Who invented the Internet of Things (IoT)?

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Who invented the Internet of Things (IoT)?

If you perform an internet search and ask “who invented the IoT” sadly you don’t get straight answer. There are so many people involved it could be argued that nobody knows. However, I, using a little poetic licence will present my factual thoughts and beliefs.

A search does of course bring up, and rightly so, the likes of Kevin Ashton who is purported to have coined the phrase Internet of Things and we certainly must not obviate from mentioning Tim Berners Lee for inventing the WWW! Bob Kahn, is a American Electrical Engineer who invented, along with Vint Cerf,   TCP and IP – protocols at the heart of the internet.

From this it follows the multitude of fantastic devices which fill our IoT world: Smart meters, remote monitors, vehicle telematics, connected lights, ecommerce, security, implantable medical devices (there is the story of a human heart connected to the internet), Plants (yes plants! The leafy type),  livestock. – The list really is endless with crazy (but no less brilliant) IoT devices and ideas.

So that’s today! The 21st Century. However, I believe the origins go back much much further than today.

Everybody knows famous  scientists and engineers such as Einstein, Edison, Marconi and such like but in my mind (and many others!!!)  two genius pioneers should also receive some credit for inventing the IoT. They may not have been aware they were inventing it but they deserve a mention;  they are James Clerk Maxwell and Nikola Tesla.

James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell

Maxwell basically took the works of people like Faraday and Gauss and unified electricity, magnetism and light to formulate the first theory of electromagnetic field of which radio is one (and also the signals which race up and down some communication cables).

Nikola Tesla (1857-1943) American inventor. Photograph, 1915. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Nikola Tesla (1857-1943) American inventor. Photograph, 1915. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Tesla on the other hand gave us many inventions including the AC motor (power), high frequency power, first demonstrated a remote controlled boat which he called the “teleautomation”.

There is a tad amount of controversy around who actually invented radio and as a young researcher in electromagnetics, Maxwell and Tesla were always connected to work I was involved in so perhaps I am just a little biased.  There are other equally eminent people such as Hertz, Marconi, Popov, Volta the list goes on, who can also take a bow as influencing the IoT or even part of its invention, but as far as I am concerned without Maxwell and Tesla we would be living in a different world.

So, in summary, the IoT is a brilliant incarnation and the pioneers  that built it need to be recognized, but let’s not forget the giants upon whose shoulders it was built!

By Joe Lomako, source: http://europe-ul.com/who-invented-the-internet-of-things-iot/

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An Introduction to the Internet of Things


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