(Graphic by Autumn Mariano)
(Graphic by Autumn Mariano)

People can now connect any household device to the Internet by placing a simple sensor that will communicate through the Internet.

According to Weber State University Internet history professor, Eric Swedin, the Internet of Things is a marketing slogan for what has been happening for several decades.

Everyone knows that their smartphones, tablets, and laptops are all connected to the Internet. People in an older generation might also think of DVR’s, home stereos, and televisions being connected to the Internet.

Computer engineers have been coming up with ways to connect everyday items such as, watches, refrigerators, cars and airplanes to the Internet.

“I think it would be cool but unnecessary to connect everything to the Internet,” said Emily Tanner, freshman. “If it was connected to your refrigerator maybe it would tell you what you needed from the grocery store.”

Swedin said that the Internet of Things combines very small sensors and very small computers that have the ability to communicate through the Internet.

A sensor can be put on any item. One can be put on clothing, a dog tag, or even buildings. The sensors will relay the data back to computers, using the Internet. The possibilities of applications is endless.

“I think that a lot of fascinating applications will come out of the Internet of Things, such as accurate measurements of weather from networks of literally millions of sensors,” said Swedin. “I think that the current attention on the idea is mostly marketing hype as networking hardware companies find new markets to expand to.”

People have already purchased routers and other networking devices that they need but the networking companies want to sell more inventory.

As most new developments in technology, the Internet of Things will not occur as quickly as people have predicted, but the technology could go several different directions.

“I think that it’s not necessarily the matter of efficiency or usefulness but the matter of needfulness,” said Anna Stuart, freshman and business administration major.

Swedin mentions that the Internet of Things is only the infrastructure foundation, it is the applications that will be interesting.

These sensors can generate massive amounts of data, although it will not start the next industrial revolution.

According to www.zdnet.com, right now there are 14.8 billion connectable things. It is projected that in 2020 that number will rise to around 50 billion things that will be connectable.

“I think it’s kind of sad how much our life revolves around the Internet,” said nursing major, Kaylee Russell. “Society has turned so that everything is on a computer instead of actually focusing on the human experience a little bit more.”

Russell mentioned that people can focus on the human experience more by being with people and talking to them instead of focusing on the technology in front of you.

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