What is the Internet of Things?

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Devices connected to the Internet. Market projection by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects accessed through the Internet. These objects contain embedded technology to interact with internal states or the external environment. When objects can sense and communicate, it changes how and where decisions are made, and who makes them. The Gartner Group estimates the IoT total addressable market will reach $309B by 2020. 

The term was coined in 1999 by British tech pioneer Kevin Ashson.

Bayshore Networks develops operational and security policy solutions for Industrial Automation and Control Systems (IACS).  IACS encompasses several types of control systems used in industrial production, including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, distributed control systems (DCS) and other smaller control system configurations such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs) often found in the industrial sectors and critical infrastructures.  IACSs are typically used in industries such as electrical, water, oil, gas and data.

According to Cisco…

The IoT is connecting new places–such as manufacturing floors, energy grids, healthcare facilities, and transportation systems–to the Internet. When an object can represent itself digitally, it can be controlled from anywhere. This connectivity means more data, gathered from more places, with more ways to increase efficiency and improve safety and security.

According to the Gartner Group…

The IoT is a logical evolution of embedded electronics connectivity, storage, compute and analytics, and it is all coming together. This is an evolution that provides more and more data from our “things.” IoT implementations leverage cost reductions and performance improvements in three core value stack elements:

  • Semiconductors
  • Software
  • Services

According to Wikipedia projections…

Gartner says there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the IoT by 2020. ABI Research says that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020.

Cisco created a dynamic “connections counter” to track the estimated number of connected things from July 2013 until July 2020.  This concept, where devices connect to the Internet/web via low-power radio, is the most active research area in IoT.  The low-power radios do not need to use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Lower-power and lower-cost alternatives are being explored under the category of Chirp Networks.