The Internet of Things (or IoT) refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. The term Internet of Things was proposed by Kevin Ashton in 2009 though the concept has been discussed in literature since at least 1991. The concept of the Internet of Things first became popular through the Auto-ID Center at MIT and related market analysis publications.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) was seen as a prerequisite for the Internet of Things in the early days. If all objects and people were equipped with identifiers, they could be managed and inventoried by computers. Besides using RFID, the tagging of things may be achieved through such technologies as near field communication, barcodes, QR codes and digital watermarking.
Equipping all objects in the world with minuscule identifying devices or machine-readable identifiers could transform daily life. For instance, businesses may no longer run out of stock or generate waste products, as involved parties would know which products are required and consumed. A personís ability to interact with objects could be altered remotely based on immediate or present needs, in accordance with existing end-user agreements.
According to Gartner there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. According to ABI Research more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things (Internet of Everything) by 2020. Cisco created a dynamic ìconnections counterî to track the estimated number of connected things from July 2013 until July 2020 (methodology included). This concept, where devices connect to the internet via low-power radio, is the most active research area in IoT.
The European Commission has done considerable work within the area of IoT and created the IERC cluster in 2010. IoT has the potential to enhance Europeís competitiveness and will be an important driver for the development of an information-based economy and society. A wide range of research and application projects in Europe have been set up in various application fields.
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