More than social: the internet expands to encompass everything you can think of

Everything in the world is going online, and while currently one percent of the world’s stuff is connected, that number is set to skyrocket, as the web goes from being all about your social world, and becomes the “internet of everything.”

That “everything” includes more than just your notebook, smartphone, and tablet, as more than the home and office computer become net connected. We’re talking about cameras, fridges, ovens, air conditioner units, and even moving to fashion accessories such as the wristwatch and eye glasses.

“It’s about connecting everything and changing everything,” said Ken Boal, Cisco’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand.

These changes are already happening, too, and experts like Ken are calling this the fourth generation of the internet. The uses for this new generation of net-connected technology include things such as the energy efficient “smart grids” that are coming to Australia, and even include online gaming and how it spreads to a multitude of devices in your life.

If you’ve heard of Google Glass, Pebble’s Smartwatch, or any other net-connected appliance – including the web-friendly oven we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier in the year – you already know that the wheels are in motion for the internet of everything.

The question, however, is are we ready?

According to Cisco, it’s a mixed bag, with Boal telling GadgetGuy that right now “we’re a bit too skeptical.”

“We need to be efficient, and the industry needs to continue to optimise,” said Boal. “Employees are expected to be more productive, and of course, there needs to be more innovation.”

Based on the research conducted by Cisco, much of the growth in this area will come from discovering all the new types of devices that can go online, with our use of cloud-based surfaces also ranking highly.

And much of that will happen in the next few years, as everything you know – magazines, books, pens, paper, appliances, music, movies, food, beverages, paying for things, flights, holidays, hotels, refrigerators, clothes, cars – changes to accommodate the online world.