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In the early 1980s, a group of computer science students at Carnegie Mellon University connected a Coke machine in their department to the Internet. The machine reported on its inventory and provided information about whether newly loaded drinks were ice cold.
This was the beginning, as the legend goes, of what would become known as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Much of the publicity around IoT technology -- physical objects with network connectivity for sending and receiving data -- has centered on consumer applications, such as the proverbial refridgerator that senses when you're out of milk and automatically orders more to replenish your stock. But IoT networks have also become a powerful force in a variety of organizations, including cities, school districts and businesses. In November, Gartner forecast that 4.9 billion connected "things" would be in use in 2015, up 30% from 2014. That number is likely to reach 25 billion by 2020, Gartner says.
As enterprises find more uses for IoT, however, they need to consider the effect such an influx of devices and the traffic they generate will have on their wired and wireless networks. The infrastructure that powers IoT networks needs to account for changes in density, management and security requirements.
In this special report from TechTarget's Network Evolution e-zine, we go behind the scenes with three organizations that are running IoT networks today -- the Las Vegas Sands, the city of San Jose and Texas beer distributor Del Papa -- to discuss their deployments and pull the curtain back on the technologies that enable them.