The Origin of Internet of Things

The origin of IoT

We use the Internet of Things in our life every day. One way or the other, we are dependent on IoT. There are a number of similar technologies, but IoT is the most popular of them all. Can you imagine the world without the Internet of Things today? You almost can’t. But, the origin of IoT did not happen overnight. It took a few years for the Internet of Things to come into the spotlight and change our lives. Who came up with the idea? How did the Internet of Things originate? Let’s find out about the origin of the Internet of Things.

The history behind the Internet of Things

The original idea of connected devices had been around for long, at least since the 1970s. There are instances of machines communicating since the 1800s. For instance, the electromagnetic telegraph was invented in 1832. It was by Baron Schilling in Russia. Later, in 1833 Wilhelm Weber and Carl Friedrich Gauss invented their own code to communicate over a distance of 1200 m. The first instance of IoT being used was in fact, in a Coca-Cola vending machine. It was in the early 80s. This happened at Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hence, the origin of IoT goes long back.

Origin of IoT

The man responsible for the origin of the term Internet of Things is Kevin Ashton. In 1999, Kevin discovered the Internet of Things during his work at Procter&Gamble. He, in fact, made a presentation titled Internet of Things, while working as the branding manager at P&G.

Ashton had the job to help in launching a line of cosmetics. However, it concerned him that particular shade of brown lipstick was always sold out every time he went to the local shops. He checked with the ones in charge of P&G’s supply chain, they told him that many lipsticks in that color were available in the warehouse. This wasn’t a good thing. Kevin wanted to know where his lipstick was, what was happening to it, and why the store couldn’t have it in stock. However, no one had a proper answer.

During the same time, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags were developed. These tags were embedded with tiny radio-enabled chips. They could transfer small bits of data wirelessly. During his “Internet of Things” presentation, Ashton proposed how the RFID tags could be used on P&G products. This would allow the identification and tracking of specific objects throughout the supply chain, meaning that the location of stock could be better and more easily monitored. Knowing that the “Internet” – still a jargon itself at the time – would interest the executives he was pitching to, Ashton worked it into the title of his presentation to the board. The origin of the Internet of Things goes back to this incident.


Although the origin of the Internet of Things heads back to 1999, the world had already seen IoT under a different light. The instances of machines communicating with each other in the early 1800s are an example in itself. Indeed, IoT is now an industry in and of itself. A few years back, the idea of connecting everything with everything sounded like some futuristic idea. – But, not something we would experience in this lifetime. Then it started to happen. The internet boomed across the world. Suddenly, everyone started buying a computer. People were all “surfing the web” now and then. They started sending emails as well. Businesses around the world realized that they could gain a lot through electronic communication and digital transactions. Knowing all about it now, we can conclude that the origin of the Internet of Things is from Kevin Ashton.

Origin of IoT

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