In 1982, a group of computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University installed an internet-connected vending machine on campus. Programmed to signal when freshly loaded drinks were sufficiently chilled, today the vending machine is heralded as an early iteration of the Internet of Things.
Simply put, the IoT is the connection of everyday objects to the internet, enabling them to send and receive data. Three decades later, and a deal between labelling giant Avery Dennison — which counts Nike, Marks and Spencer and Lululemon among its clients — and software specialist Evrythng, who collect and manage the data generated by smart products, shows just how dramatically the IoT has matured.
Having pledged to fit 10bn items of apparel with digital capabilities within the next few years, our purchases will soon come equipped with an array of online applications accessible via our phones.