Although there are countries in which many of their inhabitants wonder what this thing called Internet is, there are thousands of factories producing technology for “The Internet of Things”, while scientists around the world try to consolidate a new concept: “The Internet of Everything”.
“The Internet of Things“, a concept that is increasingly being appropriated by people, media, and organizations worldwide, as it denotes an inevitable new reality on the web. Even though the term is very recent, reality shows that it is being overwhelmed by a much more novel, holistic and integral concept, which could mark the future route that the Internet will have to take in the next few years, it is the “Internet of Everything”.
What is the Internet of Everything and how is it different from the Internet of Things?
When talking about the Internet of Things, some authors tend to refer to a text presented by Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) in 2009, which predicted that there would be a time in the history of the Internet when there would be more things connected to the network than human beings. To be rigorous and fair, it is necessary to move to the year 1999, when the genius of Software: William Nelson Joy, better known as Bill Joy, as part of what he called the structure of ” Six Webs”, presented an estimated and adjusted projection of the “Internet of things”, in the framework of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The British Kevin Ashton, a prominent researcher at MIT, gave a famous conference to the multinational Procter & Gamble, where he presented the concept of the Internet of Things in a structured way, under the original English name: “That ‘Internet of Things’ Thing”.
For both Ashton and Cisco, “The Internet of Things” is nothing more than the ability for electronic devices, of daily use and different nature, to be connected to the Internet for the benefit of one or several users, without requiring regular and/or permanent human intervention for such connection.
The professor and researcher Ahmed Banafa, presented a definition of the Internet of things, which is very precise and relevant, on the BBVA Opend Mind portal in 2016:
“Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects accessed through the internet. These objects contain embedded technology to interact with internal states or the external environment. In other words, when an object can sense and communicate, it changes how and where decisions are made, and who makes them. For example, intelligent thermostats.” Ahmed Banafa
An ideal example to understand this concept is all the equipment frequently used in home automation: refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners, security cameras and in general all those devices connected to the Internet to simplify domestic processes, making people’s lives easier, by automating many of their functions, while everything occurs online and in the cloud.
Another example is cars that use the Internet connection to provide traffic information, announce mechanical failures and select the best possible route for the driver.
According to the forecasts of many experts from various countries, including Ashton, within a few years most of the equipment, machines and devices we use will be connected to the Internet and will perform their functions online and in the cloud in an automated manner.
The origin of the Internet of Everything
From a development and research perspective, seeking to optimize resources and increase the impact of the Internet of Things on people’s daily lives, a sector of the Internet access devices industry has undertaken for some years an initiative that aims to integrate systems, devices, people, processes, data, projects and experiences, promoting more relevant and efficient network connections, turning information into actions that create new capabilities, experiences and economic opportunities, a model that it decided to call: The Internet of Everything.
The Internet of Everything “brings together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before — turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries”. (Cisco, 2013).
But while the initiative and its subsequent definition started from an industry vision, over the years (2015 – 2018) the concept has gone viral around the world and seems to be emerging as a new vision of the internet, where efforts are no longer focused on individually understanding the function of each device that is connected, but rather on studying the mechanisms and understanding the impact of the possible connections that arise with the millions of devices and people online around the world. In other words, it is no longer about looking at each tree individually but about focusing on the forest.
The four great pillars of the Internet of Everything:
Although the concept is still very incipient and was created in the environments of industrial development, nowadays there seems to be a consensus among academics, industry and developers that the Internet of Everything is fundamentally based on the four big pillars:
- People: Connecting people in more relevant, valuable ways.
- Data: Converting data into intelligence to make better decisions.
- Processes: Delivering the right information to the right person (or machine) at the right time.
- Things: Physical devices and objects connected to the Internet and each other for intelligent decision making; (Internet of things).
The Paradox of the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything
To the extent that the concept of the Internet of Everything has started from the fourth pillar, that is, the Internet of things, a great paradox arises and that is the relationship and complementarity of both concepts, something that Dave Evans himself, a Cisco consultant, defined as follows:
“The Internet of Everything (IoE) with four pillars: people, process, data, and things builds on top of The Internet of Things (IoT) with one pillar: things. In addition, the Internet of Everything further advances the power of the Internet to improve business and industry outcomes, and ultimately make people’s lives better by adding to the progress of the Internet of Things”. (Dave Evans, Chief Futurist Cisco Consulting Services).
The challenge of the future:
The Internet of Everything undoubtedly stands as the best global strategy to plan, manage, articulate, market and enhance the use of the Internet, so all agents that make up the value chain, must be linked and be part of this strategy, especially Telecommunications, cable operators and indeed all ISPs, because it will be a great opportunity to achieve greater efficiency, not only in the provisioning, but in the business models, which could open new windows to alleviate the strong pressure exerted by the high demand for better and greater connections.
In conclusion, the Internet of Everything is the great opportunity to build and manage a much more universal, versatile, intelligent, safe and efficient Internet, where things and people interact in a fluid and responsible way, seeking to achieve a better quality of life while new business models will emerge in a forest populated with opportunities. The Internet of Everything is a revolution in the way of understanding the network, which will impact on cities (Smartcity), industry, academy, organizations, but above all, on the telecommunications sector, which will finally have a clear and coherent route that will allow it to continue growing in an orderly, sustainable and profitable way.