IoT aka Internet of Things is a network of devices with electronic components, software and operating system, sensors and actuators that allows to collect, exchange, and manipulate data.
Through this infrastructure it is possible to “see” what does devices sense, react on changed conditions, predict future states based on the information collected and combined with artificial intelligence. The result will be a world of interconnected smart things that communicate with each other (M2M) or with humans in order to provide their state to other entities.
This systems will create an artificial world inside the physical world and helping to bring intelligence to all kind of things that have been static and “stupid” so far. Of course this won’t happen very fast as those intelligent things need to be developed put in place and monitored but the opportunities are huge, especially in the industry sector.
The interconnection between the machines, devices, sensors will be determined by a variety of protocolls, connectors and specific software determined to run those devices. As computing power is getting more and more affordable and little computers like RaspberryPi are getting very inexpensive a immense lot of new opportunities will open up for software vendors, industry manufacturers, telecomunication providers, smart device manufacturers and in the end users that consume the end products being it physical products or services that derive from this.
Kevin Ashton is the founding father of the “Internet of Things” word combination as we use it now. But the idea behind it is much older and many companies I talked to told me that they are into IoT before it became such a hype and connected their things with all kind of sensors and intelligence to get them to react and communicate.
This communication that is essential for the Internet of Things will create massive amounts of data which have to be transfered, managed, stored and processed. This will challenge especially telecom companies and network operators to ensure a network capable of data flows that haven’t been seen so far.
Lastly there are many projections on the growth of the IoT devices and data associated with it. According to Gartner, by 2020 there will be over 20 billion smart devices on the planet. Cisco estimates that cloud traffic is very likely to increase 3.7 fold by 2020 to 14.1 ZB (zettabytes) per year. General Electric predicts that in the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) alone investments of up to 60 trillion USD will be made in the next 15 years.
As you can see everything is just huge about IoT, investments, data traffic, amount of devices, energy needed and investment.