Internet of Things (IoT) Ecosystems
Broadly speaking, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a system consisting of networks of sensors, actuators, and smart objects whose purpose is to interconnect “all” things, including everyday and industrial objects, in such a way as to make them intelligent, programmable, and more capable of interacting with humans and each other.The IoT ecosystem is hard to define, complex, and difficult to capture due to the vastness of possibility and the rapidity with which it is expanding. There is no common definition of IoT; current definitions vary so much that they are reminiscent of the old story of the blind men and the elephant. IoT is shaping the evolution of the Internet. It is creating numerous challenges and opportunities for engineering and science. And the success of IoT depends strongly on standardization, which provides interoperability, compatibility, reliability, and effective operations on a global scale.Recognizing the value of IoT to industry and the benefits this technological innovation brings to the public, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) has a number of standards, projects, and events that are directly related to creating the environment needed for a vibrant IoT. In 2014, the IEEE created an IoT Initiative to coordinate its IoT efforts. As a part of this Initiative, the IEEE‐SA developed an IoT ecosystem study.IEEE‐SA engaged stakeholders in key regions of the world to obtain the input that shaped the study. This engagement was in the form of a series of roundtable discussions held by IEEE-SA. The study was augmented by input from IoT-related workshops held by IEEE-SA and the IEEE Communications Society.The structure of the study comprises three principal areas: Market, Technology, and Standards. After each of these three areas is examined, the role of academia and research as a contributor to the three areas is discussed. Finally, the importance of user acceptance is addressed.IoT is the subject of a great deal of hype and many bold predictions about where it will eventually take us. However, there is no question that IoT is changing the world. In addition to connecting people, anytime and everywhere, it is connecting IoT products to humans and other IoT products, and it is putting these products at the service of humanity. This transformation has already begun; it will only continue to accelerate.Note that there can be many IoTs. There is the global IoT (evolving from the global Internet) as well as local and private IoTs. The term “IoT” encompasses all of these.