Equipping all objects in the world with minuscule identifying devices could be transformative of daily life. For instance, business may no longer run out of stock or generate waste products, as involved parties would know which products are required and consumed.One's ability to interact with objects could be altered remotely based on immediate or present needs, in accordance with existing end-user agreements.
Ashton's original definition was: "Today computers—and, therefore, the Internet—are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings—by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture or scanning a bar code. Conventional diagrams of the Internet ... leave out the most numerous and important routers of all - people. The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy—all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. And that's a big deal. We're physical, and so is our environment ... You can't eat bits, burn them to stay warm or put them in your gas tank. Ideas and information are important, but things matter much more. Yet today's information technology is so dependent on data originated by people that our computers know more about ideas than things. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best. The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so."
Different definitions for the Internet of Things have appeared and the term is evolving as the technology and implementation of the ideas move forward. Here are several partially overlapping definitions:
- an action plan for the European Union to introduce the governance based on the Internet of Things.
- A 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.
- 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.
- ETP EPOSS
- 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.
- Internet of Things (IoT) 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 IoT, ‘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.
- The future Internet of Things links uniquely identifiable things to their virtual representations in the Internet containing or linking to additional information on their identity, status, location or any other business, social or privately relevant information at a financial or non-financial pay-off that exceeds the efforts of information provisioning and offers information access to non-predefined participants. The provided accurate and appropriate information may be accessed in the right quantity and condition, at the right time and place at the right price. The Internet of Things is not synonymous with ubiquitous / pervasive computing, the Internet Protocol (IP), communication technology, embedded devices, its applications, the Internet of People or the Intranet / Extranet of Things, yet it relies on all of these approaches. The association of intelligent virtual representations (e.g.: called avatars and embedded, hosted in the Cloud or centralized) and physical objects are sometimes called "cyberobjects".Cyberobjects are then considered as autonomous actors of the value chains they are involved in: able to perceive, analyze and react in various contexts; although acting under the guidance of human beings as programmed. Cyberobjects can then be assistants, advisors, decision makers, etc.; and can be considered as true Agent (economics), helping to change existing economic or organization models. In such a scenario, the conception of avatars refers toartificial intelligence and Complex system.
Unique addressability of things
The original idea of the Auto-ID Center is based on RFID-tags and unique identification through the Electronic Product Code.
An alternative view, from the world of the Semantic Web focuses instead on making all things (not just those electronic, smart, or RFID-enabled) addressable by the existing naming protocols, such as URI. The objects themselves do not converse, but they may now be referred to by other agents, such as powerful centralized servers acting for their human owners.
The next generation of Internet applications using Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) would be able to communicate with devices attached to virtually all human-made objects because of the extremely large address space of the IPv6 protocol. This system would therefore be able to identify any kind of object.
A combination of these ideas can be found in the current GS1/EPCglobal EPC Information Services (EPCIS) specifications. This system is being used to identify objects in industries ranging from Aerospace to Fast Moving Consumer Products and Transportation Logistics.
Trends and characteristics
Ambient intelligence and autonomous control are not part of the original concept of the Internet of Things. Ambient intelligence and autonomous control do not necessarily require Internet structures, either. However, there is a shift in research to integrate the concepts of the Internet of Things and autonomous control. In the future the Internet of Things may be a non-deterministic and open network in which auto-organized or intelligent entities (Web services, SOAcomponents), virtual objects (avatars) will be interoperable and able to act independently (pursuing their own objectives or shared ones) depending on the context, circumstances or environments.
Embedded intelligence presents an “AI-oriented” perspective of IoT, which can be more clearly defined as: leveraging the capacity to collect and analyze the digital traces left by people when interacting with widely deployed smart things to discover the knowledge about human life, environment interaction, as well as social connection/behavior.
The system will likely be an example of event-driven architecture, bottom-up made (based on the context of processes and operations, in real-time) and will consider any subsidiary level. Therefore, model driven and functional approaches will coexist with new ones able to treat exceptions and unusual evolution of processes (Multi-agent systems, B-ADSc, etc.).
In an Internet of Things, the meaning of an event will not necessarily be based on a deterministic or syntactic model but would instead be based on the context of the event itself: this will also be a semantic web. Consequently, it will not necessarily need common standards that would not be able to address every context or use: some actors (services, components, avatars) will accordingly be self-referenced and, if ever needed, adaptive to existing common standards (predicting everything would be no more than defining a "global finality" for everything that is just not possible with any of the current top-down approaches and standardizations).
