So, What is the “Internet of Things”?

So, What is the “Internet of Things”?

You’re not alone in thinking that the phrases all jumble together: internet of things, IoT, internet of everything, IoE, connected home, smart home, connected devices, wearables, thereables, etc. and then some. In a new industry like this, it can be confusing to know the exact definition or to be clear about what is the “right” phrase.

We’re here to simplify this:

From our point of view, wearables (aka wearable tech or wearable technologies, there is no difference) are a part of the internet of things. Wearables are worn on or around the body. You don’t wear a charging handbag, you carry it–but for us it fits the definition because it is worn very near the body.

So, just what is the internet of things?

This excerpt from my upcoming book about the future of commerce should clear it up:

Traditionally, we’ve used the internet to connect one computer to another.  The idea behind the internet of things (also called the IoT) is that computers can now connect to everyday objects and vice versa.

As it becomes trivially inexpensive to add sensors or an internet connection to just about anything from household appliances to houseplants, we get information, send commands, and work alongside the objects we find in our day-to-day environments.  This means the internet is not just speaking in zeros and ones, it’s also speaking in atoms– the physical objects that make up the world around us.

With the internet of things, your house knows when someone arrives.  Your thermostat knows the weather outside and adjusts the temperature accordingly.  In a fun experiment from MIT Media Lab, your jacket even hugs you when someone likes your post on Facebook.  The internet of things, in other words, is about giving all kinds of “things” a digital presence, and with wearable technology that means giving people a new kind of digital presence, too.  Fitness bands track your physical activities with a digital counter, smart watches dress your wrist with a convenient window into your digital life, and pendants for kids keep parents up to date on their location.

Much of what we do is about bringing the digital world into our physical spaces. The internet of things brings the physical world into the digital realm.

The internet of things brings the physical world into the digital realm.

Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish Third Wave Magazine, the world’s only Fashion Tech publication. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.