If you’ve ever seen the buzzphrase ‘Internet of Things’ and wondered what it means, a new report from Pew Research lays down a definition, of sorts: “A global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment built through the continued proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, databases, and massive data centers in a world-spanning information fabric known as the Internet of Things”. So now you know. But Pew’s report is well worth a read for a primer on some of the opportunities and challenges in a world stuffed with connected devices talking to one another, and to us. It’s based on interviews with 1,600 experts of all stripes. “We will talk to devices in essentially the same way we talk to other people. Yes, you will be permanently connected to the network via wearable devices. You will interact with these devices mostly by voice, as you would interact with another person,” says Google’s chief economist Hal Varian, for example. There are plenty of sceptics too though: “No, yuck, we don’t need this, and most people aren’t asking for it. I’ve never been quite clear on where the demand is supposedly coming from,” says Open Tech Strategies partner Karl Fogel.

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