What is Internet of Things (IoT)? 139 definitions since 1999

By Lapenna Sergio January 1, 2022 IoT Insights
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The Internet of Things (IoT) has been defined in a number of different ways in technical literature and popular media. Each definition reflects a different perspective and supports a different interest. While there is no universal definition of the IoT, these different definitions highlights IoT's common traits and can help illuminate its strenghts and weaknesses while giving us a good sense of the tremendous impact IoT has on our life.

Besides the lack of an agreed universal definition, it should be noted that defining the IoT is hard for many reasons. One reason is that the IoT has a large number of applications, from monitoring supply chains to stopping trains and lighting homes, which involves all economic and social aspects of daily life and changes the way humans interact with the world around them. Another reason is that the IoT involves software and hardware, a variety of protocols and standards, devices and networks, storage, analytics, automation, and many other topics such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Machine Learning, and Augmented Reality (AR), which makes it even harder to understand the IoT itself. Furthermore, concepts generally included in the IoT vision strongly relate to visions under other names such as Web of Things, Web of Goods, Internet of Everything, and Cloud of Things, while other concepts including Cyber Physical Systems (CPS), Industry 4.0, Machine to Machine Communications (M2M), System of Systems (SoS), and Made in China 2025 closely relates to IoT but should be considered as part of or complementary to the IoT.

 

Contents

 

IoT Definitions

Since the definition of the IoT is still evolving because technology and the ideas behind it change themselves over time, the definitions that follow provide illustrative concept definitions rather than tightly worded definitions.

