The history of things they wanted to talk about: iot (internet of things)

If you expect to find a formal description of concepts such as IoT (Internet of Things) or Big Data it is better not to read this post.
Date 18/10/2016
Category IoT
The Internet is full of these definitions with every technical detail, scientific and historical rigor, and you won't have much trouble finding them. I wanted to make a brief introduction to the IoT concept, through simple reflectionsin a more natural language (or as we colloquially say "Internet of Things for our grandmothers to understand").

I will start from the initial reflection that things had always had something to say. But the poor "things" had either not been taught to speak, or they spoke and no one listened to them.
All "things" have information to give us, about them, about what surrounds them or about the conditions in which they find themselves. A bulb can tell whether it is on or off, but it can also tell us how much lux it emits or how much energy it consumes. But no one had asked the light bulb until now, she did as she was told, but she said nothing.

The same thing happened to the rest of the objects of our daily life, especially to those who go unnoticed doing their work. A tire that no one asked how much pressure it had (occasionally at a gas station, but not during long road trips), a door that no one was interested in the times it was opened or closed, or the lonely shelf that couldn't say was empty. Appliances of all kinds that faithfully fulfilled the functions for which they were designed, but could not "share" with anyone what was happening to them. We could go on enumerating an infinite number of these "things" that were willing to tell us something (containers, fields, vehicles, etc.), some of them already did it, they talked and talked, but nobody listened to them.

And the moment came when we began to listen to what they were saying, we made those who didn't speak speak, we decided to keep everything they said because, as a whole, this information could help us make decisions. And so it was that with the data they gave us, and thanks to advances in technology we were able to connect these objects to the Internet, store that information in large databases, treat them and transform them to convert them into valuable information and that this would give us the knowledge that would allow us to make decisions. Sometimes these decisions implied that we spoke back to "things" to change their behavior. And so, without knowing that all this was happening at a dizzying speed, in a few years IoT technology has become part of our lives (whether we know it or not).

You probably already know that there are appliances that you can control from your smartphone and they tell you when you have to put salt in the dishwasher, but I'll give you a couple of less common examples to illustrate this situation a little better.

  • Did you know that there are already several cities in Spain that are saving thousands of euros in gasoline thanks to the optimization of the routes of their trucks collecting recycled containers? In order for this to happen, the containers have had to talk and count how full they are, which makes it possible to optimise the routes of the collection trucks, with the consequent saving of time and fuel.
  • Did you know that there are already many plantations in agriculture that thanks to microclimate monitoring sensors are able to predict pests and optimize irrigation? These sensors do not remain only in the environmental conditions, they even manage to monitor the size of the stem and the size of the fruit, providing a constant information and in real time of the conditions of the harvests.

Of course to achieve this requires technology. These are the 3 basic technological pillars of any IoT project:

  • Sensors and devices for data capture and transmission
  • Cloud platforms that collect and store that data
  • Solutions that analyze, interpret, and present the information obtained

But if I talk about them, our grandmothers wouldn't understand this post.

Although I would like to mention at least one of them, and thinking which could best represent the concept of IoT, I think that Arduino undoubtedly deserves this mention.

Arduino is an open-source electronic platform which in its "IoT Manifesto" proposes that connected devices should be open, sustainable and supportive. If you've already begun to know the world of IoT, you know Arduino. What you may not know is that one of its co-founders is Spanish, from Zaragoza for more information, David Cuartielles.

It has been many years since I had the pleasure of sharing a few experiences with David in my early days at EFOR, when I was already passionate about free software and had no shortage of nuances of solidarity and sustainability.

In next articles we will talk in depth about some of these technologies, but if you want to learn more about them I encourage you to participate in one of the Workshops and HandsOnLab on IoT that we organize periodically, you can request more information in



Gonzalo Bernal