The Internet of Things: A Primer for Information Professionals

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What were you doing in 2008? Whatever you were doing, it is unlikely that you were celebrating the eclipse of the human race (although the global financial crisis may have given you some cause to do so). According to Cisco (2011), in 2008, the number of things connected to the internet exceeded the number of people on earth. These “things” are not just media devices directly controlled by human beings (computers, laptops, phones, tablets) but sensors – attached to plants, animals, cars, buildings and factories.

The Internet of Things is now “a thing”. It is topic of discussion, speculation and investment. Like many of the topics we discuss in these articles, it is almost certainly a source of hype. However the broad range of technologies under the IoT heading are real and will have a long term impact on our personal and professional lives.

This article will begin by outlining the technological developments that have driven the development of IoT. We will continue by outlining some of the emerging applications that we can see now and in the near future. We will then discuss privacy and security concerns. We will end with some observations on the impacts of these technologies on information professionals.

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