Confusion Abounds as Buzzwords Converge on Defining Internet of Things

By Gareth Noyes

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Trends seem to have a life of their own, especially in technology. Clusters of thoughts and ideas converge to re-frame an idea or define something completely new and then buzzwords are born. But before they reach critical mass and gain widespread acceptance, they often go through painful phases where the same words are used, but we get lost between concepts and definitions. However, when good ideas solve real business problems, the buzzword sticks.

Take ‘The Cloud’ for example. Back at Oracle OpenWorld in 2008, Larry Ellison was quoted as saying:

“The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we've redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can't think of anything that isn't cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women's fashion. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It's complete gibberish. It's insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?”

In the same vein that Thomas Watson is often mocked for misunderstanding the potential of computers with his statement, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers,” some mistakenly imply that Ellison misunderstood the opportunity, which was not the case. He was pointing out the process by which the market hypes buzzwords before we converge on widespread acceptance of their meaning. Roll forward to today, and the notion of The Cloud has gained widespread acceptance and the debate of what The Cloud is has subsided as everyone focuses on the opportunity it represents, and you’re more likely to hear people talk about what their cloud strategy actually is.

We see the same thing with ‘The Internet of Things (IoT)’ or ‘Software-defined networking (SDN).’ Whilst we continue the active dialogue re: the definition of what IoT is and how it differs from M2M, or how intelligent systems differ from embedded systems, what we’re seeing is the widespread acceptance of a growing trend which we’re still struggling to succinctly define. What is clear though, is that the industry is starting to focus on the opportunity it represents.

What’s your IoT strategy?

 

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