You know that a trend is ramping up when big companies begin to namecheck it. It’s happening now with the Internet of Things, a term for when real-world objects connect to the Internet. Senior executives from two major U.S. broadband and telecommunications companies – Verizon and AT&T – plus the CTO of the world’s biggest network systems provider Cisco, have recently discussed the Internet of Things.

As part of a patriotic statement about how the U.S. leads the world in Internet innovation, Verizon chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg said today that the “‘Internet of Things’ will infuse intelligence into all our systems and present us with a whole new way to run a home, an enterprise, a community or an economy.”

Seidenberg said that “in a 4G world, wireless will connect everything” and that “there’s really no limit to the number of connections that can be part of the mobile grid: vehicles, appliances, buildings, roads, medical monitors.”

AT&T have also been making noises about the Internet of Things. At the recent CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas, AT&T announced a partnership with a company called American Security Logistics (ASL), to “wirelessly connect a series of location based tracking devices that can be used to help keep tabs on an array of valuables – from people to pets to pallets.” The first product will be a cargo shipping tracking and monitoring application. Other products in the pipeline include pet tracking, child safety and Alzheimer’s patient monitoring.

Both Verizon and AT&T are positioning their wireless networks as key parts of the emerging Internet of Things.

Cisco is another company getting in on the trend. At CTIA, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior said that by 2013, the number of devices connected to the Internet will reach 1 trillion – up from 500 million in 2007.

According to Warrior, “we’re heading into the Internet of Things.”

Warrior sees high growth in the Internet of Things. “With more machine-to-machine connections and wireless sensors everywhere,” she said, “the Internet is no longer just an information superhighway [but] a platform that will transform many industries.”

These bigco utterings remind me of when the term ‘web 2.0’ first began to creep into corporate speak, about 2005. It’s still early days for the Internet of Things, but prepare yourself to hear a lot more of this new term.

ReadWriteWeb has been at the cutting edge of defining and explaining the nascent Internet of Things – see our extensive archives for more information. If you’re new to the topic, check out Top 5 Web Trends of 2009: Internet of Things and Top 10 Internet of Things Products of 2009.