The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that are embedded into electronics and computers, which allows machines to communicate with each other. Kevin Ashton coined the term in 1999. It is estimated that upwards of 50 billion objects will make up the Internet of Things by 2020.
Ultimately, the Internet of Things is about increased machine-to-machine communication, built on the structures of cloud computing, without which the Internet of Things cannot exist. One application of the Internet of Things being proposed is the use of smart cement. When roads or bridges are being built, sensors are embedded into the concrete. These sensors not only monitor the physical attributes of the road (cracks, etc.), but also could potentially communicate road conditions, such as ice, to cars driving over the road. The implication for the Internet of Things is that everyday devices will be interconnected. Smart roads talking to smart cars could end traffic congestion.
The United States currently ranks fourth in the world with IoT devices per 100 people, behind South Korea, Denmark, and Switzerland. It is believed that IoT devices will be standard in all forms of energy-consuming devices in the near future, balancing energy consumption more efficiently. One potential problem may be the proliferation of remote control devices in a person's home, used to control the Internet of Things.