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 (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
The definition of the Internet of Things has evolved due to the convergence of multiple technologies, real-time analytics, machine learning, commodity sensors, and embedded systems. Traditional fields of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, control systems, automation (including home and building automation), and others all contribute to enabling the Internet of Things. In the consumer market, IoT technology is most synonymous with products pertaining to the concept of the "smart home", covering devices and appliances (such as lighting fixtures, thermostats, home security systems and cameras, and other home appliances) that support one or more common ecosystems, and can be controlled via devices associated with that ecosystem, such as smartphones and smart speakers.
There are a number of serious concerns about dangers in the growth of IoT, especially in the areas of privacy and security; and consequently industry and governmental moves to begin to address these.
The concept of a network of smart devices was discussed as early as 1982, with a modified Coke vending machine at Carnegie Mellon University becoming the first Internet-connected appliance, able to report its inventory and whether newly loaded drinks were cold or not. Mark Weiser's 1991 paper on ubiquitous computing, "The Computer of the 21st Century", as well as academic venues such as UbiComp and PerCom produced the contemporary vision of the IoT. In 1994, Reza Raji described the concept in IEEE Spectrum as "[moving] small packets of data to a large set of nodes, so as to integrate and automate everything from home appliances to entire factories". Between 1993 and 1997, several companies proposed solutions like Microsoft's at Work or Novell's NEST. The field gained momentum when Bill Joy envisioned device-to-device communication as a part of his "Six Webs" framework, presented at the World Economic Forum at Davos in 1999.
The term "Internet of things" was likely coined by Kevin Ashton of Procter & Gamble, later MIT's Auto-ID Center, in 1999, though he prefers the phrase "Internet for things". At that point, he viewed radio-frequency identification (RFID) as essential to the Internet of things, which would allow computers to manage all individual things.
Defining the Internet of things as "simply the point in time when more 'things or objects' were connected to the Internet than people", Cisco Systems estimated that the IoT was "born" between 2008 and 2009, with the things/people ratio growing from 0.08 in 2003 to 1.84 in 2010.
The key driving force behind the Internet of things is the MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor, or MOS transistor), which was originally invented by Mohamed M. Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959. The MOSFET is the basic building block of most modern electronics, including computers, smartphones, tablets and Internet services. MOSFET scaling miniaturization at a pace predicted by Dennard scaling and Moore's law has been the driving force behind technological advances in the electronics industry since the late 20th century. MOSFET scaling has been extended into the early 21st century with advances such as reducing power consumption, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) semiconductor device fabrication, and multi-core processor technology, leading up to the Internet of things, which is being driven by MOSFETs scaling down to nanoelectronic levels with reducing energy consumption.
The extensive set of applications for IoT devices is often divided into consumer, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure spaces.
Consumer applications
A growing portion of IoT devices are created for consumer use, including connected vehicles, home automation, wearable technology, connected health, and appliances with remote monitoring capabilities.
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IoT devices are a part of the larger concept of home automation, which can include lighting, heating and air conditioning, media and security systems. Long-term benefits could include energy savings by automatically ensuring lights and electronics are turned off.
A smart home or automated home could be based on a platform or hubs that control smart devices and appliances. For instance, using Apple's HomeKit, manufacturers can have their home products and accessories controlled by an application in iOS devices such as the iPhone and the Apple Watch. This could be a dedicated app or iOS native applications such as Siri. This can be demonstrated in the case of Lenovo's Smart Home Essentials, which is a line of smart home devices that are controlled through Apple's Home app or Siri without the need for a Wi-Fi bridge. There are also dedicated smart home hubs that are offered as standalone platforms to connect different smart home products and these include the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple's HomePod, and Samsung's SmartThings Hub. In addition to the commercial systems, there are many non-proprietary, open source ecosystems; including Home Assistant, OpenHAB and Domoticz.
Elder care
One key application of a smart home is to provide assistance for those with disabilities and elderly individuals. These home systems use assistive technology to accommodate an owner's specific disabilities. Voice control can assist users with sight and mobility limitations while alert systems can be connected directly to cochlear implants worn by hearing-impaired users. They can also be equipped with additional safety features. These features can include sensors that monitor for medical emergencies such as falls or seizures. Smart home technology applied in this way can provide users with more freedom and a higher quality of life.
The term "Enterprise IoT" refers to devices used in business and corporate settings. By 2019, it is estimated that the EIoT will account for 9.1 billion devices.
Commercial application
Medical and healthcare
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), (also called the Internet of health things), is an application of the IoT for medical and health related purposes, data collection and analysis for research, and monitoring. The IoMT has been referenced as "Smart Healthcare", as the technology for creating a digitised healthcare system, connecting available medical resources and healthcare services.
IoT devices can be used to enable remote health monitoring and emergency notification systems. These health monitoring devices can range from blood pressure and heart rate monitors to advanced devices capable of monitoring specialised implants, such as pacemakers, Fitbit electronic wristbands, or advanced hearing aids. Some hospitals have begun implementing "smart beds" that can detect when they are occupied and when a patient is attempting to get up. It can also adjust itself to ensure appropriate pressure and support is applied to the patient without the manual interaction of nurses. A 2015 Goldman Sachs report indicated that healthcare IoT devices "can save the United States more than $300 billion in annual healthcare expenditures by increasing revenue and decreasing cost." Moreover, the use of mobile devices to support medical follow-up led to the creation of 'm-health', used "to analyse, capture, transmit and store health statistics from multiple resources, including sensors and other biomedical acquisition systems".
Specialized sensors can also be equipped within living spaces to monitor the health and general well-being of senior citizens, while also ensuring that proper treatment is being administered and assisting people regain lost mobility via therapy as well. These sensors create a network of intelligent sensors that are able to collect, process, transfer, and analyze valuable information in different environments, such as connecting in-home monitoring devices to hospital-based systems. Other consumer devices to encourage healthy living, such as connected scales or wearable heart monitors, are also a possibility with the IoT. End-to-end health monitoring IoT platforms are also available for antenatal and chronic patients, helping one manage health vitals and recurring medication requirements.
Advances in plastic and fabric electronics fabrication methods have enabled ultra-low cost, use-and-throw IoMT sensors. These sensors, along with the required RFID electronics, can be fabricated on paper or e-textiles for wirelessly powered disposable sensing devices. Applications have been established for point-of-care medical diagnostics, where portability and low system-complexity is essential.
As of 2018 IoMT was not only being applied in the clinical laboratory industry, but also in the healthcare and health insurance industries. IoMT in the healthcare industry is now permitting doctors, patients, and others, such as guardians of patients, nurses, families, and similar,to be part of a system, where patient records are saved in a database, allowing doctors and the rest of the medical staff to have access to patient information. Moreover, IoT-based systems are patient-centered, which involves being flexible to the patient's medical conditions. IoMT in the insurance industry provides access to better and new types of dynamic information. This includes sensor-based solutions such as biosensors, wearables, connected health devices, and mobile apps to track customer behaviour. This can lead to more accurate underwriting and new pricing models.
The application of the IOT in healthcare plays a fundamental role in managing chronic diseases and in disease prevention and control. Remote monitoring is made possible through the connection of powerful wireless solutions. The connectivity enables health practitioners to capture patient's data and applying complex algorithms in health data analysis.
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