The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and is able to transfer data over a network.
History of IoT
Kevin Ashton, the
IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microservices, and the internet. The convergence has helped tear down the silos between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), enabling unstructured machine-generated data to be analyzed for insights to drive improvements.
Although Ashton’s was the first mention of the internet of things, the idea of connected devices has been around since the 1970s, under the moniker’s embedded internet and pervasive computing.
The first internet appliance, for example, was a Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1980s. Using the web, programmers could check the status of the machine and determine whether there would be a cold drink awaiting them, should they decide to make the trip to the machine.
IoT evolved from machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, i.e., machines connecting to each other via a network without human interaction. M2M refers to connecting a device to the cloud, managing it, and collecting data.
Taking M2M to the next level, IoT is a sensor network of billions of smart devices that connect people, systems, and other applications to collect and share data. As its foundation, M2M offers the connectivity that enables IoT.
The internet of things is also a natural extension of SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), a category of the software application program for process control, the gathering of data in real-time from remote locations to control equipment and conditions. SCADA systems include hardware and software components. The hardware gathers and feeds data into a computer that has SCADA software installed, where it is then processed and presented in a timely manner. The evolution of SCADA is such that late-generation SCADA systems developed into first-generation IoT systems.
The concept of the IoT ecosystem, however, didn’t really come into its own until the middle of 2010 when, in part, the government of China said it would make IoT a strategic priority in its five-year plan.
How IoT works?
An IoT ecosystem consists of web-enabled smart devices that use embedded processors, sensors, and communication hardware to collect, send, and act on data they acquire from their environments. IoT devices share the sensor data they collect by connecting to an IoT gateway or other edge device where data is either sent to the cloud to be analyzed or analyzed locally. Sometimes, these devices communicate with other related devices and act on the information they get from one another. The devices do most of the work without human intervention, although people can interact with the devices — for instance, to set them up, give them instructions or access the data.