A non-exhaustive list of definitions about the IoT.
#DefinitionSource
1The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a distributed network connecting physical objects that are capable of sensing or acting on their environment and able to communicate with each other, other machines or computers. The data these devices report can be collected and analysed in order to reveal insights and suggest actions that will produce cost savings, increase efficiency or improve products and services.European Parliament (May 2015). The Internet of Things: Opportunities and challenges. Web
2The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or "things" embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the manufacturer, operator, and/or other connected devices.Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) (Jan 2022). The Internet of Things at the IETF. Web
3A global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies.International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (Jun 2012). Recommendation ITU-T Y.2060: Overview of the Internet of Things. Web
4The Internet of Things (IoT) describes physical objects (or groups of such objects) that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks.Wikipedia (Jan 2022). Internet of Things. Web
5The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of devices such as vehicles and home appliances that contain electronics, software, actuators, and connectivity which allows these things to connect, interact and exchange data.Wikipedia (Jan 2019). Internet of Things. Web
6The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects — "things" — that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet. These devices range from ordinary household objects to sophisticated industrial tools.Oracle (Nov 2020). What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)? Web
7A dynamic global network infrastructure with self-configuring capabilities based on standard and interoperable communication protocols where physical and virtual "things" have identities, physical attributes, and virtual personalities and use intelligent interfaces, and are seamlessly integrated into the information network.European Research Cluster on IoT (IERC) (2014). Internet of Things. Web
8The Internet of Things (IoT) are connected objects and devices (aka "things") that are equipped with sensors, software, and other technologies that allow them to transmit and receive data – to and from other things.System Analysis Program Development (SAP) (2016). What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? Web
9Internet of Things is an integrated part of Future Internet and could be defined as a dynamic global network infrastructure with self configuring capabilities based on standard and interoperable communication protocols where physical and virtual "things" have identities, physical attributes, and virtual personalities and use intelligent interfaces, and are seamlessly integrated into the information network. In the loT, "things" are expected to become active participants in business, information and social processes where they are enabled to interact and communicate among themselves and with the environment by exchanging data and information "sensed" about the environment, while reacting autonomously to the "real/physical world" events and influencing it by running processes that trigger actions and create services with or without direct human intervention. Interfaces in the form of services facilitate interactions with these "smart things" over the Internet, query and change their state and any information associated with them, taking into account security and privacy issues.Cluster of European Research Projects on the Internet of Things (CERP-IoT) (2009). Internet of Things: Strategic Research Roadmap. Web
10The network of devices that contain the hardware, software, firmware, and actuators which allow the devices to connect, interact, and freely exchange data and information.National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (Feb 2020). Glossary, Ref. NIST SP 800-172. Web
11The 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.Alexander S. Gillis, IoTAgenda (Jan 2021). What is Internet of Things (IoT)? Web
12The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects accessed through the Internet, as defined by technology analysts and visionaries. These objects contain embedded technology to interact with internal states or the external environment. In other words, when objects can sense and communicate, it changes how and where decisions are made, and who makes them.Cisco (Jun 2014). The Internet of Things (IoT): An Overview. Web
13A network of items — each embedded with sensors — which are connected to the Internet.R. Minerva for IEEE IoT Magazine (Nov 2015). Towards a definition of the Internet of Things (IoT). Web
14Internet of Things refers to the networking capability that allows information to be sent to and received from objects and devices (such as fixtures and kitchen appliances) using the Internet.Merriam-Webster (Sep 2017). Internet of Things. Web
15The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.Gartner Glossary (Dec 2019). Internet of Things (IoT). Web
16In a nutshell, the Internet of Things is the concept of connecting any device (so long as it has an on/off switch) to the Internet and to other connected devices. The IoT is a giant network of connected things and people — all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them.Jen Clark, IBM (Nov 2016). What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? Web
17The Internet of Things (IoT) is a set of tools, techniques and resources that make ordinary inanimate objects come alive, develop sensory and communications capacities to enhance their core function or purpose, and through cognitive computing processes, establish an understanding of their context and ecosystem that bestows a primitive rationality.Anthony Behan, IBM (Nov 2016). No really, what is the Internet of Things? Web
18Devices of all sorts [...] equipped with sensors and actuators, connected to the Internet, allowing them to monitor their status or the environment, to receive orders or even to take autonomous action based on available information.European Commission (EC) (Dec 2015). Monitoring the Digital Economy & Society. Web
19The interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.Office of Communications (Ofcom) (Mar 2016). Internet of Things (IoT). Web
20The IoT is a suite of technologies and applications that equip devices and locations to generate all kinds of information — and to connect those devices and locations for instant data analysis and, ideally, "smart" action. Conceptually, the IoT implies physical objects being able to utilize the Internet backbone to communicate data about their condition, position, or other attributes.Smart buildings: How IoT technology aims to add value for real estate companies (Apr 2016). Surabhi Kejriwal and Saurabh Mahajan, Smart buildings: How IoT technology aims to add value for real estate companies, Deloitte University Press. Web
21An infrastructure of interconnected objects, people, systems and information resources together with intelligent services to allow them to process information of the physical and the virtual world and react.ISO/IEC JTC 1 WG5 AHG1 (Jul 2014). Internet of Things (IoT). Web
22The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated devices connected to a network and/or to one another, exchanging data without necessarily requiring human-to-machine interaction. In other words, IoT is a collection of electronic devices that can share information among themselves. Examples include smart factories, smart home devices, medical monitoring devices, wearable fitness trackers, smart city infrastructures, and vehicular telematics.Congress.gov (Feb 2020). The Internet of Things (IoT): An Overview. Web
