IoT image By Wilgengebroed on Flickr [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Wilgengebroed on Flickr [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In a world already full of acronyms, here is one I’ve run into quite a bit lately: the IoT. The IoT is the “Internet of Things”.

I like the Wikipedia description of the Internet of Things. The IoT “refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing-like devices within the existing Internet infrastructure.”

That’s a mouthful. And while everyone is heralding it as the cutting edge of data technology, I had my first experience with the IoT long before I heard the term. (Not that I’m that cutting edge.)

My first encounter with the IoT

We had a foods company customer that wanted to connect a roving laptop computer to a weigh scale. Everything had to be wireless.

Setting up the roving laptop proved easy; we connected it to a WiFi network. This allowed the user to roam wirelessly for a few hours until it had to be recharged.

The weigh scale took a little more creativity.

We used an interface box to connect the weigh scale’s RS-232 port to an Ethernet connection, then we assigned an IP address to the Ethernet port. Of course the IP address is “uniquely identifiable” and it gives us a connection to “embedded computing-like device”.

Using GainSeeker’s TCP/IP commands, we created a data entry process that interfaced GainSeeker to the weigh scale through the IP address.

All the operator had to do was walk up to the weigh scale, start GainSeeker data collection, and place a sample on the scale. GainSeeker used the Internet to read the data from the IP address, and the value popped up in GainSeeker automatically.

It seemed like magic

At the time, it seemed like magic. In a way it was. It was the IoT before most of us had heard of the IoT. (You can read a history of the IoT  here.)

Why does IoT matter?

According to LNS Research the age of the IoT is upon us. New devices and equipment are coming on line all the time, and it can be a little overwhelming. It all contributes to the feeling that there are too many disparate data sources out there.

Managing IoT is all about making good connections

But all that hype is, well, hype. We’ve been connecting to disparate data sources (like scales with an IP address, digital gages, CMMs, ERP and MES systems, and…) for a long time.

Are you experiencing an increase in the variety of data sources? Is the quantity of data that you need getting more difficult to get your arms around?

Tap into our 30-plus years of experience to help you glean the right data from disparate data sources. We can help you turn data into knowledge.