The Internet of Things (IoT), also known as the Internet of Everything (IoE) or the Cloud of Things (CoT), refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing-like devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. Typically, IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M), or machine-type communications (the latter being defined in standards by 3GPP), and cover a variety of protocols, domains, and applications. The interconnection of these embedded devices is expected to usher in automation in nearly all fields, while also enabling advanced applications.
The spread of Mobile Broadband networks, the emergence of new mobile device categories and the expansion of mobile service propositions has contributed significantly to an IoT. Within the next decade, billions of new devices will be connected to mobile networks, providing consumers and businesses with an array of applications, services and experiences. This, we believe, will really usher in the "Connected Future" in which we are always connected, anywhere, and at any time.
“Things” in the IoT, can refer to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, automobiles with built-in sensors, parking meters, or field operation devices that assist fire-fighters in search and rescue. Current market examples include smart thermostats such as the Nest and washer/dryers that utilize Wi-Fi for remote monitoring.
Interconnections may be enabled by a number of different technologies including short range technologies such as Wi-Fi and Zigbee as well as Cellular technologies such as GPRS (2G) to LTE (4G) depending upon the needed mobility and the amount of data delivery and speed of delivery required, as well as the availability of service.
Industry leaders, including Ericsson and Cisco, predict that the connected device segment will reach 50 billion connections by 2020, with Cisco citing that growth from an installed base of 8.7 billion connected objects at the end of 2012. Analyst firm IDC projects an $8.9 trillion market by 2020 with 212 billion installed ‘things’ including 30.1 billion autonomous things with intelligent systems to collect data while Gartner analysts project 26 billion units connected to the IoT by 2020. Although the projections vary, the market size is considerable regardless and the future world where all things are connected is inevitable.
Machina Research expects cellular technologies to play a critical role; wide area mobile connected devices will account for at least 12 billion of the overall 24 billion connected devices in 2020 (although many of these connections will utilize short-range technologies, such as Wi-Fi and Zigbee).
Diverse applications call for different deployment scenarios and requirement, however, since the IoT is connected to the Internet, most of the devices comprising IoT services will need to operate utilizing standardized technologies. Prominent standardization bodies, such as ETSI, IETF, and IPSO Alliance are working on developing protocols, systems, architectures and frameworks to enable the IoT.
Simply stated, the Internet of Things or the Internet of Everything (people, process, data and things) is about connecting the unconnected.
Paving the path to Narrowband 5G with LTE Internet of Things (IoT), Qualcomm Whitepaper, July 15, 2016
A brief history of the internet of things, FierceMobileIT, July 23, 2014
LTE Plays a Key Role in the Internet of Things, FierceWireless eBrief, May 27, 2014
The Internet of Things will Thrive by 2025, Pew Research, May 14, 2014
The internet of things: The past, the present, and the future (infographic), Silicon Republic, March 13, 2014
How to Prepare for the Future, New Jersey Institute of Technology, June 2015