Evolution of IoT Over the Years

Evolution of IoT over the years

Evolution of IoT Over the Years

With the rising adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), the modern world is becoming broader and faster in terms of connectivity. As we know, IoT refers to the millions of physical devices that are connected to the internet and provides a platform for every industry to foster innovation and productivity. Although the technology is in its infant stage, the potential it holds for businesses is massive and it represents the next evolution of the connected world where it won’t be remiss to say that – “Interconnectedness is the new normal.”

A Timeline of IoT’s Evolution

The evolution of IoT as it stands today began just a few decades ago with the development of ARPANET, the first connected network and the granddad of today’s ‘Internet’. The history of IoT starts from here and follows a timeline of milestone moments which we will chronicle below:

  • 1982 – A graduate student in Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science department wants to know if his department’s soda vending machine has cold soda bottles but doesn’t want to go all the way there to check as the machine is quite a distance from his classroom. So, with the help of two fellow students and a research engineer, he develops a code that can let anyone on the university ARPANET monitor the status of the vending machine; whether it has soda bottles and whether they are cold or not. The evolution of IoT began here.
  • 1989 – English computer scientist Tim Berners Lee proposes the framework of the World Wide Web and lays the foundation of the Internet.
  • 1990 – MIT’s John Romkey invents a toaster that can be turned on or off via the Internet. It was connected to a computer as there was no Wi-Fi then, but this toaster is considered to be the world’s first IoT device – the first ‘thing’ in the Internet of Things.
  • 1993 – Quentin Stafford-Fraser and Paul Jardetzky from the University of Cambridge build the Trojan Room Coffee Pot in their computer laboratory where an image of its interior is uploaded to the building’s server thrice every minute for people to check the level of coffee when they want a cup.
  • 1999 – Current Executive Director of Auto-ID Labs at MIT, Kevin Ashton, coins the term Internet of Things (IoT) in a presentation he makes at Proctor & Gamble about linking RFIDs in their supply chain to the internet.
  • 2003-2004 – The term IoT starts to be used widely in mainstream publications like The Guardian and Scientific American.
  • 2005 – The United Nations International Telecommunications Union acknowledges the impact of IoT in its report.
  • 2008 – The first IoT conference is held in Zurich, bringing together researchers and practitioners from academia and industry to take part in the sharing of knowledge. In the same year, the US National Intelligence Council recognized IoT as one of the six disruptive civil technologies. The Evolution of IoT gained popularity from this point onwards.
  • 2011 – The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (CIBSG) announces in their white paper that the true birth of IoT was between 2008 and 2009 where the number of things connected to the internet exceeded the number of people connected to it.
  • 2012 and beyond – Companies like Apple and Samsung make waves with their smartphones, there is a proliferation of AI-powered personal assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, we all start to have devices that control individual things in our home, all working in concert with our computers and phones to share data and interact. Today, all our devices work in tandem over the internet


The future seems ripe with a host of endless possibilities which only go to show that the evolution of IoT and the growth of IoT technologies has gone past the point of no return. Technology today not only pushes past barricades we once thought insurmountable but also moves us towards a world where equal access to the internet and its resulting technological marvels will be available to everyone. IoT will continue to evolve in many ways which will amaze and astound us, ultimately creating a truly limitless potential for everyone.

And imagine, all this because some kid craved soda and decided to make his trip to the vending machine easier!

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