The Internet of Things of 2002

I have wonderful memories of a primitive Internet of Things system we built in 2002. I had only begun to become acquainted with CGI programming and was fascinated to discover how real-world websites worked. CGI (Common Gateway Interface) enabled me to create C programs that can receive HTML form input and produce HTML. The possibilities appeared to be endless.

Webpages from project to allow remote control of devices

I intended to use my newly acquired talent to operate equipment at home because I was studying electronics engineering. I constructed a PoC with my pals and we published a paper about it. This was your 2002 Internet of Things (IoT). We were unfamiliar with the phrase “Internet of Things,” therefore we simply referred to our work as “Controlling Devices via Internet.”

Block diagram of the IoT PoC we created in 2002

One of the primary reasons my ventures into CGI programming were delayed was a lack of an HTTP server on my machine. Microsoft’s PWS (Personal Web Server) for Windows was roughly 60+ MB in size, which would have taken me weeks to download given my connection and constraints. I kept looking till I found Apache Server. It was only a 2 MB download, and I was able to access ‘localhost’ on my PC within couple of hours. The power of open source astounded me. I spent a significant amount of time building basic C/C++ scripts to generate dynamic webpages with CGI. It also made me love HTML/CSS and I developed good expertise on the frontend side of things as well. It was almost as if I had a new superpower, and it felt great!