Object Geography: The Internet of Things
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The emerging phenomenon known as the Internet of Things (IOT) refers to the technical and cultural shift anticipated as society moves towards a ubiquitous form of computing that facilitates the connection of everyday objects and devices to all kinds of networks. The analog bar code that has for so long been a dumb, encrypted reference to a shop’s inventory system will be superseded by an open platform in which every object manufactured will be traceable from producer to distributor, and potentially every single person who comes into contact with it following its purchase. Furthermore, every object that comes close to another object and is within range of a reader could also be logged on a database and used to find correlations between owners and applications.
The Internet of Things creates a link between concrete objects and abstract data, producing a hybrid of physical and electronic spaces that enables communication and interaction between people and things, and things themselves. It is an all-encompassing framework to reflect on and design towards more digital connectivity, a system that is local and global, accessible in real-time from any location. Through item based tagging and identification, the Internet of Things will take ubiquitous computing – anytime and anywhere communications – to the next step in networking: ‘anything communications’. However the Internet of Things is at risk of simply becoming a platform whose primary benefit is to offer improved indexing and tracking of manufactured consumer goods from cradle to grave. Therefore this paper aims to re-contextualize the Internet of Things, and explore theory relating to the attachment of data to an object, and as a result the role objects might have in our networks.