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Internet of Things definitions

What is the Internet of Things? It depends on whom you ask. An overview of Internet of Things definitions from various sources (associations, brands, media, analysts).


Gartner IoT definition

The 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.

IDC IoT definition

IDC defines the Internet of Things (IoT) as a network of networks of uniquely identifiable end points (or things) that communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity - be it locally or globally.

IoT defined by Bosch

After file sharing, e-commerce, and social media, the next generation of the internet is connecting things and devices: the Internet of Things (IoT). These devices range from sensors and security cameras to vehicles and production machines. Connecting devices results in data that open up new insights, business models, and revenue streams. The insights gained from this data in turn give rise to new services that can complement the conventional product business.

IoT defined by IBM (Watson)

Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to the growing range of Internet-connected devices that capture or generate an enormous amount of information every day. For consumers, these devices include mobile phones, sports wearables, home heating and air conditioning systems, and more. In an industrial setting, these devices and sensors can be found in manufacturing equipment, the supply chain, and in-vehicle components.

IoT defined in Google Search

A proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.

IoT definition by Cisco (via NetworkWorld)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the intelligent connectivity of smart devices, expected to drive massive gains in efficiency, business growth and quality of life. In other words, when objects can sense each other and communicate, it changes how and where and who makes decisions about our physical world.

IoT definition by Lopez Research in a Cisco paper (PDF)

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 connections such as RFID, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. Sensors can also have wide area connectivity such as GSM, GPRS, 3G, and LTE.

IoT definition by Nicole Kobie in The Guardian

At its core, IoT is simple: it’s about connecting devices over the internet, letting them talk to us, applications, and each other.

IoT definition Digital Trends

At a very basic level, “Internet of Things” means devices that can sense aspects of the real world — like temperature, lighting, the presence or absence of people or objects, etc. — and report that real-world data, or act on it. Instead of most data on the Internet being produced and consumed by people (text, audio, video), more and more information would be produced and consumed by machines, communicating between themselves to (hopefully) improve the quality of our lives.

IoT definition Financial Times

Currently, the internet is a network of computers each with an identifying label consisting of an unique number called an IP address. The vision of the internet of things is to attach tiny devices to every single object to make it identifiable by its own unique IP address. These devices can then autonomously communicate with one another.

IoT definition IERC (European Research Cluster on IoT)

The IERC definition states that IoT is "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.".

IoT definition ITU - Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI)

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been defined in Recommendation ITU-T Y.2060 (06/2012) as a 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. Through the exploitation of identification, data capture, processing and communication capabilities, the IoT makes full use of things to offer services to all kinds of applications, whilst ensuring that security and privacy requirements are fulfilled. From a broader perspective, the IoT can be perceived as a vision with technological and societal implications.

IoT definition Jacob Morgan on Forbes

Simply put, this 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. As I mentioned, if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT.

IoT definition Margaret Rouse - TechTarget

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

IoT definition PC Magazine Encyclopedia

Connecting the physical world to a computer or mobile device via the Internet, which includes home appliances, door locks, doorbells, thermostats, lighting, security cameras, heating and air conditioning.

IoT definition SAP

Internet of Things definition: 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.

IoT definition SAS

The Internet of Things is the concept of everyday objects – from industrial machines to wearable devices – using built-in sensors to gather data and take action on that data across a network.

IoT definition TechWorld

IoT refers to an environment in which physical objects can communicate over the web. In which static devices, white goods, people and animals can send out and receive data over the web. Wherein each IoT device or object has a unique identifier, and can communicate - and be communicated to without humaan intervention.

IoT definition Wikipedia

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as "connected devices" and "smart devices"), buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

IoT in the perspective of the IoT-A project

The idea of a globally interconnected continuum of devices, objects and things in general emerged with the RFID technology, and this concept has considerably been extended to the current vision that envisages a plethora of heterogeneous objects interacting with the physical environment.

McKinsey (2010) IoT definition: Michael Chui, Markus Löffler, and Roger Roberts

In what’s called the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—are linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet. These networks churn out huge volumes of data that flow to computers for analysis.

Techopedia IoT definition

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices. The term is closely identified with RFID as the method of communication, although it also may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes.

Webopedia IoT definition

The Internet of Things (IoT) 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.
IoT Extends Internet Connectivity. The Internet of Things extends internet connectivity beyond traditional devices like desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and tablets to a diverse range of devices and everyday things that utilize embedded technology to communicate and interact with the external environment, all via the Internet.