Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

The Business History of the Internet of Things

Siya Carla
Siya Carla
Senior Business Development Executive at Finoit

Learning from past uses of IoT technology can show you how to use the tech for yourself.

No matter how long a technology has been in the market, shaping it into a usable design, transforming it into a product or service and getting it accepted and used by customers is going to be a long and challenging process. For example, Karl Benz receives credit for the first car design somewhere around 1885 and 1886. The design and features of the product then clearly differ from cars in 2018. New technologies helped the product evolve. The automobile manufacturing technology is more advanced, with new features and functions frequenlty added without changing the core function of the product. These new features and functions are mainly improved techniques, because technology tends to affect our technique and methods of how we do things. These disruptive technologies bring change and a new disruption occurs and the circle continues with each new technology.

The internet of things (IoT) is one technology with the power to change the future of how we consume resources, while also enabling us to make better business decisions. The technological concept of IoT is about connecting tangible objects with wired and wireless networks so that they can communicate with each other and provide necessary data. This communication can be established through sensors and actuators embedded in the objects, which can be anything from your coffee machine to an ATM to your car engine. 

IoT technology can greatly benefit your business. To understand how this technology can help your business, it's important to understand the history behind the technology. Learning from the past can benefit your business in the future. 

The beginning

The term IoT was first coined in 1999 to promote Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track the tags attached to a product. This method for automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) got so popular that it was adopted by many industries, including the automobile industry as well as the textile and garment industries. The purpose was to gain insight on the current production status of the product and to prevent theft.

It took another 10 years for the term to gain popularity in the market and an extra fours years to gain recognition from the masses. Somewhere around 2014, the term IoT witnessed a surge in popularity. I say, "the term," because the phenomenon of the IoT is so comprehensive and broad that many industrialists have not even able to implement and seek the real benefit of the IoT technology on a large scale, until recently.  

Current IoT applications

Since the beginning, the technology has been applied in many business segments including consumer, infrastructure and enterprise.


In the consumer segment, IoT has been truly disruptive. People in the consumer segment may not be aware of the term, but they are successfully using the technology and enjoying it. Wearable technology is the latest buzz among consumers. The popularity of the Apple Watch and Fitbit is well known. There are numerous other products such as Smart Key and Smart Lock based on electronic access and authorization systems that also benefit consumers on a daily basis.  


Here, infrastructure can be used as an umbrella term for manufacturing, construction, building and home, energy management and more. Large scale implementation of IoT can be seen in this segment. IoT has efficiently helped in monitoring and controlling operations for urban and rural construction projects such as railway tracks and bridges. The automated monitoring systems have not only reduced the process loopholes, but also helped in reducing the overall cost. Implementation of IoT in the manufacturing sector has been helpful with the integration of devices, allowing sound control and better management. These devices include sensing, identification, communication and processing devices. They are exceptionally helpful in meeting product demand and achieving real-time optimization throughout the supply chain.   


With IoT for enterprise, businesses have successfully rolled out campaigns in the corporate setting to achieve common business goals. Dedicated IoT apps for specific process and task management purposes have enabled businesses to reduce the workflow and release employees from performing repetitive tasks. Use of IoT apps by businesses have also given rise to IoT application development companies. It is up to consumers to set priorities and plan how they are going to gather data before relying on an IoT application development company.  


IoT has cemeneted its credentials in the agriculture sector with the launch of devices that allow users to collect data about temperature, wind speed, livestock, soil content, rainfall and humidity. These devices help farmers reduce risk and manage waste and crops efficiently. These devices have also helped the insurance industry obtain data and provide precise insurance information to the farmers. Machina Research published a report in Jan. 2016 and shared that connected agriculture devices are expected witness a surge of 22 percent by 2024.

The growth rate

The global IoT market is expected to grow at the CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 28.5 percent, reaching up to $457 billion by 2020. The technology will be adopted by sectors such as transportation, discrete manufacturing, logistics and utilities.

The future

Many companies have transformed themselves into IoT companies. Businesses should consider how the IoT can benefit their company as well as their industry. By planning for the future and understanding technology's role in future innovations, you can keep your business one step ahead of competitors. 


Image Credit: TippaPatt/Shutterstock
Siya Carla
Siya Carla
business.com Member
See Siya Carla's Profile
A highly motivated and enthusiastic Business Development Executive with an enviable track record of delivering exceptional commercial results spanning the past decade. I believe myself an ambitious achiever, whose strong leadership of both fields - Business Development and Project Management, have enabled this consistent delivery of results. Strong at both creating and executing strategy.