Photo by Sara Schmitt

The Center for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies (CDAIT) has recently partnered with Amazon Web Services. As well as the new partnership, CDAIT has launched four new working groups centered around education, research, startup ecosystems and thought leadership.

Internet of Things (IoT) is a phrase coined in the last 20 years to broadly describe the global network infrastructure between devices, both physical and virtual, communicating with each other through the internet. Such devices can include domestic mainstays, such as Wi-Fi enabled refrigerators and coffee makers, as well as industrial equipment like massive engines and mechanical equipment on oil rigs and in factories.

Co-founder and managing director of CDAIT, Alain Louchez, described the IoT as “the immersion of almost anything and everything (previously “out of scope”) into the communications space, thanks to the timely convergence of scientific, technological and societal advances and trends.”

“IoT technologies will bring about a pulsating world,” Louchez said. “Why ‘pulsating’? Because this world will be sending and receiving data constantly. Currently our world is inert, more or less. But with the Internet of Things, it will be from inert to very active, from offline to online, from delayed to instantaneous. A pulsating world.”

“The sky is the limit with what you can do with these technologies,” Louchez said.

Louchez said that Tech is a prime location for ground-breaking developments in IoT technologies. “If we are going to have these kinds of numbers of devices on the Internet of Things, clearly they cannot be powered by the grid. So we have to find other sources of energy to power those devices. At Georgia Tech, we have world class expertise in that area. And when I say world class, I am talking about Nobel Prize level.”

The rapid growth and public interest in IoT technologies is assisted by partnerships with large, recognizable companies like Amazon Web Services. CDAIT is also partnered with 14 other corporations, including Samsung, Cisco, AT&T and IBM.

IoT technologies are appealing to companies partly due to governmental regulations which require intensive monitoring and self-assessment.

“For instance, through GPS, you have sensors that allow [companies] to trace and track where the physical asset is, where the truck is. With all kinds of sensors in the car, we can manage the life of and ‘intuitivity’ of car itself. But more importantly through IoT technologies, we can also manage the content of the truck,” Louchez said. “One of the reasons why IoT has exploded in the last two years, in addition to national security concerns, you have regulations that force companies to monitor their products, because that is the law.”

IoT technologies are also relevant in cybersecurity and privacy politics today, as well as national security. “Imagine if everything is connected, what people who don’t like us can do! If you transform this problem, the IoT has to be integrated in the national thinking,” Louchez asserts.

According to the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act (DIGIT Act) which was passed earlier this year, the IoT has “the potential to generate trillions of dollars in economic opportunity,” and estimates that over 50 trillion devices will be connected to the IoT by the year 2020.

“We sense it’s going to be big, but we have no idea how it’s going to unfold,” Louchez said.

Tech students can learn more about CDAIT and IoT technologies on the CDAIT website. Additionally, Alain Louchez himself will be present at a “Brunch and Learn” Developer’s Delight event on Sep. 29, in the Student Center’s Piedmont Room. The event will focus on the integration between wearable technology, applications and the IoT, and will also feature speakers from the Wearable Computing Center and Venture Lab. People who want to attend may register online.