IoT is an infrastructure of networked objects (cyber-physical devices, information resources, and people) that interact with the physical world through sensors and actuators. It is an intelligent, interconnected system made of networks of communicating actuators, sensors, smart objects and services that can be quickly provisioned into systems to achieve goals for the system users. These systems may in turn be part of another IoT system.

Simply put, the IoT concept is that of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else that can be imagined. The IoT also applies to components of machines, e.g., a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig. According to Gartner, an analyst firm, there will be more than 26 billion connected devices by 2020. The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” but also includes people and the relationships between people and people, people and things, and
things and things.

Vision for IoT

The modern IoT inspires a new vision of “computing as a physical act” where the real world is monitored through sensors that transfer sensing data into the cyberspace where cyber applications and services then use the data to affect the physical environment in real time. The interlinked networks of sensors, actuators and processing devices create a vast network of connected computing resources, digital transducers and humans that can be quickly assembled into a system to achieve a given goal.

While the complexity, diversity and lifecycle expectancy of components makes it hard to design in robustness, IoT can be made resilient. Robust systems are engineered to never go down. By designing in redundancy and the ability to accommodate local failures without functional failure, an IoT network can appear to be robust. While this perceived robustness through resilience is currently a challenge, future IoT systems could use resilience to exceed the capabilities of traditional systems in this regard.

The IoT not only enables communication by allowing numerous devices to exchange information, but also can be used to create knowledge from that information and to foster collaboration between people and devices.

Current trends in IoT

IoT presents challenges and opportunities across multiple sectors, including government, research and corporate. Current IoT-based systems have different designs, architectures and implementations, although they share the goals of interoperability, flexibility, large-scale systems, distributed control, safety and security. Based on in-depth analysis performed by global communities, such as the World Economic Forum, the success of IoT hinges upon:

  • Return on Investment (social, commercial or otherwise) for use/business case scenario
  • Standardization which provides interoperability, compatibility, reliability, and effective operations globally
  • Security, privacy and safety for humans and things alike

IoT is the subject of a great deal of hype and many bold predictions about where it will eventually lead. However, there is no question that it is changing the world. In addition to connecting people, anytime and everywhere, it is connecting IoT products to humans and other IoT products, and it is putting these products to the service of humanity. In utmost synthesis, IoT can be considered a family of technologies the goal of which is to enable anything that can be connected to the Internet – even things which do not have any electronic purpose – to be monitored and controlled from afar and thus to provide a service to its users.

In the industrial sector, the IoT is linked to the concept of Industry 4.0. This foresees the application of IoT in an intelligent machine context: systems and people connected to each other. An evolution in which factories continue to be more intelligent, and with their assembly line components more closely interconnected, will create the possibility to make decisions based on a wide range of highly sophisticated, extensive databases. This will open the way for new types of business. It is evident that IoT will be a revolutionary force in many areas.

Latest iNEMI roadmap covers IoT

The 2017 iNEMI Roadmap includes, for the first time, a product sector chapter on IoT. This chapter — along with other roadmap topics — will be discussed in two webinars iNEMI has scheduled April 6 and 7 to preview the roadmap. For more information