Theme timeline

A history of the Internet of Things

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According to a 2011 Cisco white paper written by Dave Evans, the IoT was born between 2008 and 2009, when the number of connected devices exceeded the number of people worldwide. Of course, evidence of implementation of IoT-related concepts dates back decades, but many academics saw 2009 as the turning point. Today, billions of connected devices exist, such as cars, fridges, speakers, watches, and heart monitors. 

The timeline below shows the key milestones in the history of the IoT and includes predictions on how it will evolve. 


Siemens funded the development of M1, a GSM data module for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications.


Procter & Gamble's Kevin Ashton coined the term ‘Internet of Things’.


LG announced the world's first internet-connected fridge.


BigBelly Solar launched a solar-powered trash bin that could send notifications over the internet when it was full.


The UN published its first report on the IoT via the ITU.


The IPSO Alliance was founded to promote the use of IP in connected devices.


The number of connected devices exceeded the number of people on Earth.


Nest Labs launched the Nest Learning Thermostat.


Qualcomm founded the AllSeen Alliance, and Intel set up the Open Internet Consortium.


Google acquired Nest Labs and launched Google Glass. Apple launched the Apple Watch and the Apple HomeKit.


GE announced its Predix IoT platform.


Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and long-range low-power wireless platforms began to gain traction.


The rollout of 5G began alongside national LPWAN initiatives.


Covid-19 disrupted the IoT ecosystem. IoT-based tools supported workplace distancing and contact tracing. The US IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act was signed into law. Cisco discontinued its smart city offering.


IoT with advanced analytics became prominent in healthcare and advanced manufacturing. IoT security became a top priority among vendors. 


Intelligent edge went mainstream and became a primary accelerator for IoT.


IoT-related supply chain and chip manufacturing became more flexible and robust.


Industrial IoT connections will overtake consumer ones, according to GSMA.


IoT connections will reach almost 25 billion globally, according to GSMA. IoT-related supply chain and chip manufacturing will become more flexible and robust. 


According to GlobalData forecasts, the global IoT market will be worth $1,677bn.


The use of AR and VR in IoT will be pervasive.


There will be one trillion IoT devices, according to predictions by Arm.

Source: GlobalData

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article. 

GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence uses proprietary data, research, and analysis to provide a forward-looking perspective on the key themes that will shape the future of the world’s largest industries and the organisations within them.