The term Internet of Things is 16 years old. But the actual idea of connected devices had been around longer, at least since the 70s. Back then, the idea was often called “embedded internet” or “pervasive computing”. But the actual term “Internet of Things” was coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999 during his work at Procter & Gamble. Ashton who was working in supply chain optimization wanted to attract senior management’s attention to a new exciting technology called RFID. Because the internet was the hottest new trend in 1999 and because it somehow made sense, he called his presentation “Internet of Things”.
Even though Kevin grabbed the interest of some P&G executives, the term Internet of Things did not get widespread attention for the next 10 years.
The concept of IoT started to gain some popularity in the summer of 2010. Information leaked that Google’s StreetView service had not only made 360-degree pictures but had also stored tons of data of people’s Wifi networks. People were debating whether this was the start of a new Google strategy to not only index the internet but also index the physical world.
The same year, the Chinese government announced it would make the Internet of Things a strategic priority in their Five-Year-Plan.
In 2011, Gartner, the market research company that invented the famous “hype-cycle for emerging technologies” included a newly emerging phenomenon on their list: “The Internet of Things”.
The next year the theme of Europe’s biggest Internet conference LeWeb was the “Internet of Things”. At the same time popular tech-focused magazines like Forbes, Fast Company, and Wired starting using IoT as their vocabulary to describe the phenomenon.
In October of 2013, IDC published a report stating that the Internet of Things would be an $8.9 trillion market in 2020.
The term Internet of Things reached mass market awareness when in January 2014 Google announced to buy Nest for $3.2bn. At the same time, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was held under the theme of IoT.