23The concept to allow Internet-based communications to happen between physical objects, sensors, and controllers. The network of physical objects — devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.Analog Devices (2016). IoT DEFINITIONS. Web
24Sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects are linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet.IoT Analytics, McKinsey (Dec 2014). Why the Internet of Things is called Internet of Things: Definition, history, disambiguation. Web
25The Internet of Things is a paradigm where everyday objects can be equipped with identifying, sensing, networking and processing capabilities that will allow them to communicate with one another and with other devices and services over the Internet to accomplish some objective. Ultimately, IoT devices will be ubiquitous, context-aware and will enable ambient intelligence.Andrew Whitmore, Anurag Agarwal and Li Da Xu (2015). The Internet of Things — A survey of topics and trends. Web
26Internet of Things (IoT) is a global network and service infrastructure of variable density and connectivity with self-configuring capabilities based on standard and interoperable protocols and formats which consists of heterogeneous things that have identities, physical and virtual attributes, and are seamlessly and securely integrated into the Internet.S. Tarkoma and A. Katasonov (Sep 2011). Internet of Things Strategic Research Agenda (IoT–SRA). Web
27Objects with computing devices in them that are able to connect to each other and exchange data using the internet.Cambridge Dictionary (Jul 2016). The Internet of Things. Web
28The Internet of Things (IoT) is a cyber-physical ecosystem of interconnected sensors and actuators, which enable intelligent decision making.European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) (Jun 2018). Internet of Things (IoT). Web
29A network which can collect information from the physical world or control the physical world objects through various deployed devices with capability of perception, computation, execution and communication, and support communications between human and things or between things by transmitting, classifying and processing information.China Communication Standards Association (CCSA) (2011). Communication standard technical report. Web
30The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a vast number of "things" that are connected to the internet so they can share data with other things — IoT applications, connected devices, industrial machines and more. Internet-connected devices use built-in sensors to collect data and, in some cases, act on it. IoT connected devices and machines can improve how we work and live. Real-world Internet of Things examples range from a smart home that automatically adjusts heating and lighting to a smart factory that monitors industrial machines to look for problems, then automatically adjusts to avoid failures.SAS (Jan 2022). What is The Internet of Things (IoT). Web
31IoT is a network of networks of uniquely identifiable endpoints (or "things") that communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity — whether locally or globally. The IoT brings meaning to the concept of ubiquitous connectivity for businesses, governments, and consumers with its innate management, monitoring, and analytics. With uniquely identifiable endpoints integrated throughout networks, operational and location data, as well as other such data, it is managed and monitored by the intelligent or traditional embedded system that has been enhanced and made part of IoT solutions and applications for businesses, governments, and consumers. IoT is composed of technology-based connected solutions that allow businesses and governments to gain insights that help transform how they engage with customers, deliver products/services, and run operations.D. Lund, C, MacGillivray, V. Turner and M. Morales for International Data Corporation (IDC) (May 2014). Worldwide and Regional Internet of Things (IoT). Web
32IoT is simply the point in time when more things or objects were connected to the Internet than people.D. Evans (2011). Cisco IBSG. Web
33Put very simply, the IoT is when everyday products such as refrigerators, watches, cars, speakers and coffee machines that are connected to internet and to one another through a network, speak to each other. The IoT is about information technology that can gather its own information and do things with it, often using artificial intelligence (AI) which can analyse the information, identify patterns and respond quickly or even predict scenarios.M. White, P. Mennie and R. Chudzynski for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) (Oct 2020). Regulating the Internet of Things in the UAE. Web
34The "Internet of Things" is the ubiquitous connection of people, things and machines. This connection is intended to produce a variety of new goods and services. Products, means of transport or tools are expected to "negotiate" within a virtual marketplace regarding which production elements could best accomplish the next production step. This would create a seamless link between the virtual world and the physical objects within the real world.D. Wegener of Siemens for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) (Dec 2014). Industry 4.0 — Opportunities and Challenges of the Industrial Internet. Web
35The Internet of Things (IoT) is the intelligent connectivity of smart devices by which objects can sense one another and communicate, thus changing how, where and by whom decisions about our physical world are made.B. Barnes, Cisco (May 2015). MC2 Conference. Web
36The term IoT describes a network of objects in your home or office that have sensors and software that enables them to communicate with each other using the internet. They are usually traditional, everyday objects such as vacuum cleaners, air conditioners and thermostats, TV sets, and refrigerators.Alliance for Internet of Things Innovations (AIOTI) (Jan 2022). The Internet of Things and Its Revolutionary Power. Web
37Broadly speaking, the IoT is an expansion of the global infrastructure through existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies. It incorporates the interconnection of physical and virtual systems to enable new and autonomous capabilities.National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) (Nov 2014). Industrial Internet Scoping Report. Web
38The Internet of Things is a plethora of technologies and their applications that provide means to access and control all kinds of ubiquitous and uniquely identifiable devices, facilities, and assets. These include equipment that has inherent intelligence, such as transducers, sensors, actuators, remote mobile devices, industrial controllers, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) controllers, home gadgets, surveillance cameras, and others, as well as externally enabled things or objects, such as all kinds of assets tagged with RFID, humans, animals, or vehicles that carry smart gadgets, and so forth. Communications are via all sorts of long-and short-range wired or wireless devices in different kinds of networking environments such as Intranet, extranet, and Internet that are supported by technologies such as cloud computing, SaaS, and SOA and have adequate privacy and security measures, based on regulated data formats and transmission standards. The immediate goal is to achieve pervasive M2M connectivity and grand integration and to provide secure, fast (real time), and personalized functionalities and services such as (remote) monitoring, sensing, tracking, locating, alerting, scheduling, controlling, protecting, logging, auditing, planning, maintenance, upgrading, data mining, trending, reporting, decision support, dashboard, back office applications, and others. The ultimate goal is to build a universally connected world that is highly productive, energy efficient, secure, and environment friendly.Honbo Zhou (Mar 2013). The Internet of Things in the Cloud: A Middleware Perspective. Web
