The internet of things, or IoT, is the concept of connecting any device that has the ability to transfer data over a network to the internet and/or to each other. It is a system of interconnected computing devices that can transfer data and interact with one another without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
The internet of things is not limited to digital machines like computers and cell phones, it can include mechanical machines, objects, animals, and even people. For IoT to work, all something needs to have is a unique identifier (UID) and the ability to transfer data to a network without the need for human interaction.
IoT devices can include everything from computers, cell phones, headphones, watches, refrigerators, washing machines, lamps, vehicles, airplanes, traffic lights, televisions, doors, windows, and pretty much anything else you can think of. To provide further explanation, a lightbulb that can be switched on using an app is an IoT device. A thermostat that can be controlled from a cell phone is an IoT device. Even a complex jet engine or driverless car with thousands of sensors collecting and transmitting data to ensure everything is working properly is an IoT device.
As seen from the examples above, IoT already plays a major role in our everyday lives and it’s expected to play a much larger role in the near future. Leading analysts have said that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices and some say there will be over 100 billion. Therefore, the IoT industry is expected to grow tremendously into a multi-trillion dollar industry and become far more complex with new technologies.