The Thing about the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a system where items in the physical world, and sensors within or attached to these items, are connected to the Internet via wireless and wired Internet connections. These sensors can use various types of local area connectivity, such as RFID, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. Sensors can also have wide area connectivity, such as GSM, GPRS, 3G, and LTE. Today, there are several important characteristics of the Internet of Things your business should understand. The IoT:

1. Includes living, as well as inanimate things.

The definition of Internet of Things began with connecting industrial equipment. Today, IoT connects everything from industrial equipment to everyday objects that range from automobiles to utility meters. It can also include living organisms, like plants, animals, and people. Wearable computing and digital health devices, such as Nike+ Fuel band and Fitbit, connect people within the IoT. And animals are connected too. For example, the Cow Tracking Project uses data collected from radio positioning tags to monitor cows for illness and track behavior in the herd.

2. Uses sensors for data collection.

The physical objects that are being connected may possess one or more sensors. Each sensor can monitor a specific condition — such as location, vibration, motion and temperature. In the IoT, these sensors will connect to each other and to systems that can understand or present information from the sensor’s data feeds. The objective is for these sensors to provide new information to a company’s systems and to people.

3. Changes what is communicating.

In the past, people communicated with people and with machines. Imagine if all of your equipment had the ability to communicate. What would it tell you? IoT-enabled objects will share information about their condition and the surrounding environment with people, software systems and other machines. This information can be shared in real-time or collected and shared at defined intervals.

4. Requires a robust IP network. 

IoT data differs from traditional computing. The data can be small in size and frequent in transmission. The number of devices or nodes that are connecting to the network are also greater in IoT than in traditional PC computing. These attributes present both opportunities in data collection, management, and security. Many industrial IoT deployments have used proprietary networks. Instead of building proprietary networks, IT should connect IoT devices with standards-based IP networks. An IP-based network will help businesses deliver the performance, reliability and interoperability that are required to support global IoT networks and connections with partner ecosystems

What It Means For Your Business?

The IoT impacts every business. Mobile and the Internet of Things will change the types of devices that connect into a company’s systems, and these newly connected devices will produce new types of data. The Internet of Things will help a business gain efficiencies, harness intelligence from a wide range of equipment, improve operations and increase customer satisfaction.

Are you building an IoT strategy for your business?


Maribel Lopez is the CEO and mobile market strategist for Lopez Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in communications technologies with a heavy emphasis on the disruptive nature of mobile technologies. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.


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