It seems like the Internet is everywhere — and with so many wireless devices, you wouldn’t be wrong. But when you hear the term “Internet of Things,” it’s not just about the World Wide Web. Instead, it’s a reference to the latest industrial and technological revolution we find ourselves in: where the Internet is connecting devices and people on a scale we’ve only ever imagined in science fiction.
But before we dive into what the Internet of Things (or otherwise known as IoT) is, it’d help to know the revolutions that came before and what makes this one so different.
The Fourth Revolution
That’s right. There are three revolutions that came before the one we’re living in, each with their own massive impact on virtually every aspect of human civilization. While there are entire books on this very topic, we’ll give you the run-down:
- The First Industrial Revolution was between the 1760s to the 1830s. This is the one most of us learned about in school: the shift from agrarian life on the farm to city living on the assembly line. Mechanization that favored machine production rather than making things by hand is what defined this period alongside steam- and water-powered engines.
- The Second Industrial Revolution spans the 1840s up to World War I. With machines came standardization and efficiency, most notably interchangeable parts so if something broke down, it could be repaired or replaced much quicker. Telegraph lines, railroads, and electricity were the mainstays of this revolution.
- The Third Industrial Revolution — otherwise known as the Digital Revolution — started in the 1950s and led up to the 1990s. This period was when digital devices started replacing analog ones, and computers and the mass production of their parts became popular, alongside using computers to automate everything from sales transactions to instantaneous communication around the globe.
That brings us to the fourth and most current revolution, otherwise known as the Information Revolution. From the 1990s to the present day, this revolution has seen the increased use of computers as well as robotics and AI automation. It’s also defined by the way people and companies leverage the Internet to gather data, create some of your favorite media like memes, television streaming, online gaming, and more, while also allowing people to collaborate and connect devices from phones to thermostats to toaster ovens.
This giant web of connections and the computerization of appliances is the heart of IoT.
So Why is the Internet of Things Important?
People and their various devices are connected now more than ever. Even the phone you’re carrying (or even reading this very post on) is just a mini-computer that’s sending signals back and forth with the rest of the Internet. It might also be your camera, your email inbox, your MP3 player, or even your remote control. Pick a purpose and there’s probably a dozen apps for it — and if not, give it a few months and there might be. What a time to be alive when the device in your pocket lets you FaceTime with your dog at work, right?
As a wireless Internet company, we’re also a product of IoT innovations. pzTV, for instance, as well as other streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu leverage the Internet in ways traditional cable couldn’t. But no matter what the future holds, the Internet of Things isn’t going anywhere any time soon. We’re just excited to see where this new revolution brings us.