What is the Internet of Things?

What is the Internet of Things?

To put it plainly, the “Internet of Things” is the actual network of physical devices that are embedded with various electronics, sensors, actuators, sensors, and connectivity which enable these objects with the ability to connect with each other and exchange data.  Each of these things can be uniquely identifiable through their own embedded computing system but can still manage to operate in conjunction with each other within the infrastructure of the current internet.

Commonly known as “IoT,” the Internet of Things allows for objects to be sensed and/or controlled remotely through an existing network; objects including your laptop but also smart speakers, Hikvision security cameras, thermostats, televisions, and even refrigerators! This massive connectivity creates all kinds of cybersecurity opportunities for increased—and direct—integration of the physical world into digital (computer) based systems. This should actually improve overall efficiency, accuracy, and economic benefit to the parties involved. It could also reduce human intervention (automation).


The original concept for the Internet of Things first became popular in 1999, noted at the Auto-ID Center at MIT as well as in related market-analysis publications.  The original interpretation of the idea was that we could eventually outfit all objects in the world with some kind of—very miniscule—identifying device or machine-readable identifier that could use these objects to transform daily life.  For example, inventory control would become instant and ceaseless; ubiquitous.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips were also becoming quite popular around this time and Auto-ID center co-founder Kevin Ashton considered these would be the precursor for IoT.  Of course, Ashton preferred the term “Internet for Things”.


We can certainly understand the many applications for internet connected devices today; if not the vast extent of it then at least appreciating the breadth of it.  Because these devices do not necessarily need complicated computer resources to function—and communicate with each other—we can see how quickly this world might grow.  And because of that, we can see IoT applications in nearly every field of labor, today.  These systems can very easily collect and relay/share information, control other machines, operate factory functions, and more.


Of course, the most attractive IoT applications will be consumer-facing. This is why we can find so many home-based IoT applications on the market now.  From fitness trackers to smart speakers to connected security cameras to smart bulbs and lights, there is a good chance you probably interact with the IoT at some point throughout the day.

Written by Jay Londerick