The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other items, embedded with electronics, software, actuators and connectivity, which allows these objects to connect and exchange data. Each device or item is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing internet infrastructure.
IoT relies on widely available and affordable broadband to be really useful.
The IoT allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing networks, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world with computer based systems, with resulting improvements in efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit, including reduced human intervention.
The “things” in the "Internet of Things" refer to a wide range of devices, including heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, cameras streaming live feeds of wild animals, automobiles with built in sensors, traffic light systems, parking spaces and meters, DNA analysis devices, field operation sensors to assist firefighters in search and rescue, temperature controllers in buildings and public areas, sensor controlled light switches, locking devices, pump station management and control, home automation systems, movement sensors for child or aged monitoring, and manufacturing machinery and public transport systems.
The connection of billions of devices raises some issues that still need to be resolved. Security is an obvious threat, with the risk of potential threats from non-state and state supported terrorism.
And who will own the data generated by billions of devices being connected and how will that information be managed? And what are implications of personal privacy and data ownership, and the impacts on the relationships that we all have with government agencies, insurance and banking organisations, and all of our retail and commercial interests.
The Internet of Things gives us access to the data from millions of devices. But how does it work, and what can we do with all that data?