One of the earliest devices connected to the Internet was a Coke machine: a beverage dispenser in Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science department offices.

That was back in 1982.

Factoring in the Coke machine, the newfangled term “Internet of Things” should be dated back more than 30 years. Sure, most software developers today are probably focusing on software that runs on computers: servers, desktops, tablets, phones. Increasingly, however, the software we write will either be running on Internet-connected embedded systems, or be communicated with specialized devices.

(How the Internet of Things is growing)

My home has some of those devices. Yours may too. A Nest thermostat. A Pebble smartwatch. A webcam. A LIFX light bulb. Wearables. Automotive telematics. In offices, factories and public spaces, we have inventory control and more.

Whether those devices are connected directly to the Internet via WiFi or cellular links, or through bridge devices using Bluetooth or NFC (near field communications), it doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t matter how we define the Internet of Things. It’s happening. It’s happening today. Are you ahead of the curve?

About Alan Zeichick

Alan Zeichick, founding editor of SD Times, is principal analyst of Camden Associates.