Published: Monday, 06 February 2017

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or "things" embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data. The Internet of Things allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020.


The term “Internet of Things” was coined by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton in 1999. Typically, IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications. The interconnection of these embedded devices (including smart objects), is expected to usher in automation in nearly all fields, while also enabling advanced applications like a Smart Grid, and expanding to the areas such as smart cities.

"Things," in the IoT sense, can refer to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, electric clams in coastal waters, automobiles with built-in sensors, or field operation devices that assist firefighters in search and rescue operations. These devices collect useful data with the help of various existing technologies and then autonomously flow the data between other devices. Current market examples include smart thermostat systems and washer/dryers that use Wi-Fi for remote monitoring (src: wikipedia).

So what is the difference between IoT and M2M?

Machine to Machine (M2M) refers to technologies to communicate with other devices of the same type. M2M is a broad term as it does not pinpoint specific wireless or wired networking, information and communications technology. M2M is considered an integral part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and brings several benefits to industry and business in general as it has a wide range of applications such as industrial automation, logistics, Smart Grid, Smart Cities, health, defense etc. mostly for monitoring but also for control purposes. IoT on the other hand connects everything in the physical world, beyond the border of industries. IoT will tear down walls and will be disruptive as the number of new opportunities are endless.

IoT or IoE?

Today many people stress that the name IoT is not sufficient as it does not only connect Things and deployment will be much wider. Also humans will become part of the "IoT" and therefore many people believe the term should be changed to "Internet of Everything" (IoE). In the end this is just about naming and the actual rollout and deploymets will not change because of that.