39At the most simplistic level IoT relates to the connection of a variety of devices to the Internet and the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) interfaces used between these devices.Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) (Jul 2014). Impact of the Internet of Things. Web
40A development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. A state in which physical objects (things) having embedded technology to sense and communicate, being connected via an identifier such as a micro-chip/SIM. This will serve the communication among those things, closing the gap between the real and the virtual world and creating smarter processes and structures that can support us without needing our attention. It can be compared with the digital connection on the internet.Belimo (Jul 2017). Internet of Things (IoT) Glossary of Terms. Web
41The Internet of Things describes the coordination of multiple machines, devices and appliances connected to the Internet through multiple networks.GSMA (Sep 2016). What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? Web
42The Internet of Things (IoT) can be defined as a set of smart things/objects such as home devices, mobile, laptop, etc., addressed by a unique addressing scheme and connected to the Internet through a unified framework this framework may be cloud computing.Z. H. Ali, H. A. Ali and M. M. Badawy for International Journal of Computer Applications (IJCA) (Oct 2015). Internet of Things (IoT): Definitions, Challenges and Recent Research Directions. Web
43The Internet of Things links the objects of the real world with the virtual world, thus enabling anytime, anyplace connectivity for anything and not only for anyone. It refers to a world where physical objects and beings, as well as virtual data and environments, all interact with each other in the same space and time.Cluster of European Research Projects on the Internet of Things (CERP-IoT) (Mar 2010). Vision and Challenges for Realising the Internet of Things. Web
44The Internet of Things connects devices such as everyday consumer objects and industrial equipment onto the network, enabling information gathering and management of these devices via software to increase efficiency, enable new services, or achieve other health, safety, or environmental benefits.Goldman Sachs (Sep 2014). The Internet of Things: Making sense of the next mega-trend. Web
45The Internet of Things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices and send and receive data.Techopedia (Nov 2020). Internet of Things (IoT). Web
46The Internet of Things refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems.Webopedia (May 2021). IoT — Internet of Things. Web
47The Internet of Things represents the idea that ordinary objects — from thermostats and shoes to cars and lamp posts — will be embedded with sensors and connected to the Internet.Center for Data Innovation (Dec 2014). How Can Policymakers Help Build the Internet of Things? Web
48The Internet of Things, commonly abbreviated "IoT," is an umbrella term that refers to anything connected to the Internet. It includes traditional computing devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, but also includes a growing list of other devices that have recently become Internet enabled. Examples include home appliances, automobiles, wearable electronics, security cameras, and many other things.TechTerms.com (Jan 2015). Internet of Things. Web
49From a technical perspective, Internet of Things is the network which can achieve interconnection of all things anywhere, anytime with complete awareness, reliable transmission, accurate control, intelligent processing and other characteristics by the supportive technologies, such as micro-sensors, RFID, wireless sensor network technology, intelligent embedded technologies, Inter net technologies, integrated intelligent processing technology, nanotechnology.X.-Y. Chen and Z.-G. Jin (2012). Research on Key Technology and Applications for Internet of Things. Web
50The Internet of Things, or "IoT" for short, is about extending the power of the internet beyond computers and smartphones to a whole range of other things, processes, and environments. […] The Internet of Things means taking all the things in the world and connecting them to the internet.Calum McClelland, IoT For All (May 2019). What is the Internet of Things, or IoT? A Simple Explanation. Web
51A network of everyday devices, appliances, and other objects equipped with computer chips and sensors that can collect and transmit data through the internet.Dictionary.com (Mar 2016). Internet of Things. Web
52Internet of Things (IoT) is an intermediate term used to refer to the interconnection of physical components with the ability to connect and exchange data, without human interaction, due to the integration of software and electronic components. Examples of these components include home appliances, vehicles, and computing devices.BCS (Aug 2018). Internet of Things: Definition, application and challenges. Web
53A network of objects that are fitted with microchips and connected to the internet, enabling them to interact with each other and to be controlled remotely.Collins Dictionary (Sep 2019). The Internet of Things. Web
54The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the growing network of physical objects that have an IP address in order to connect to the web and the communication that occurs between these objects and other devices enabled for the Internet and other systems.Arimetrics (Jan 2021). What is IoT — Internet of Things. Web
55IoT is simply the network of interconnected things/devices which are embedded with sensors, software, network connectivity and necessary electronics that enables them to collect and exchange data making them responsive. More than a concept Internet of Things is essentially an architectural framework which allows integration and data exchange between the physical world and computer systems over existing network infrastructure.Internet of Things Wiki (IoT Wiki) (Dec 2015). Understanding Internet of Things. Web
56The Internet of Things represents a vision in which the Internet extends into the real world embracing everyday objects. Physical items are no longer disconnected from the virtual world, but can be controlled remotely and can act as physical access points to Internet services. An Internet of Things makes computing truly ubiquitous.F. Mattern and C. Floerkemeier (2010). From the Internet of Computers to the Internet of Things. Web
57A world where physical objects are seamlessly integrated into the information network, and where the physical objects can become active participants in business processes. Services are available to interact with these 'smart objects' over the Internet, query their state and any information associated with them, taking into account security and privacy issues.R.H. Weber and R. Weber (2010). Internet of Things: Legal Perspectives. Web
58An evolving convergent Internet of Things and services that is available anywhere, anytime as part of an all pervasive, omnipresent, socio-economic fabric, made up of converged services, shared data and an advanced wireless and fixed infrastructure linking people and machines to provide advanced services to business and citizens.UK Future Internet Strategy Group (UK FISG) (2011). Future Internet Report. Web
59The Internet of Things (IoT) consists of things that are connected to the Internet, anytime, anywhere. In its most technical sense, it consists of integrating sensors and devices into everyday objects that are connected to the Internet over fixed and wireless networks.Internet Protocol for Smart Object Alliance (IPSO) (2008). Report. Web
60The Internet of Things could be conceptually defined as a dynamic global network infrastructure with self-configuring capabilities based on standard and interoperable communication protocols where physical and virtual 'things' have identities, physical attributes and virtual personalities, use intelligent interfaces and are seamlessly integrated into the information network.V. Ovidiu and P. Friess (May 2011). Internet of Things — Global Technological and Societal Trends. Web
