The heart of innovation is effective and accessible communication. The Internet of Things (IoT) has made it possible for devices to relay information from one to another. In the past, this exchange of information between devices has often been referred to as machine-to-machine communications (M2M). M2M SIM cards allow devices to send and receive data. This information is then stored in a platform that sorts and interprets the data.

From smart home devices to wearables, IoT devices continue to flood the consumer market. The IoT industry continues to experience unprecedented growth with major tech giants seizing the opportunity. But where did it all begin? We are going to explore the last 200 years of the history of IoT to see the progression of IoT technology from the first electromagnetic telegraph to the use of IoT devices in the healthcare industry.

What is the Internet of Things?

Before we start diving into the history of IoT, here’s a quick recap on what it means. In a simple definition, IoT takes multiple devices and connects them to a network connection. Such connected devices (like security cameras, GPS tracking, retail POS machines, etc.) are considered a part of an IoT network when they communicate back and forth with a central hub. SIM cards and radio technology in devices enable this connection and communication, opening up endless possibilities for technological solutions. The history of IoT allows us to see just some of these infinite possibilities come to fruition as well as hypothesize where it will take us in the future.

The Path to IoT

1800s—The Beginning of Long Distance Communication

1832 –  First Electromagnetic Telegraph

The path to IoT began with basic forms of long distance communication. In 1832, Baron Shillings in Russia invented the first electromagnetic telegraph. 

1844 – First Public Communication Message

In 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first public telegraph message. The message read “What hath God wrought!” 

1876 – The First U.S. Patent for Telephones 

Although the telephone had already been invented, Alexander Bell received the first patent in the United States.

1900s —The Rise of Connectivity 

1955 – First Wearable Computer 

Edward O. Throp constructs the first wearable computer used for predicting roulette wheels. This device could fit inside a shoe or cigarette pack and would increase the odds of winning roulette. 

1962 – First Commercial Modem

Created by AT&T, the Bell 103 was the first commercial modem. This first invention would later lead to M2M cellular modems—the devices that bring cellular connectivity to your IoT devices. 

1965 – Communication between Two Electronic Devices

In the MIT Lincoln Lab, two computers communicate with each other for the first time. 

1968 – First M2M Technology 

The concept of machine-to-machine communications (M2M) was invented in 1968 by Theodore Paraskevakos. In the next few years, Theodore would go on to invent electric meters that communicated with electricity grids. 

1973 – First Mobile Phone

Martin Cooper invented the first mobile phone while working at Motorola. This invention also introduced cellular data and later, the data plans we are familiar with today. The concept of cellular data is now a big part of IoT as many options exist for IoT or M2M data plans

1990 – First IoT Device 

John Romkey creates the first smart toaster that could be controlled from the internet. He showcased his invention at the INTEROP conference. 

1991 –  First Sim Card Created 

Munich developed the first SIM card for wireless networks in 1991. This allowed devices to connect with more than one direct source. This development paved the way for machine-to-machine (M2M) SIM cards, which would be essential for IoT growth.  M2M SI cards would allow devices to communicate with one another as they connect to cellular data. 

1999 – The Concept of the Internet of Things is Born 

While working at Procter & Gamble, Kevin Ashton coined the term “Internet of Things” during a presentation on RFID. From this point on, industry leaders began to experiment more with the ability to connect devices to one another. 

IoT Industry Progression

2000s – The IoT Industry Experiences Major Growth

2000 – Plans for First Internet Refrigerator 

LG released plans for a refrigerator with wifi compatibility. This would be one of the first of many smart household objects.

2003 – The Term “IoT” Is More Widely Used 

Major companies start using the term “IoT” in the place of M2M. This also changed sub-terminology such as M2M sim cards to IoT SIM cards

2008 – The IPSO Alliance Is Formed 

The Internet Protocol for Smart Objects Alliance is a non-profit organization formed to bring companies of all sizes together in the pursuit of wireless technology standards for the future. This organization works to discover and implement new ideas in the field of IoT. In 2018, IPSO Alliance joined The Open Mobile Alliance to form OMA SpecWorks. 

2010s – IoT Gains Popularity (Recognized by Tech Giants) 

2011 – IPV6 Public Launch 

In 2011, the most recent version of Internet Protocol was released. The IPV6 public launch was a turning point for IoT as many private companies and funding agencies took notice of the IoT industry. 

2013/2014 – IoT Devices Start Using Sensors

Thermostats and home lighting start using sensors to accurately sense the surrounding environment. This allowed people to control home lighting, garage doors, and thermostats all from their phone.  

2014 – Sigfox Builds an Ultra Narrowband Wireless Data Network

Sigfox set up an Ultra Narrow Band Wireless data network in the bay area. In the next few years, Sigfox set up 35 other data networks in large cities.

2014 – First Smart City 

Dublin becomes the first IoT City. Smart Dublin was an initiative that utilizes IoT devices to improve city functions. Some of these improvements include a new carbon neutral stadium, hundreds of smart bins, sensors monitoring flood levels, and city sound monitoring sensors. With this initiative, Dublin also sought to inspire tech innovation and entrepreneurship in their city for continued growth. 

2017 – The Internet of Battlefield Things 

The Internet of Things becomes more widely used in military context. In 2017, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory established an alliance to advance research in IoT technologies in army operations. 

2017 – IoT Devices Widely Used

As more Tech Giants realize the benefits of IoT, we have seen a large increase in IoT devices each year. In 2017, we recorded 8.4 billion IoT devices which is a 31% increase.

2018 – Health Care Industries

IoT enters the healthcare and health insurance industries. This technology allows health care professionals to access patient data. It has also improved the quality of wearable medical devices.  

The Future of IoT 

The GSMA estimates that by 2030, there will be 75 billion connected IoT devices. While no one knows the exact number, we can all agree that the IoT industry will continue to grow and morph with continued innovation. With such rapid growth in just over 20 years, there is no telling what the next 5 years could bring to the IoT industry.

Join the IoT revolution today with Simon IoT. Learn more about what makes us the ideal IoT connectivity provider.