What is the "Internet of Things?"

The Internet of Things, or "IoT," suffers just one major flaw -- no one seems to be able to precisely define it. We've assembled excerpts from multiple sources to piece together the definitional puzzle that is IoT, plus our own definition, below.


Extending the Internet into the physical world, the IoT is a global network of devices ("Things") that can identify themselves, be aware of their surroundings, communicate directly with each other and even act autonomously. Such devices do not depend human input to capture or generate data about themselves or the world around them. A Thing can be virtually any uniquely addressable item in the world, including non-electronic items, so long as some form of electronic tag is attached.


Kevin Ashton, RFID Journal

If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best. The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so.



A network of everyday devices, appliances, and other objects equipped with computer chips and sensors that can collect and transmit data through the Internet.


IEEE Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a self-configuring and adaptive system consisting of networks of sensors and smart objects whose purpose is to interconnect "all" things, including every day and industrial objects, in such a way as to make them intelligent, programmable and more capable of interacting with humans.


World Future Society

The "Internet of Things" refers to the concept that the Internet is no longer just a global network for people to communicate with one another using computers, but it is also a platform for devices to communicate electronically with the world around them. The result is a world that is alive with information as data flows from one device to another and is shared and reused for a multitude of purposes.



It's the idea that people can communicate with the objects and physical things around them. These things can also communicate with each other and then send people information on their smartphones...


Internet of Things Council

The Internet of Things; imagine a world where everything can be both analogue and digitally approached - reformulates our relationship with objects – things- as well as the objects themselves. Any object that carries an RFID tag relates not only to you, but also through being read by a RFID reader nearby, to other objects, relations or values in a database. In this world, you are no longer alone, anywhere.


Dana Blankenhorn

The simplest way to describe the Internet of Things is this. Nearly all products can collect data. Your t-shirt can collect data on you. Your car and refrigerator can collect data on themselves. Your keys are always somewhere. The IoT collects this data, analyzes it, transmits that information through wireless networks, and gives you, or someone or some program you designate, control over it.


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