61A global network infrastructure, linking physical and virtual objects using cloud computing, data capture and network communications. It allows devices to communicate with each other, access information on the Internet, store and retrieve data, and interact with users, creating smart, pervasive and always connected environments.C. Doukas (Feb 2012). Arduino, Sensors, and the Cloud. Web
62Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept where components are connected via a computer network and where one or more of those components interact with the physical world.Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) (Oct 2020). The Industrial Internet of Things Vocabulary. Web
63The term Internet of Things generally refers to scenarios where network connectivity and computing capability extends to objects, sensors and everyday items not normally considered computers, allowing these devices to generate, exchange and consume data with minimal human intervention.K. Rose, S. Eldridge, L. Chapin (Oct 2015). The Internet of Things (IoT): An Overview. Web
64Although there is no single definition for the Internet of Things, competing visions agree that it relates to the integration of the physical world with the virtual world — with any object having the potential to be connected to the Internet via short-range wireless technologies, such as radio frequency identification (RFID), near field communication (NFC), or wireless sensor networks (WSNs). This merging of the physical and virtual worlds is intended to increase instrumentation, tracking, and measurement of both natural and social processes.J. Winter and R. Ono (Dec 2015). Algorithmic Discrimination: Big Data Analytics and the Future of the Internet. Web
65The concept of Internet of Things (IoT) [...] is that every object in the Internet infrastructure is interconnected into a global dynamic expanding network.M.S. Farasha, M. Turkanovićb, S. Kumaric and M. Hölbl (May 2015). An efficient user authentication and key agreement scheme for heterogeneous wireless sensor network tailored for the Internet of Things environment. Web
66We define the Internet of Things as sensors and actuators connected by networks to computing systems. These systems can monitor or manage the health and actions of connected objects and machines. Connected sensors can also monitor the natural world, people, and animals.J. Manyika, M. Chui, P. Bisson, J. Woetzel, R. Dobbs, J. Bughin and D. Aharon for McKinsey (Jun 2015). The Internet of Things: Mapping The Value Beyond the Hype. Web
67An IoT is a network that connects uniquely identifiable "Things" to the Internet. The "Things" have sensing/actuation and potential programmability capabilities. Through the exploitation of unique identification and sensing, information about the "Thing" can be collected and the state of the "Thing" can be changed from anywhere, anytime, by anything.R. Minerva, A. Biru and D. Rotondi (Sep 2015). Towards a definition of the Internet of Things (IoT). Web
68IoT envisions a self-configuring, adaptive, complex network that interconnects "things" to the Internet through the use of standard communication protocols. The interconnected things have physical or virtual representation in the digital world, sensing/actuation capability, a programmability feature, and are uniquely identifiable. The representation contains information, including the thing's identity; status; location; or any other business, social, or privately relevant information. The things offer services, with or without human intervention, through the exploitation of unique identification, data capture and communication, and actuation capability. The service is exploited through the use of intelligent interfaces and is made available anywhere, anytime, and for anything taking security into consideration.T. Samad, IEEE (Jan 2016). Control Systems and the Internet of Things. Web
69The main idea behind the IoT is to bridge the gap between the physical world of humans and the virtual world of electronics via smart objects. These smart objects allow the interactions between humans and their environment by providing, processing, and delivering any sort of information or command. Sensors and actuators will be integrated in buildings, vehicles, and common environments and can tell us about them, their state, or their surroundings.A. Makhoul, C. Guyeux, M. Hakem and J. M. Bahi (Feb 2016). Using an Epidemiological Approach to Maximize Data Survival in the Internet of Things. Web
70We must first define what we mean by 'things.' It could be very simple objects or complex objects. Things do not need to be connected directly to the public Internet, but they must be connectable via a network (which could be a LAN, PAN, body area network, etc.). The IoT is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and interact with the external environment. The IoT encompasses hardware (the 'things' themselves), embedded software (software running on, and enabling, the connected capabilities of the things), connectivity/communications services, and information services associated with the things (including services based on analysis of usage patterns and sensor or actuator data). An IoT solution is a product (or set of products) combined with a service either a one-to-one or a one-to-many relation. Meaning one service is combined with one (set of) product(s), or one service is combined with multiple (sets of) products.F. Jammes, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) (Feb 2016). Internet of Things in Energy Efficiency. Web
71At the very high level of abstraction, the Internet of Things (IoT) can be modeled as the hyper-scale, hyper-complex cyber-physical system.K. A. Delic (Feb 2016). On Resilience of IoT Systems. Web
72The Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm is based on intelligent and self-configuring nodes (things) interconnected in a dynamic and global network infrastructure.A. Botta (Mar 2016). Integration of Cloud Computing and Internet of Things: a Survey. Web
73The Internet of Things (IoT) [...] is connecting everyday objects to the Internet and facilitating machine-to-human and machine-to-machine communication with the physical world.Y. Qin (Apr 2016). When things matter: A survey on data-centric Internet of Things. Web
74Whilst the definition of 'Internet of Things' is elusive in general, the use of the term refers to the use of sensors and data communications technology built into physical objects in order to track, coordinate or control the functioning of those objects based on data over the network or the Internet.C. O. Fjader, Editor A. J. Masys (2016). Exploring the Security Landscape: Non-Traditional Security Challenges > National Security in a Hyper-Connected World: Global Interdependence and National Security. Web
75The Internet of Things is a new paradigm in which every device is digitally connected, regardless of their function, and can communicate with other devices and people over communication protocols.F. Silva and C. Analide, Editors J. Machado and A. Abelha (2016). Applying Business Intelligence to Clinical and Healthcare Organizations > Sensorization to Promote the well-being of people and the betterment of health organizations. Web
76The Internet of Things is a term used to describe the ever-growing number of devices connecting to a network, including televisions and appliances.J. Minnick and L. Friedrichsen (2016). Web Design with HTML & CSS3: Comprehensive. Web
77The Internet of Things (IoT) envisions a world where smart objects connected to the Internet, share their data, exchange their services and cooperate together to provide value-added services that none of these objects could provide individually.A. Yachir, Y. Amirat, A. Chibani and N. Badache (Dec 2015). Event-Aware Framework for Dynamic Services Discovery and Selection in the Context of Ambient Intelligence and Internet of Things > IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. Web
