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IoT and the Ever Expanding Web
Irena Bojanova
JUL 14, 2015 17:48 PM
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IoT and the Ever Expanding Web

by Irena Bojanova

In 1992, there were about as many devices hooked up to the Internet as there were people living in San Jose. Today, there are three times more connected devices than there are human beings on the planet – according to the new report by the US Federal Trade Commission the number of Internet-connected devices has just topped 25 billion worldwide. The Web is not merely developing, it is exploding – the prediction is for at least 50 billion devices by 2020. Please see also Figure 1.


Figure 1. IoT – An explosion of Connected Possibilities

This expansion is not just from cellphones, tablets, and laptops – it is thanks to real-life Star Trek tricorders (Scanadu Scout), toothbrushes, and wind turbines that now have IP addresses. The Internet of Things is driving the ever-expanding Web. Please see Figure 2.

Figure2. Left to right: A Star Trak Tricorder toy and real Scanadu Scout, an IoT toothbrush, and an  IoT wind turbine.

Where is the Internet?

Figure 3 shows a map of all devices with access to the Internet, which was created in less than one day by querying the world with ping requests. The plan is periodically to query the world this way to track the changes in the globe's Internet connectivity over time.


Figure 3. Map of all devices with access to the Internet.

This map might explain it better than any statistics could ever hope to. The red hot spots show the locations of most devices accessing the Internet. The map’s creator intends to  track the changes in the globe's Internet connectivity over time. With the proliferation of the Internet of Things, we're bound to see some of those black holes slowly colorize over the next few years. 

IoT is expected to exacerbate the complexity surrounding mobile, social, big data, and cloud. It is part of a big data problem. Demands will be in advances in math around large datasets, graph theory, machine learning, algorithms, etc. The future of computer science will be in processing, analysis, and safeguarding large amounts of distributed data.

Have ideas or sources on how IoT is being or should be defined? Please share them in the comments section.


Irena Bojanova, Ph.D., is a program chair and a professor at UMUC and a computer scientist at NIST. She is the founding chair of IEEE CS Cloud  Computing  Special  Technical  Community,  a  CoChair  of  the  IEEE  Reliability Society IoT Technical Committee, and a founding member  of the IEEE Technical SubCommittee on Big Data. She is Acting EIC of the IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing, AEIC of the IEEE IT Professional, and AE of the International Journal of Big Data  Intelligence (IJBDI). Dr. Bojanova is a General CoChair of ISSRE 2015 and OC member of STC 2015 conference.  You can read her Cloud and IoT blogs on Dr.  Bojanova  is  a  senior  member  of  IEEE  and  can  be  reached  at:

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