Brief History Of the Internet of Things

Considering how much we are talking about IoT, let’s take a look at the brief history of the Internet of Things

1832: An electromagnetic telegraph was created by Baron Schilling in Russia, and in 1833 Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber invented their own code to communicate over a distance of 1200 m within Göttingen, Germany.

1892: Nikola Tesla created a basic design for radio and on November 8, 1898 he patented a wireless radio controlled robot-boat which was the first of it’s kind at the time.

internet of things history tesla


1926: Nikola Tesla in an interview with Colliers magazine:

When wireless* is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole………and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.

*not the 802.11 version 🙂

1974: Beginnings of TCP/IP

1982: A modified Coke machine became the first internet-connected appliance

1990: Considered the first IoT device, John Romkey created a toaster that could be turned on and off over the Internet for the October ’89 INTEROP conference. Dan Lynch, President of Interop, promised Romkey that, if Romkey was able to “bring up his toaster on the Net,” the appliance would be given star placement in the floor-wide exhibitors at the conference. The toaster was connected to a computer with TCP/IP networking.

1999: A big year for the IoT

The Internet of Things term is coined by Kevin Ashton executive director of the Auto-ID Center:

I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure the phrase “Internet of Things” started life as the title of a presentation I made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999. Linking the new idea of RFID in P&G’s supply chain to the then-red-hot topic of the Internet was more than just a good way to get executive attention. It summed up an important insight which is stil often misunderstood.
The Electronic Product Code or EPC is developed, a global RFID-based item identification system intended to replace the UPC bar code.

internet of things history refrigerator2000: LG announces its first Internet refrigerator plans.

2003-2004: The term “Internet of Things” is mentioned in main-stream publications like The Guardian, Scientific American and the Boston Globe.

Projects like CooltownInternet0, and the Disappearing Computer initiative seek to implement some of the ideas, and the Internet of Things term starts to appear in book titles for the first time.

RFID is deployed on a massive scale by the US Department of Defense in their Savi program and Walmart in the commercial world.


2005: The IoT hit another level when the UN’s International Telecommunications Union ITU published its first report on the topic.

“A new dimension has been added to the world of information and communication technologies (ICTs): from 
anytimeany place connectivity for anyone, we will now have connectivity for anything. Connections will multiply and create an entirely new dynamic network of networks – an Internet of Things”

2006-2008: Recognition by the EU, and the First European IOT conference is held

2011: Nest self-learning Wi-Fi-enabled thermostatinternet of things history arduino
Cisco, IBM, Ericsson produce large educational and marketing initiatives on the topic.

Arduino and other hardware platforms mature and make the IoT accessible to DIY’ers taking interest in the topic.

2011-2017: Low-power chipsets with built-in Wifi and 3G/4G connectivity are smaller, more powerful, and cheaper to produce. IoT is becoming more and more widely used in many industries and home owners.



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