78Although many standardization groups such as IEEE, ITU, 3GPP, and IETF have presented various definitions, in its broadest sense, Internet of the Things means technology through which additional values can be provided to users by linking things or devices to the Internet.Dong-Woo Lee (2016). A Study on Actual Cases & Meanings for Internet of Things > International Journal of Software Engineering and Its Applications. Web
79The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection of everyday computerized devices linked through the Internet that enables them to send and receive data.E. Havemann, Allot (Sep 2018). What is the Internet of Things? Web
80The Internet of Things is a system made up of physical devices connected by the internet and capable of accumulating and sharing data across a network.Phoenix Internet (Jun 2019). Everything You Need to Know About the Internet of Things (IoT). Web
81The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, is a network of physical internet-connected devices that can collect and share data across a network. Simply put, IoT is a term used to describe objects connected to the internet.HubSpot (Sep 2018). The Ultimate Guide to the Internet of Things (IoT). Web
82Internet of Things (IoT) is the digital interconnection of objects in different areas — home, industry, city, etc. — that allows us to integrally monitor the state of objects based on the collected data analysis.ACCIÓ (Oct 2019). The Internet of Things (IoT) in Catalonia. Web
83"Internet of Things" (IoT) refers to networks of objects that communicate with other objects and with computers through the Internet. "Things" may include virtually any object for which remote communication, data collection, or control might be useful, such as vehicles, appliances, medical devices, electric grids, transportation infrastructure, manufacturing equipment, or building systems.E. A. Fischer (Oct 2015). The Internet of Things: Frequently Asked Questions. Web
84The IoT is an intelligent network which connects all things to the Internet for the purpose of exchanging information and communicating through the information sensing devices in accordance with agreed protocols.S. Chen, H. Xu, D. Liu, B. Hu and H. Wang (Aug 2014). A Vision of IoT: Applications, Challenges, and Opportunities With China Perspective. Web
85Internet of Things (IoT) is a world-wide network of interconnected objects uniquely addressable based on standard communication protocols whose point of convergence is the Internet.D. A. Hendricks (Aug 2015). The Trouble with the Internet of Things. Web
86Internet of Things (IoT) is a paradigm with a notion of enabling the things (physical entities, e.g,: human, car, animal, mirror, bulb, plant, etc.) to communicate with each other, to transfer and receive the information (read-only data), through the use of underlying network (wired or wireless), supporting technologies (e.g., ZigBee, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.), required sensors, actuators and computing devices, and finally respond back in a way that requires least or negligible human intervention.P. Matta and B. Pant (2019). Internet-of-things: Genesis, Challenges And Applications. Web
87The Internet of Things, or IoT, is defined as a network of devices that are autonomously able to sense, monitor, or interact with the surrounding environment, in addition to collect and exchange data.Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) (Feb 2021). Internet of Things. Web
88The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of many objects, smart devices, machines, consumers, patients and services being increasingly able to be connected to solve problems in new and more effective ways.GS1 (Oct 2016). GS1 and the Internet of Things. Web
89The Internet of Things refers to a type of network to connect anything with the Internet based on stipulated protocols through information sensing equipments to conduct information exchange and communications in order to achieve smart recognitions, positioning, tracing, monitoring, and administration.K. K. Patel and S. M. Patel (2016). Internet of Things-IoT: Definition, Characteristics, Architecture, Enabling Technologies, Application & Future Challenges. Web
90Internet of Things (IoT) is denned as interconnection of sensing and actuating devices providing the ability to share information across platforms through a unified framework, developing a common operating picture for enabling innovative applications.J. Gubbi, S. Marusic, A. S. Rao, Y. W. Law and M. Palaniswami (Aug 2013). A pilot study of urban noise monitoring architecture using wireless sensor networks. Web
91The Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as a paradigm in which objects equipped with sensors, actuators, and processors communicate with each other to serve a meaningful purpose.P. Sethi and S. R. Sarangi (Aug 2016). Internet of Things: Architectures, Protocols, and Applications. Web
92The Internet of Things (IoT) is a paradigm where a network of physical objects and infrastructure interact with each other, often autonomously. IoT connects people and things seamlessly forming a symbiotic relationship. In pervasive presence of IoT, services are provided as commodity.N. D. Patel and H. D. Patil, International Journal of Management Technology and Engineering (IJAMTES) (Jan 2019). Defining Internet of Things: A Survey. Web
93The Internet of Things (IoT) is an interconnected system of distinctively address able physical items with various degrees of processing, sensing, and actuation capabilities that share the capability to interoperate and communicate through the Internet as their joint platform.M. H. Miraz, M. Ali, P. S. Excell, R. Picking (Sep 2017). A Review on Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything (IoE) and Internet of Nano Things (IoNT). Web
94The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to physical devices that are connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. It is the global network of infrastructure, vehicles, wearable devices, home appliances, medical technologies and other objects that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors and actuators, enabling these 'things' to share and exchange data to perform their functions more efficiently and effectively.State of New South Wales (NSW) (Oct 2019). Internet of Things (IoT) Policy Guidance. Web
95Internet of Things is simply an interaction between the physical and digital worlds. The digital world interacts with the physical world using a plethora of sensors and actuators.O. Vermesan et al. (2011). Internet of Things Strategic Research Roadmap. Web
96Internet of Things is defined as a paradigm in which computing and networking capabilities are embedded in any kind of conceivable object.I. Peña-López, ITU (2005). ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things. Web
97The Internet of Things refers to the networking of physical objects through the use of embedded sensors, actuators, and other devices that can collect or transmit information about the objects.H. Bauer, M. Patel and J. Veira for McKinsey (Dec 2014). The Internet of Things: Sizing up the opportunity. Web
98The Internet of Things refers to the use of sensors, actuators, and data communications technology built into physical objects — from roadways to pacemakers — that enable those objects to be tracked, coordinated, or controlled across a data network or the Internet.J. Manyika, M. Chui, J. Bughin, R. Dobbs, P. Bisson and A. Marrs for McKinsey (May 2013). Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy. Web
99Embedded sensors and actuators in machines and other physical objects that are being adopted for data collection, remote monitoring, decision making and process optimization in everything from manufacturing to infrastructure to health care.R. Dobbs, J. Manyika and J. Woetzel (2015). No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends. Web
