Coming from a background firmly rooted in industrial software technology—in particular Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software—I may have different ideas about the Internet of Things (IoT) than you or your colleagues. As revolutionary as the end results may be, the truth is that the IoT is just a new name for a bunch of old ideas. In fact, in some ways the IoT is really just a natural extension and evolution of SCADA. It is SCADA that has burst free from its industrial trappings to embrace entire cities, reaching out over our existing Internet infrastructure to spread like a skin over the surface of our planet, bringing people, objects, and systems into an intelligent network of real‐time communication and control.
Not entirely unlike a SCADA system—which can include Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Human–Machine Interface (HMI) screens, database servers, large amounts of cables and wires, and some sort of software to bring all of these things together—an IoT system is also composed of several different technologies working together (Figure 17.1). That is to say you can’t just walk in to the electronics section of your local department store, locate the box labeled “IoT,” and carry it up to the counter to check out.