The Internet Of Things will make many of the familiar devices and objects in our lives — from door locks to toll booths to refrigerators — suddenly Internet-connected, smartphone- and tablet-accessible, and responsive.
This shift to connectivity in once-inert things — the logical next step in the growing ubiquity of the Internet — will force companies large and small to transform dramatically.
But how are the “things” in the Internet of Things actually put together? What elevates an object or device from normal status to a sensor-laden node in the soon-to-be-massive Internet Of Things? In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we gauge the size and growth of the Internet Of Things from the point of view of consumers, businesses, and governments. But besides putting numbers to the trillion-dollar opportunity, we also explain how it works.
Here are the six main attributes that make “things” a part of the Internet Of Things, or IoT:
- Sensors: IoT devices and systems include sensors that track and measure activity in the world. One example is Smartthings’ open-and-close sensors that detect whether or not a drawer, window, or door in your home is open or closed.
- Connectivity: Internet connectivity is either contained in the item itself, or a connected hub, smartphone, or base station. If it’s the latter, then the base station will likely be collecting data from an array of sensor-laden objects, and relaying data to the cloud and back.
- Processors: Just like any computing device, IoT devices will contain some computing power “under the hood,” if only to be able to parse incoming data and transmit it.
These characteristics all apply to today’s smartphones, of course, but many IoT devices will also need to be equipped with several special features to be truly useful. These will differentiate IoT devices, particularly remote ones, from today’s smartphones.
- Energy-efficiency: Many devices in the IoT may be difficult, costly, or dangerous to access for charging or battery replacement. One may even think of the Mars Curiosity Rover as an example of such a device. Therefore, they may need to be able to operate for a year or more unattended using a conservative amount of energy or be able to wake up only periodically to relay data.
- Cost-effectiveness: Objects that contain sensors may need to be distributed broadly to be useful, as in the case of sensors in food products in supermarkets that would indicate if an item has spoiled. These would need to be relatively inexpensive to purchase and deploy.
- Quality and reliability: Some IoT devices will need to operate in harsh environments outdoors and for extended periods of time.
- Security: IoT devices may need to relay sensitive or regulated information such as health-related data, so data security will be critical.
In full, the report:
- Shows why innovation pushed along by the Internet Of Things may trickle back down into the smartphone and tablet markets
- Breaks down which products and industries on the consumer and enterprise sides are seeing the biggest investment in the IoT, and what sorts of technologies are gaining the most traction
- Considers where growth will come from in the future
- Sizes the market for the IoT in terms of total devices, revenue, and economic value
- Explores the overlap between the IoT and the wearables and mobile markets
- Considers the obstacles that could hinder the IoT from realising its full potential, including differing standards and uncertain ROI
To access BI Intelligence’s full report, Here Comes The Internet Of Things, sign up for a free trial subscription here. Subscribers also gain access to over 100 in-depth reports on social and mobile, and hundreds of charts and datasets.
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