ALEX IUORIO
Senior Vice President, Supplier
Management and Business Development
Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas
Phoenix, AZ
www.em.avnet.com

In a 1926 interview, inventor Nikola Tesla stated: “When wireless [technology] is perfectly applied, the whole Earth will be converted into a huge brain.” Though Tesla’s remark was made four decades before the earliest incarnations of Internet technology were introduced by the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency, it is an uncanny depiction of the power and potential we see today from the Internet of Things (IoT).

The infrastructure behind IoT has evolved at a steady pace for the past 30 years. But quantum leaps in enabling technologies over the past five years, including sensors, wireless networking, and IPv6, have made concepts that were once the fodder of science fiction — like driverless cars, unmanned aircraft, robotics, and machine learning — almost commonplace.

Perhaps what is most phenomenal about the IoT is that there is almost no industry or market it cannot touch — including manufacturing, healthcare, communications, and even traditionally “low-tech” industries like agriculture and commercial fishing. IoT is facilitating visibility, process efficiencies, collaboration, productivity, and improvements in both physical and IP asset management across the board. In some cases, these changes are incremental; in others, they are truly revolutionary.

For example, industries based on the production and sale of physical product must adjust to a new paradigm in which intelligent, context-aware devices create an ongoing, two-way relationship with customers. User experience is increasingly considered more influential to brand differentiation than either product price or functionality. This is a true “adapt or die” scenario. There is no room for half measures.

Today, we are but a few steps along a journey in the development and commercialization of IoT technologies that will span many generations. We recognize that IoT’s impact runs from the edge to the enterprise. And, just as harnessing the full capacity of the physical supply chain is a differentiating factor for businesses, realizing the greatest potential of the IoT lies in optimizing the Supply Chain of Things (SCoT)™ — the ecosystem of hardware, software, cloud, and services that are both driving, and being driven by, the IoT in order to establish more sustainable and adaptable service models for both B2C and B2B customers.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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