OK – so just what is this “Internet of Things” or IoT? To begin, let’s assume that we have a network of physical objects or “things” that are each assigned with their own unique identifier (or IP address). This enables any and all of them to have access to the internet.

For example, a “thing” might be a person with a heart monitor implant, or a farm animal with a biochip transponder or perhaps a car with built-in sensors to tell a driver when the tire pressure is low. Basically it can be any natural or man-made device that can be assigned an IP address and is capable of transmitting data over a network.

The Internet of Things is really just an environment that gathers information from multiple devices (computers, vehicles, smart-phones, traffic lights, and almost anything with a sensor) and applications (e.g. social media apps like Twitter, an e-commerce platform, or a traffic control system). You need data and a means to access it…hence the “Internet” label. The basic premise of the Internet of Things is that it will extend internet connectivity beyond traditional devices like desktop and laptop computers, smart-phones and tablets to a wide range of devices and everyday things. These will use embedded technology to communicate and interact with their external environment, all via the Internet.

Imagine the countless possibilities given that there are more than 12 billion devices that can currently connect to the Internet. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 26 times more connected ‘things’ than people {ref: IDC study}.

GE did a report on industrial applications for intelligent machines and they estimate that efficiency gains of just 1% could result in 15 year savings of $30 billion worth of jet fuel for the airline industry, $63 billion in global health care savings with more optimized treatments, patient flows, and equipment use in hospitals, etc.

For consumers there are nearly endless combinations of applications. One example could be when a fire/smoke detector goes off in your home it could communicate immediately with your gas appliances to shut them off, automatically alert the fire dept. and simultaneously send an alert to your mobile and household phones.

The Internet of things is not a thing but rather a concept expressed through applications or services — whether local, cloud-based, data centre-based, or a combination.

The infographic {below} powerfully illustrates the potential exciting new applications and services that we can expect.


Credit: The above infographic was sourced from http://blogs.jabil.com/2014/08/13/internet-of-things-infographic/