The Internet of Things is here – But will we have too much on our plate?

May 9th, 2015

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It was just before midday yesterday when Ash, our Data Specialist here at Appliances Online, sent round an email about a new Kickstarter project called the SmartPlate.

SmartPlateWhat is the SmartPlate you ask? A plate that is Smart? Well yes, I guess so, and it’s not much different to the smart family you’re no doubt already aware of, such as the smart watch and smart TV.

The SmartPlate claims to be the first ‘connected’ plate which tracks and analyses what you eat. It has cameras and sensors built in that analyse your meal and provide feedback on what you’re eating.

So what does the SmartPlate have to do with this Internet of Things? The answer is Everything.

The Internet of Things explained

The Internet of Things describes a state in the foreseeable future where your whole life will be connected to the Internet. Your watch, your TV, your plate, your socks, your clothes, your appliances, your furniture, and even your internal organs – everything will be linked up!

As the SmartPlate demonstrates, connecting things to the Internet provides greater functionality, so manufacturers are looking to do just that – connect everything they can.

Let me explain just how serious this is going to get. According to Gartner Inc, by the year 2020 there will be close to 26 billion devices connected to the Internet. I can see the average person having anywhere from 20 – 40 personal items or devices connected to the web, possibly many more.

We are running out of space

Although usually reserved for a nerdy IT discussion, here’s some background on IP addresses so I can explain a little more about how the World preparing for the Internet of Things.

An IP address is a unique identifier for anything that connects to the internet, (think street address of your house, just on the information superhighway).

Right now the Internet allows for around 4.3 billion IP addresses, which means at capacity, we could connect 4.3 billion devices. Given the estimate of devices connected will five times that by 2020, we are running out of space. That is where what we call IPv6 comes in.

IPv6 is a new version of the Internet Protocol and allows for an increased amount of IP addresses. To put this in perspective, if you could fit all 4.3 billion IP addresses of IPv4 into a standard size golf ball, it would take the size of the Sun (yes, the Sun!) to reach capacity under IPv6.

With this increased bandwidth for connected devices comes a few things, and one of them is very exciting.

Consider the multitude of things that could be connected to improve your lifestyle and your life span.

I have doubt  in the future something we call ‘implantables’ will provide things such as heart rate monitoring. Imagine having a phone app telling you your current lifestyle and diet means you have only 12 months to live! What a reality check this would be for some people.

The security concerns

The other thing that comes with the Internet of Things is security concerns. These are possibly major catastrophic security breaches if the right precautions are not put in place.

Right now you’re concerned about your PC being hacked. But think about increasing the possible access to the lighting or heating in your home, or the locks to your doors (yes, there are already connected locks), being taken over by an online intruder. This is really scary stuff and is something we have to prepare for.

I feel that with the Internet of Things will come a raft of new government laws around increased responsibility for software developers to write and maintain secure code, as well as company rules around the amount of devices each person can connect to the work WiFi.


Saying this, the Internet of Things should be heralded as a major advancement in the way we do things, so long as it is managed in the right way and we prepare accordingly. It opens up so many possibilities and makes this a very exciting time to be alive.

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