Feature Story

Kevin Ashton, Father of the Internet of Things & Network Trailblazer

by Kevin Maney

A look at the career of Kevin Ashton known as the father of IoT, Proctor & Gamble alumni, founding Executive Director of MIT's Auto-ID Center, author of How to Fly a Horse.

Co-Authored by: Alison Maney

It all started with lipstick. A particularly popular color of Oil of Olay lipstick that Kevin Ashton had been pushing as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble was perpetually out of stock. He decided to find out why, and found holes in data about the supply chain that eventually led him to drive the early deployment of RFID chips on inventory. Asked by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to start a group -- the Auto-ID Center -- that would research RFID technology, he found a way to talk about RFID to a less-than-computer-savvy crowd – by coining the phrase the Internet of Things or IoT. Ashton exploded the Auto-ID Center it into an international lab with 103 sponsors. After helping found a few startups, he's "retired" into writing, with his first book, How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery, due out in January.

Kevin Ashton timeline. A look at the career of the man known as the father of the Internet of Things.Full Kevin Ashton Interview