The internet of things.

Author:Salierno, David
Position:Editorial
 
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When it was first conceptualized around two decades ago, the Internet of Things, or the notion of connecting all physical devices to the Web, may have seemed far fetched--even the stuff of science fiction. The idea was that everything from kitchen appliances to automobiles would be interconnected, enabling virtually limitless data sharing and automation of processes and systems.

And while we aren't quite there yet, today the Internet of Things is fast becoming reality. Home thermostats can be controlled via smartphones, trains and buses update their locations in real time for awaiting passengers, public water mains have sensors that can detect blockages, and fountain beverage dispensers transmit data on user activity and product inventory. Moreover, digital accessories such as Google Glass, smartwatches, and fitness bands are becoming more and more common, enabling users to literally "wear" the Internet.

The Internet of Things is evolving quickly, and it's expected to continue mushrooming in size. According to a recent Cisco report, 50 billion "things" will be connected to the Internet by 2020, compared to approximately 10.5 billion at present. Cisco, in fact, is featured in this issues cover story, "Auditing at the Speed of Technology" (page 30), in which adapting to technological and other changes is described as a perpetual reality at this and other Silicon Valley firms. la's Associate Managing Editor Tim McCollum examines how the chief audit executives at Cisco, Google, and LinkedIn...

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