Internet of Things: Challenges and Opportunities

By S. C. Mukhopadhyay and N. K. Suryadevara

The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) is used to describe embedded devices (things) with Internet connectivity, allowing them to interact with each other, services, and people on a global scale. This level of connectivity can increase reliability, sustainability, and efficiency by improved access to information. Environmental monitoring, home and building automation, and smart grids could be interconnected, allowing information to be shared between systems that affect each other. This article explores the challenges and opportunities of developing the IoT.

The use of the internet is increasing steadily over the years. As per the statistics1, the number of internet users at the end of 2011 exceeded 2.2 billion. The internet can be used to transmit data collected from widely distributed regions, such as measurements of environmental parameters.

In recent times, an enormous amount of research and development works has been carried out in different parts of the world to make the Internet of Things feasible.

Though the term Internet of Things was proposed by Kevin Ashton2, in 1999, the Internet of Things is a concept originally coined and introduced by MIT. In a nutshell, the IoT is about physical items talking to each other. Machine-to-machine communication and person-to-computer communication will be extended to things. Technologies that will drive the future Internet of Things include: sensor technologies including Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID), smart things, nanotechnology, and miniaturization.

The importance of IoT in the future can be perfectly visualized with the help of Fig. 13. It shows that there are already many more connected devices than people, and they will increase exponentially over the coming years. In the future, the billions of connected devices will use the internet as a scaffold to support and transmit their sensations. These may consist of millions of embedded electronic measuring devices: thermostats, pressure gauges, pollution detectors, cameras, microphones, glucose sensors, ECGs, electroencephalographs. These will probe and monitor cities and endangered species, the atmosphere, our ships, highways and fleets of trucks, our conversations, our bodies, and even our dreams.

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