100The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the technologies and devices that sense information and communicate it to the Internet or other networks and, in some cases, act on that information. [...] The term "Internet of Things" (IoT) is generally defined as the concept of connecting and interacting through a network with a broad array of "smart" devices, such as fitness trackers, cameras, door locks, thermostats, vehicles, or jet engines.United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) (May 2017). Internet of Things: Status and implications of an increasingly connected world. Web
101In short, the Internet of Things refers to the rapidly growing network of connected objects that are able to collect and exchange data in real time using embedded sensors. Thermostats, cars, lights, refrigerators, and more appliances can all be connected to the IoT.A. Meola for Business Insider (Jan 2022). A look at examples of IoT devices and their business applications in 2022. Web
102Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects or people called "things" that are embedded with software, electronics, network, and sensors that allow these objects to collect and exchange data.J. Smith for Guru99 (Dec 2021). Top 78 IoT Interview Questions and Answers. Web
103The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to the set of devices and systems that interconnect real-world sensors and actuators to the Internet. This includes many different systems, including Internet connected cars, wearable devices, smart meters and smart objects, home automation systems and lighting controls, smartphones, and wireless sensor networks.P. Fremantle for WSO2 (Oct 2015). A Reference Architecture for the Internet of Things. Web
104IoT refers to a world-wide network of interconnected objects uniquely addressable, based on standard communication protocols.L. Atzori, A. Iera and G. Morabito (Oct 2010). The Internet of Things: A survey. Web
105The IoT is a decentralized network of objects, applications, and services that can sense, log, interpret, communicate, process, and act on a variety of information or control devices in the physical world.National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) (Nov 2014). NSTAC Report to the President on the Internet of Things. Web
106The Internet of Things in the physical world is basically a network of digitally enabled communicating devices, products and services.P. Tadejko (Sep 2015). Application of Internet of Things in Logistics — Current Challenges. Web
107Internet of Things (IoT) is an open and comprehensive network of intelligent objects that has the capacity to auto-organize, share information, data and resources, reacting and acting in face of situations and changes in the environment.S. Madakam, R. Ramaswamy and S. Tripath for National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) (May 2015). Internet of Things (IoT): A Literature Review. Web
108Internet of Things (IoT) is a global network, which allows the communication between human-to-human, human-to-things and things-to-things, which is anything in the world by providing unique identity to each and every object.R. Aggarwal and M. Lal Das (Aug 2012). RFID security in the context of "Internet of Things". Web
109The Internet of Things (IoT) is the connection of devices within everyday objects via the internet, enabling them to share data.Oxford Dictionary (Jan 2022). Internet of Things. Web
110Based on infrastructure, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a dynamic global network infrastructure of physical and virtual objects having unique identities, which are embedded with software, sensors, actuators, electronic and network connectivity to facilitate intelligent applications by collecting and exchanging data. Based on existing technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a new revolution to the internet due to the advancement in sensor networks, mobile devices, wireless communication, networking and cloud technologies.Government College of Engineering (2020). Definition of IoT (Internet of Things):. Web
111The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a type of network to connect anything with the Internet based on stipulated protocols through information sensing equipments to conduct information exchange and communications in order to achieve smart recognitions, positioning, tracing, monitoring, and administration.International Journal of Engineering Science and Computing (IJESC) (May 2016). Internet of Things — IoT: Definition, Characteristics, Architecture, Enabling Technologies, Application & Future Challenges. Web
112The Internet of Things (IoT) is a name for the aggregate collection of network-enabled devices, excluding traditional computers like laptops and servers.Investopedia (Dec 2021). The Internet of Things (IoT). Web
113The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a system of interrelated, internet-connected objects that are able to collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention.Aeris (Jan 2021). What is IoT? Defining the Internet of Things (IoT). Web
114The IoT can be described as an extension of the internet and other network connections to different sensors and devices — or "things" — affording even simple objects, such as lightbulbs, locks, and vents with a higher degree of computing and analytical capabilities.Trend Micro (Jan 2021). Internet of Things (IoT). Web
115The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, all collecting and sharing data.ZDNET (Feb 2020). What is the IoT? Everything you need to know about the Internet of Things right now. Web
116Simply, the Internet of Things is made up of devices — from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables — connected together.Matthew Evans, TechUK (Feb 2018). What is the Internet of Things? WIRED explains. Web
117In the simplest terms, the Internet of Things (IoT) is how we describe the digitally connected universe of everyday physical devices. These devices are embedded with internet connectivity, sensors and other hardware that allow communication and control via the web.Built In (May 2019). IoT: The Internet of Things. Web
118The Internet of Things, commonly abbreviated as IoT, refers to the connection of devices (other than typical fare such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT.A. Meola for Business Insider (Jan 2022). What is the Internet of Things? What IoT means and how it works. Web
119The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected devices with 1) unique identifiers in the form of an IP address which 2) have embedded technologies or are equipped with technologies that enable them to sense, gather data and communicate about the environment in which they reside and/or themselves.i-SCOOP (Sep 2021). Making sense of IoT (Internet of Things) — the IoT business guide. Web
120The Internet of Things is a technology that allows us to add a device to an inert object (for example: vehicles, plant electronic systems, roofs, lighting, etc.) that can measure environmental parameters, generate associated data and transmit them through a communications network.Ferrovial (May 2020). Internet of Things. Web
121The Internet of Things (IoT) is a framework which connects the physical world with the digital world. In simple terms, the Internet of Things is a giant network in which every day devices are connected to other connected devices and to the internet.Study.com (Dec 2021). Application in Internet of Things: Definition & Purpose. Web
122Simply put, Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept 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 you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.J. Morgan for Forbes (May 2014). A Simple Explanation Of 'The Internet of Things'. Web
