The Internet of Things (IoT) has become commonplace on the technological front during recent years. Soon, connected technology will likely be solidified as the norm in offices and living environments nationwide.

But how did the IoT come to fruition? How did the idea of interconnectivity evolve from a Bradbury-esque fantasy into something as expansive and promising as it is today? Here is a brief history of the IoT.


Defining the landscape

The term “Internet of Things” was first coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, then the executive director of the Auto-ID Center. Later in the year, the Auto-ID Center was succeeded by Auto-ID Labs, which was a much more research oriented institution. Here, the Electronic Product Code or EPC, was developed (in other words, “a global RFID-based item identification system intended to replace the UPC bar code”).

Then, in 2002, Forbes released an article titled “The Internet of Things,” in which Ashton’s phrasing was referenced. The article included quotes such as “stores have eyes. Now they’re getting brains. Soon tiny wireless chips stuck on shampoo bottles and jeans will track all that you wear and buy.”

The IoT, as we know it today, was beginning to take shape as a very possible future reality.


Shaping what we know today

In 2004, Machine to Machine technology (M2M) became identified in articles as a landscape for interconnectivity. At the same time, the “internet of things” concept became a more frequent focal point in writing from various technology commentators, including those of the Boston Globe and Scientific American.  Subsequently, a 2005 report from the International Telecommunications Union also addressed the IoT (the report was the seventh in a series of insights on the internet in general).

Fast-forward to 2008-2009, the unofficial “birth” year of the IoT. During this time, the IoT was identified by the United States National Intelligence Council as one of the country’s “six disruptive civil technologies,” an earlier example of IoT’s polarization. From here, IoT-ready devices began their climb to dominance on the technology front. Smartphones, tablets, bluetooth devices, and other “smart” products brought a previously impossible set of expectations into hands and households across the world.


Landing in the present

As the IoT continued to grow, major companies in various industries began to take notice of its potential, including Cisco and IBM. Today, many of these companies have continued to take full advantage of the IoT, using it to fuel a long list of conveniences and features offered to their respective users.


Now, IoT stands at the forefront of technological innovation. What began as a unique phrase and a sci-fi esque vision has evolved into a normal part of developed life.