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Internet of things (IoT)

Internet of things (IoT)

Internet of things (IoT) is a proposed internet-like structure connecting everyday physical objects


The Internet of things (IoT) describes a network of physical objects embedded with software, sensors, and technology with the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with devices over the Internet.

Enterprise use of the IoT can be divided into two segments: industry-specific offerings like sensors in a generating plant or real-time location devices for healthcare; and IoT devices that can be used in all industries, like smart air conditioning or security systems.

The Internet of Things (IoT) was originally most interesting to business and industrial development, often referred to as machine-to-machine (M2M), but focus has shifted on filling homes and workplaces with smart devices. There are 35 billion IoT devices installed all over the world as of 2020 and that number is expected to reach 46 billion by the end of 2021.

IoT devices likely contain one or more sensors used to collect data. The data collected depends on the individual device and its task. Sensors inside industrial machinery might measure temperature or pressure, security cameras may have a proximity sensor along with sound and video, and a weather station may contain a humidity sensor. The sensor uses Wi-Fi, 4G, satellite, and other services to send information to central processing servers and other devices.

IoT devices generate vast amounts of data; that might be information about an engine's temperature, whether a door is open or closed, or a reading from a smart meter. All this IoT data has to be collected, stored, and analyzed. One way companies are making the most of this data is to feed it into artificial intelligence (AI) systems that will take that IoT data and use it to make predictions.

Infrastructure IoT applications enable monitoring and control operations of sustainable urban and rural infrastructures, including bridges, railway tracks, and on-and-offshore wind farms. These technologies help the construction industry by cost saving, time optimization, better quality workday, paperless workflow, and an increase in productivity.


The IDC says the amount of data created by IoT devices will grow rapidly in the next few years. A report states most data is generated by video surveillance, but other industrial and medical uses will generate more data over time.

The Internet-of-things retail market is projected to evolve with a greater adoption of connected devices, and is expected to reach $182.04 billion USD by 2028 according to Grand View Research. The industrial IoT market size was valued at $161.14 billion USD in 2018 and is expected to grow 29.4% by 2018. Overall market size for IoT hit $604.69 billion in 2014 and $1 trillion in 2020. Technological proliferation and increasing investment is expected to drive the global market over the next seven years.

IoT applications
Smart home

IoT home automation is steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. A large number of home devices already exist that include smart technology sensors and processing capabilities, such as thermostats, refrigerators, and security systems. These IoT home devices help in reducing costs, energy, and time, and have begun to increase in use with the global market for smart home automation expected to reach $40 billion by 2020.

Smart home IoT companies

Smart cities

The Internet-of-things is instrumental in the conceptualization and development smart cities. These smart cities use IoT devices, such as connected sensors, lights, and meters, to collect and analyze data for the improvement of infrastructure, public utilities and more.

Smart meters, smart transportation, smart grids, smart waste management and smart air quality are just a few of the potential applications for IoT technology in smart cities. These applications are coming to the forefront of development with the EU allocating 365 million euros for the production of smart cities.

Smart city IoT companies

Edge computing

Edge computing is a technology that works especially well with hybrid cloud, 5G, and IoT applications. Edge brings data processing and other computing needs to sensors, in order to reduce latency. The technology reduces bandwidth bottlenecks and processes important data close to the source.

Rather than sending data to be processed on external [cloud] servers or at central data centers, costing precious seconds and additional resources, the computation takes place on the device or in the network itself. This makes IoT devices ideally suited for edge computing applications, and makes the two technologies increasingly dependent on each other.

Edge computing IoT companies

IoT companies


Further Resources


A Beginner's Guide to The Internet of Things (IoT) 2021

Megi Hamza


Edge computing and IoT: How they fit together

Kevin Casey


March 8, 2021

How IoT and smart city technology works: Devices, applications and examples - Business Insider

Insider Intelligence


February 2, 2021


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