What is the Internet of Things?

The internet of things connects the physical world with the world of information through the web. They do so through TCP/IP, the set of standards that enables network connections and specifies how information finds its way to and from myriad connections it contains. TCP/IP was formulated in the 1970s by Vinton Cerf and Robert E. Kahn. The advent of TCP/IP v6, launched in 2006, added enormous new addressing capabilities to the internet, and enabled objects and the information they might carry in attached sensors or devices to be addressable and searchable across the web. This expanded address space is particularly useful for tracking objects that monitor sensitive equipment or materials, point-of-sale purchases, passport tracking, inventory management, identification, and similar applications. Embedded chips, sensors, or tiny processors attached to an object allow helpful information about the object, such as cost, age, temperature, color, pressure, or humidity to be transmitted over the internet. This simple connection allows remote management, status monitoring, tracking, and alerts if the objects they are attached to are in danger of being damaged or spoiled. Traditional web tools allow objects to be annotated with descriptions, photographs, and connections to other objects, and any other contextual information.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • I am not quite sure how I am feeling about IoT - is it more hype than potential for change? But I've been seeing so much about it lately - and capped by this CHE piece on how it is likely to impact education - that I think we need to pay attention to the possibilities, particularly when you connect dots with others trends such as robotics, AI and wearable technology. Where I see it having the most relevance for academic and research libraries is in the personalization of learning and the library experience. If our institutions put the right type of sensors in place so that our internal technologies are able to connect with our students' devices and wearable computing technology, that could allow us to provide a more personal library experience - or one in which we are able to do more to connect students and faculty to the resources and librarians who can support their success.- bells bells Nov 8, 2016
  • IoT is a relevant technology which drives the development of the Smart Campus. Libraries could engage in these kind of activities. - Laurents.Sesink Laurents.Sesink Nov 11, 2016- liusq liusq Nov 12, 2016 - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh Nov 13, 2016
  • I would add to the above comment that libraries should be engaged with their institutions in smart campus initiatives that involve the IoT and other technologies, especially from the learning perspective. This will not be without privacy challenges, but it's important to address these head-on. - sandore sandore Nov 11, 2016 - dianeb dianeb Nov 11, 2016- liusq liusq Nov 12, 2016 - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh Nov 13, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • That's a fairly technical description, so perhaps what it is missing is some of the ways in which IoT could make daily activities more convenient for individuals if their devices are talking to each other and communicating with other devices. One missing theme could relate to cybersecurity as it has been suggested that an IoT world could be far more subject to hacking.- bells bells Nov 8, 2016 - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh Nov 13, 2016
  • The technology exists. Now it is time to stimulate the use of the technology. Although maybe difficult libraries could stimulate innovative ideas which can make use of IoT. The Smart Campus approach is a way to do this. I see a parallel with linked open data. The potential of LOD was and still is huge but it needs a lot of stimulation to come up with real business cases. - Laurents.Sesink Laurents.Sesink Nov 11, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • There could be real opportunity here for academic and research libraries. One of our biggest challenges is creating the awareness among students and faculty about available library resources. It seems that IoT may allow academic libraries to push more information directly to the devices of their community members. I suspect that there would have to be some opt in from the users to allow the library to communicate with their devices. No doubt there will be some concerns among academic librarians that IoT technology will breach user privacy by collecting and sharing their private data between devices. Do we know where the data is stored, who has access to it and how long it is retained? We would want to learn more about how IoT affords its users some levels of privacy.- bells bells Nov 8, 2016 - sandore sandore Nov 11, 2016- liusq liusq Nov 12, 2016 - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh Nov 13, 2016
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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