“Data transmitted every half-hour from the cloud provided temperature observations to the men of science for predicting weather patterns with more accuracy than ever before.”
Men of science?
Yes, you read correctly and this is not a politically incorrect statement: these events were taking place in the nineteenth century – in 1843 to be exact.
The cloud was where a captive balloon, 18 feet in diameter and 25 feet high, was transmitting data from a wet-and-dry-bulb thermometer encased in a box weighing around 4 pounds and connected via two very fine copper wires covered with silk to the ground, where a receiving station printed the readings on a paper tape.
It all began in Woolwich
The British Association for the Advancement of Science (now the British Science Association) reported that these “men of science”, Sir Charles Wheatstone prominently among them, had received a grant of £250 for this experiment which was taking place in Woolwich.
This must have been one of the earliest recorded use of machine to machine communication (M2M) – a concept which has now morphed into the Internet of Things (IoT).
It has been more than 170 years since the connected balloon raised into the clouds. IoT is an old story indeed.