3. Internet of Things: An Overview

What is Internet of things

IoT Definitions: The term “Internet of Things” IoT is a phrase that not a lot of people have heard of, in its simplest terms it refers to device that transmits and collects data via the Internet. It generally refers to scenarios where network connectivity and computing capability extends to objects, sensors and everyday items not normally considered computers, allowing these devices to generate, exchange and consume data with minimal human intervention. There is, however, no single, universal definition.

Below is a video explaining the concept of IoT

Although there is a huge focus on devices but the concept of IoT is much more than that, it goes beyond hardware to include software, platforms and applications and rethinking what you do with these  in a way that you can do it more powerfully. This creates user value and user experience.

There are lots of potentials offered by IoT that can shape the way we interact with our surroundings and this has opened limitless opportunities for businesses to develop various applications based on it, with  Gartner  predicting that by 2020, there will be 20.8 billion devices connected to the Internet , generating over 20 zettabytes of data, while consumer and business spending on IoT endpoint hardware will total $3 trillion by 2020, this has been backed up by another research firm IDC. Its uses are growing every day and everywhere, from connected hospitality to connected healthcare, connected cities and connected homes.

Brief Historical Background

The term IoT was first coined in 1999 when Kevin Ashton et al turned Radio-frequency identification (RFID) into a networking technology, by linking objects to the internet using RFID tags, however the vison and idea has been long before then, when so many inventions and gadgets i.e. (wearable devices, internet) were created leading up to this point. Despite the term first coined in 1999, it did not gain widespread attention until around 2010 when the google street view project kicked off, and gained mass market awareness in 2014 when Google bought the company NEST for $3.2billion. Later that year the Computer Electronic Show was themed “Internet of Things”, since then the popularity has gained recognition worldwide with Governments of various countries including the UK Government looking to invest and exploit the potentials of IoT.

Enabling Technologies: The concept of combining computers, sensors, and networks to monitor and control devices has existed for decades. The recent confluence of several technology market trends, however, is bringing the Internet of Things closer to widespread reality. These include Ubiquitous Connectivity, Widespread Adoption of IP-based Networking, Computing Economics, Miniaturization, Advances in Data Analytics, and the Rise of Cloud Computing.

Connectivity Models: IoT implementations use different technical communications models, each with its own characteristics. Four common communications models described by the Internet Architecture Board include: Device-to-Device, Device-to-Cloud, Device-to-Gateway, and Back-End Data-Sharing. These models highlight the flexibility in the ways that IoT devices can connect and provide value to the user.

Despite this many opportunities there are challenges such as Privacy, Security and lack of universal platform to contend with.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be writing about how Internet of Things affects so many aspects like Business Transformation, Consumer Transformation and Social Impact.


Whitney, L. (2014). Google closes $3.2 billion purchase of Nest. [online] CNET. Available at: https://www.cnet.com/news/google-closes-3-2-billion-purchase-of-nest/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Kar, S. (2013). Gartner: The Internet of Things will Grow 30 Times to 26 Billion By 2020 | CloudTimes. [online] Cloudtimes.org. Available at: http://cloudtimes.org/2013/12/20/gartner-the-internet-of-things-will-grow-30-times-to-26-billion-by-2020/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Sundmaeker, H., Guillemin, P., Friess, P. and Woelfflé, S. (2017). Vision and Challenges for Realising the Internet of Things. [online] Available at: http://www.internet-of-things-research.eu/pdf/IoT_Clusterbook_March_2010.pdf [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].




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