The Internet of Things (IoT) represents an evolution in which objects are capable of interacting with other objects. Hotels can adjust temperature and lighting according to a guest’s preferences, being able to instantly address factories’ production line issues, activating your car without even having to be near it, to name just a few examples (IBM n.d). In its simplest term, the Internet of things means just an environment that assembles information from multiple devices such as computers, vehicles, smartphones, traffic lights, and almost anything with a sensor and applications which are basically anything from a social app like Twitter to an e-commerce platform (Gruman 2013).
This is when the “Internet” comes into pictures. You don’t need the internet itself or an always-on network connection to be able to access the data. The Internet only means the “backbone” of an Internet of things. From there, you will need a software whether automated, semi-automated or even human controlled to be able to analyze, act and process the information received. The fun part of Internet of things is when users combine information from devices and other systems (Gruman 2013).
An Internet of things doesn’t necessarily have to involve big data. There are small data uses too. Take for example, running an app like Foursquare that monitors users locations takes an existing set of devices (smartphones), their sensors (location data), and their network connectivity to aggregate information to a data center somewhere in the cloud that uses that information for, in this case, ad delivery and market research. It’s an example of how the Internet of things can simply be an application taking advantage of today’s connected environment.
In many ways, the Internet has become a digital world that has gateways into our physical world. The Internet of things takes that concept to the next level, allowing multiple worlds — some connected to others, some not — that mash up physical and digital in all sorts of ways.
Gruman, G 2013, “What the ‘internet of things’ really means”, Info World, accessed on 26/10/2014, http://www.infoworld.com/article/2614262/consumerization-of-it/what-the–internet-of-things–really-means.html
IBM n.d, “The Internet of Things”, accessed on 26/10/2014, http://www-01.ibm.com/software/info/internet-of-things/