What is the Internet of Things?

By Jason Eichner

You see it in the news a lot these days; the Internet of Things (or IoT) is coming, and it’s changing everything.

Dramatic? Perhaps. But accurate? It seems so. The Internet of Things is already here, and it’s already affecting the way we work. But just what is the Internet of Things, and what can it do?

So first, let’s define the two words in the title. They both seem perfectly sensible, but people are often confounded by their meaning together.

Internet, in this case, means connected. It means that these “things” are connected together, or connected to the greater World Wide Web in some way. Everything connects in a different way, depending on its function.

So what is a “thing”, in the context of the IoT? It really does just mean a thing. A thing in the Internet of Things could be a hearing aide, a coffee machine, or a set of headphones. This is why the term is so all-encompassing, and why the IoT is expected to change so much – it really can be a part of everything.