123On the most general level, the Internet of Things is about using sensors and digital technologies to make previously unintelligent things (from door locks and kitchen appliances to entire buildings and cities) able to compute and communicate — typically wirelessly.IoT Rapid-Proto Labs (IoTLabs) (Oct 2017). Internet of Things: Best Practices in Technology, Development Methods and Product Design. Web
124The Internet of Things is a network of physical objects or devices that communicate and interact with each other via an internet connection. [...] In short, we can define the Internet of Things as a systems of systems that have (at least) the following properties: sensing and actuation, connectivity, intelligence, heterogeneity, dynamicity, scalability, and security.The Economist Intelligence Unit (2020). The Internet of Things: Applications for Business. Web
125The phrase "Internet of Things" has arisen to reflect the growing number of smart, connected products and highlight the new opportunities they can represent.M. E. Porter and J. E. Heppelmann for Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) (Nov 2014). How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition. Web
126The Internet of Things is a lot like it sounds. The IoT is a growing system of billions of devices — or things — worldwide that connect to the internet and to each other through wireless networks.K. Chivers for Norton (Apr 2019). What is the Internet of Things? How the IoT works, and more. Web
127From a system-level perspective, the Internet of Things can be looked at as a highly dynamic and radically distributed networked system, composed of a very large number of smart objects producing and consuming information.D. Miorandi, S. Sicari, F. De Pellegrini and I. Chlamtac for Ad Hoc Networks Journal (Apr 2012). Internet of Things: Vision, applications and research challenges. Web
128Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as wireless or fixed, two‐way communication between geographically distributed remote devices and sensors through a centralized platform.IDB Invest, GSMA and Frost & Sullivan (2019). Prepare for the Internet of Things Disruption. Web
129The term "IoT" describes the use of sensors or other electronic devices that collect data about the physical world and transmit their information, via the internet.J. P. Farmer for City of New York (Mar 2021). IoT Strategy: The New York City Internet of Things Strategy. Web
130The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the phenomenon of everyday devices connecting to the Internet through tiny embedded sensors and computing power.Accenture (2014). The Internet of Things: The Future of Consumer Adoption. Web
131Internet of Things (IoT) refers to an emerging paradigm consisting of a continuum of uniquely addressable things communicating with each other to form worldwide dynamic networks.E. Borgia (Dec 2014). The Internet of Things vision: Key features, applications and open issues. Web
132Internet of Things (IoT) is not the result of a single technology, but it is the combination of several complementary development technologies that provide capabilities, which help to bridge the gap between the virtual and the physical world.F. Mattern and C. Floerkemeier (2010). From the Internet of Computers to the Internet of Things. Web
133Simply stated, IoT is the connectivity that enables connected devices to interoperate. IoT connects the world's physical systems such as power meters, vehicles, containers, pipelines, wind-farm turbines, vending machines, personal accessories, and much more.International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) (2016). ICC Policy Primer on the Internet Of Everything. Web
134Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of items, embedded with sensors and actuators.S. König, S. Schiebeck, S. Schauer, M. Latzenhofer, P. Mayer and G. Fitzpatrick (May 2017). Deliverable 3: Internet of Things Risk Analysis and Assessment. Web
135The IoT is an environment that gathers information from multiple devices (computers, vehicles, smart phones, traffic lights, social media and anything with a sensor or actuator) and applications – anything from a social media app like Twitter to an e-commerce platform, from a manufacturing system to a traffic control system.G. Heydon and F. Zeichner (Oct 2015). Enabling the Internet of Things for Australia. Web
136Internet of Things [...] is the vast network of devices connected to the Internet, including smart phones and tablets and almost anything with a sensor on it — cars, machines in production plants, jet engines, oil drills, wearable devices, and more. These "things" collect and exchange data.M. Muntjir, M. Rahul and H. A. Alhumyani (Jun 2017). An Analysis of Internet of Things (IoT): Novel Architectures, Modern Applications, Security Aspects and Future Scope with Latest Case Studies. Web
137A global network infrastructure, linking physical and virtual objects through the exploitation of data capture and communication capabilities. This infrastructure includes existing and evolving Internet and network developments. It will offer specific object-identification, sensor and connection capability as the basis for the development of independent cooperative services and applications. These will be characterised by a high degree of autonomous data capture, event transfer, network connectivity and interoperability.Coordination and Support Action for Global RFID-Related Activities and Standardization (CASAGRAS) (Feb 2009). CASAGRAS and The Internet of Things: Definition and Vision Statement Agreed. Web
138The Internet of Things (IoT) is a world where physical objects are seamlessly integrated into the information network, and where the physical objects can become active participants in business processes. Services are available to interact with these 'smart objects' over the Internet, query and change their state and any information associated with them, taking into account security and privacy issues.Future Internet (May 2009). Research. Web
139The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network formed by things/objects having identities, virtual personalities operating in smart spaces using intelligent interfaces to connect and communicate with the users, social and environmental contexts.European Technology Platform on Smart Systems Integration (ETP EPoSS) (2008). Internet of Things in 2020: Roadmap for the Future. Web

 

Conclusion

Since the term "Internet of Things" was first used in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, who was working on supply-chain optimisation for Procter & Gamble, people have been using the term IoT in the wild in many ways. The IoT term has been used from marketing buzz to research publications and conference titles. Everybody had a different view and opinion about IoT.

To date, the definition of the Internet of Things (IoT) is still evolving due to the evolution and convergence of multiple technologies and megatrends. The IoT technology itself is on a maturing stage, and it is being interpreted according to specific needs, interests, and technical bias. That's why we observe a lack of a common or unified definition of IoT.

Regardless of shifting definitions and predictions, the IoT is still a useful concept for considering the economic, technological, and social impacts of the world of Internet connected smart Things. Myriad of reports, books, and articles have discussed how this evolution will benefit humanity.

For us at RT, the Internet of Things (IoT) is basically: smart electromechanical Things connected to the Internet.

Last update: January 21, 2022
Categories: IoT Insights
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About the author

Sergio Lapenna

Sergio is RT's Founder and CEO. He has extensive experience in ICT and IoT sectors, innovative start-ups management, business development, and organizational strategies. He practically graduated in Automation Engineering from the University of Naples.
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