In semi-open or closed loops (i.e. value chains, whenever a global finality can be settled) it will therefore be considered and studied as a Complex system due to the huge number of different links and interactions between autonomous actors, and its capacity to integrate new actors. At the overall stage (full open loop) it will likely be seen as a chaotic environment (since systems have always finality).
The Internet of objects would encode 50 to 100 trillion objects, and be able to follow the movement of those objects. Human beings in surveyed urban environments are each surrounded by 1000 to 5000 trackable objects.
In this Internet of Things, made of billions of parallel and simultaneous events, time will no more be used as a common and linear dimension but will depend on eachentity (object, process, information system, etc.). This Internet of Things will be accordingly based on massive parallel IT systems (Parallel computing).
In an Internet of Things, the precise geographic location of a thing—and also the precise geographic dimensions of a thing—will be critical. Currently, the Internet has been primarily used to manage information processed by people. Therefore, facts about a thing, such as its location in time and space, have been less critical to track because the person processing the information can decide whether or not that information was important to the action being taken, and if so, add the missing information (or decide to not take the action). (Note that some things in the Internet of Things will be sensors, and sensor location is usually important.) The GeoWeband Digital Earth are promising applications that become possible when things can become organized and connected by location. However, challenges that remain include the constraints of variable spatial scales, the need to handle massive amounts of data, and an indexing for fast search and neighbour operations. If in the Internet of Things, things are able to take actions on their own initiative, this human-centric mediation role is eliminated, and the time-space context that we as humans take for granted must be given a central role in this information ecosystem. Just as standards play a key role in the Internet and the Web, geospatial standards will play a key role in the Internet of Things.
Not all elements in an Internet of Things will necessarily run in a global space. Think, for instance, of domotics running inside a Smart House. While the same technologies are used as elsewhere, the system might only be running on and available via a local network.
Internet of Things frameworks might help support the interaction between "things" and allow for more complex structures like Distributed computing and the development ofDistributed applications. Currently, some Internet of Things frameworks seem to focus on real time data logging solutions like Pachube: offering some basis to work with many "things" and have them interact. Future developments might lead to specific Software development environments to create the software to work with the hardware used in the Internet of Things. Companies such as ThingWorx are developing technology platforms to provide this type of functionality for the Internet of Things.
Fields of applications include for example waste management, urban planning, sustainable urban environment, continuous care, emergency response, intelligent shopping, smart product management, smart meters, home automation and smart events. Alcatel-Lucent touchatag service and Violet's Mirror gadget provide a pragmatic consumer oriented approach to the Internet of Things by which a developer can link real world items to the online world using RFID tags and QR Codes. The Connected Home offering of AlertMe is based on ultra-low-power ZigBee-enabled devices scattered around the home, which are turned into internet devices via the proxy of a home gateway. Arrayent, Inc. is a B2B company, internet-connecting consumer products (i.e. thermostats, security systems, toys, healthcare products) to smartphones, tablets, and web browsers. Pachube, built by Connected Environments Ltd, provides data management infrastructure for sensors, devices and environments, and describes itself as "a convenient, secure & scalable platform that helps you connect to & build the 'internet of things'". Nimbits, is an open source data historian server built on cloud computing architecture that provides connectivity between devices using data points. Paraimpu, is a social tool with the aim to allow people to connect, use, share and compose Things, services and devices to create personalized applications in the field of the Internet of Things.
One key issue with the Internet of Things is the ability to rapidly create IoT applications. An approach taken by the Media and Graphics lab at the University of British Columbia (Canada) focuses on a lightweight toolkit for developing IoT applications and targets rapid development using Web technologies and protocols. The toolkit has been described at the 2012 IoT (IEEE) conference and builds on previous IoT research, in particular the work on the MAGIC Broker as published at IoT 2010 (IEEE). This toolkit approach, embodied by the WoTKit has been commercialized by Sense Tecnic Systems.
MISOLIMA developed its Digital One Line Link or DOLLx8 Embedded Network system since 1991, where version 3.18 (as of 2011) is designed to address more than 28 trillion IoT objects. DOLLx8 for IoT are now due to be implemented into world first MISOLIMA eco-house system based on IoT as base technology where home, office, vehicle, alarm systems, sensors, controls and devices are all integrated into one single system.
The iDigi® Device Cloud™ allows users to connect a physical device to the cloud and use an online Web application for remote access. The application converts complex device data into simple and useful information for anyone — from business owners who want to get message when refrigerator temperatures fall below a specific threshold to farmers who want to measure soil quality. iDigi also creates Internet of Things content on their community site.