Andy Stanford-Clark, an IBM Master Inventor who lives in the United Kingdom, jokes that his goal was “world domination” in 1999 when he and Arlen Nipper of Eurotech invented a protocol aimed at greatly improving machine-to-machine communications. This was at the time when another British technology pioneer, Kevin Ashton, coined the term “Internet of Things” to describe how the Internet could be connected to the physical world via a vast network of sensors. Sanford-Clark believed that his protocol, now called MQ Telemetry Transport, or MQTT for short, would enable organizations to quickly and affordably gather, integrate and make use of all of that sensor data. It would be an essential underlying technology for the Internet of Things.
Fast forward to today. OASIS, one of the leading technology standards bodies governing the evolution of the Internet, has just announced that it will accept MQTT as an industry standard protocol. This move paves the way for the technology to be used widely for applications ranging from power distribution and public safety to retailing, smart phones and auto communication systems. MQTT now has the potential to have the same kind of impact on the world as HTTP, which is a key part of every Internet address for computers and Web sites. Proponents of the Internet of Things believe there could be up to 50 billion sensors hooked up by the year 2020–turning the promise of Big Data into a reality. “The vision of billions and trillions of connected devices can now come true,” says Stanford-Clark. “The implications are huge. We can solve the energy crisis and improve agriculture, transportation and healthcare. It will make getting things done easier, cheaper and more efficient.”
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