things. Samuel Greengard provides a tour of this new world and how it will affect how we live and work in this book.
According to Greengard, the Internet of Things (IoT) is still in its infancy. In order to enable a new generation of embedded and immersive technology, smartphones, cloud computing, RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, sensors, and miniaturization are coming together. Greengard explores the conceptual and practical underpinnings of a linked world by tracing the history of the Internet of Things back to the early days of personal computers and the Internet. He looks at the industrial Internet and machine-to-machine communication, the foundation for smart manufacturing and end-to-end supply chain visibility; the expanding range of smart consumer products and services, from Fitbit fitness bands to mobile banking apps; the practical and technical challenges of building the IoT; and the dangers of a connected world, such as a widening digital divide and threats to privacy and security. Finally, he discusses the IoT’s long-term effects on society by describing a startling “Day in the Life” of IoT connections in 2025.