What is the Internet of Things?


The Internet of Things has become a sort of shorthand for network-aware smart objects that connect the physical world with the world of information. A smart object has four key attributes: it is small, and thus easy to attach to almost anything; it has a unique identifier; it has a small store of data or information; and it has a way to communicate that information to an external device on demand. The Internet of Things extends that concept by using TCP/IP as the means to convey the information, thus making objects addressable (and findable) on the Internet. Objects that carry information with them have long been used for the monitoring of sensitive equipment or materials, point-of-sale purchases, passport tracking, inventory management, identification, and similar applications. Smart objects are the next generation of those technologies — they “know” about a certain kind of information, such as cost, age, temperature, color, pressure, or humidity — and can pass that information along easily and instantly. They can be used to digitally manage physical objects, monitor their status, track them throughout their lifespan, alert someone when they are in danger of being damaged or spoiled — or even to annotate them with descriptions, instructions, warranties, tutorials, photographs, connections to other objects, and any other kind of contextual information imaginable. The Internet of Things would allow easy access to these data.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the museums you know best?

  • - melanger melanger Oct 16, 2012 I have a particular interest in this area, partly because it's one of the most complex things to apply. I think that objects in collections can be the keepers of their own data, and can communicate with other objects as well. Visual connections between objects through AR or other augmentation can create meaningful visual relationships.
  • Another perspective here.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The idea that things themselves can have a communication without people as mediators.
  • Another perspective here.

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • Add your perspective here...
  • Another perspective here.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


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