As with most startup industries, IoT has always been a risky idea. Teaching the machines surrounding us to communicate? It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but that’s the reality in which we now live. In 1950 Alan Turing recommended that “it is best to provide the machine with the best sense organs that money can buy, and then teach it to understand and speak English. This process could follow the normal teaching of a child.” While the potential rewards for creating sentient shop vacs are many, the risks also pile up.

We still do not understand the power and scope of pervasive entertainment, nor do we fully grasp the role of IoT in the global hacking which has become more a part of our world after recent document divulgences and election meddling. In 2014, the number of mobile devices and machines finally surpassed the human population, and today over 22 billion machines communicate daily through IoT. As the Internet of Things continues to grow both in size and capability, it’s important to step back and understand where it came from, what it can do, and where it may go. Here’s an IoT timeline taking a look at the trajectory of this booming industry.


  • 1990: John Romkey created a toaster that could be turned on and off over the Internet for the 1989 INTEROP conference.
  • 1996: Just three years after the United States government allowed civilians to use GPS, GM releases the first cars with OnStar technology.
  • 1999: Kevin Ashton, formerly of Proctor & Gamble and MIT, coins the term “Internet of Things.”


  • 2000: LG releases first IoT refrigerator.
  • 2002: Amazon launches AWS, ushering in cloud technology.
  • 2008-09: Cisco declares IoT “born” sometime in this frame as more things are connected to the internet than people.


  • 2010: Former Apple execs Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers found home security system Nest.
  • 2014: In order to create IoT standards, AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM, and Intel form the Industrial Internet Consortium.
  • 2018: During Black Hat, IoT security firm Armis surveys over 100 IoT and security professionals. According to Charlie Osborn, “A single security flaw or overlooked security update can blackout an entire city. Vendors are still catching up with implementing patch processes in IoT products, and cyberattacks are seemingly becoming a weapon of choice in today’s world. IoT security must be taken seriously or the future of such next-generation technologies could be darker than we think.”

IoT is a rapidly expanding tool. Utilized correctly, it has the potential to augment human and technological advances exponentially. It’s important to keep in mind the risks that come with such power, and protect our businesses and information accordingly. IoT will continue to shape the future, and it’s up to us to control what that looks like.

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