Does IoT exist? Should it exist?

Does IoT exist? Should it exist?

Recently, during JKLU Automation Week 2020 I had the opportunity to exchange ideas with students, professors and practitioners about the concept of Internet of Things (IoT).

The European Research Cluster on the IoT states that it is “a dynamic global network infrastructure with self-configuring capabilities, based on standard and interoperable communication protocols, where physical and virtual things […] are seamlessly integrated […]“.

This could be a good definition, if you omit to consider one fact: the infrastructure mentioned above does not fully exist yet, and some authors even claim it may never exist, being reliability, security and privacy only one of the most important challenges.

As of today (I am writing this note in 2020) the IoT is in fact a collection of separate networks, with limited interoperability and self-configuring capability.

It means that we are still far from the ideal lifestyle that “The Jetsons” made look so pleasant. But, more seriously, it also means that professionals who can demonstrate IoT related skills will continue to enjoy many good job opportunities in future: the lack of people with enough experience and expertise is often one of the main reasons of IoT projects failure.

Another term in vogue today is “Cyber-Physical Systems” (CPS). They can be defined as “integration of computation, networking, and physical processes”.

It seems the word “Cybernetique” (from Greek word meaning to steer, navigate or govern) was first used in 1834 by the great French scientist André-Marie Ampère to describe the Science of Government (Essai sur la philosophie des sciences).

In 1948, the term “Cybernetics” was borrowed by Norbert Wiener (one of the twentieth century’s most brilliant scientists), to define the study of control and communication, both in living and non-living systems.

Indeed, if you read Wiener’s books today, it is remarkable how fresh and relevant they still are. The reason for this could be that he is not mainly concerned by technical issues, but by the implications of technology on human life, which is of course an universal concern.

By

Dr. Gustavo Sanchez, Institute of Engineering and Technology, JKLU

 

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