The Cloud and the Internet of Things

Back in 1982, some smart aleck at Carnegie Mellon University thought it would be fun to modify a Coke machine by giving it a network interface. That way, anyone on campus could remotely check in on the machine’s stock of their preferred beverage (and even how cold it was). When I first heard about this, long ago, I thought it was a brilliant but silly hack—fun, sure, but ultimately pointless.

In the years since, however, people have figured out how to connect almost any conceivable object to the Internet. Using tiny, low-cost controllers (usually with embedded Wi-Fi transceivers, but sometimes with Bluetooth or other wireless circuitry), engineers have added Internet connectivity to light bulbs, thermostats, ...

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