IoT’s Significance? In a word: Context

The fundamental value of Internet of Things is its ability to provide context. When connected to the Internet, a lifeless object becomes an object with an activity stream.

Connecting the previously unconnected creates context by establishing the object as a platform.

This is where our definition of context expands. Apple did this to the mobile phone when it transformed the phone from a calling and SMS tool to a full-fledged application platform. Now imagine your car as a platform; as a living and evolving hub of activity, applications, interactions, data input and output, highly customized and customizable to both your solicited and unsolicited requests and behaviors. In this (not-so-far-off) state, what was once lifeless now creates context in multiple dimensions, for the manufacturer, the consumer, and potentially a host of others in its ecosystem.

Technology now enables intra-domain connectivity, building more context.

Traditionally companies view electronic and electromechanical products as stand-alone products, which are not generally connected to each other. Yet, a true understanding of IoT requires this construct to be broken. Read that again. Just as our neurological synapses take in and output information from different parts of our bodies simultaneously, wireless sensor networks often connect different domains together in a naturally integrated and contextual way. It is the connectivity of seemingly un-connectable components or domains, and the management of these interactions, that will deliver the intelligence (i.e. ‘smart’ services) IoT enables.