Internet of Everything: A Unifying Framework Beyond Internet of Things

Internet of Everything: A Unifying Framework Beyond Internet of Things

Ergin Dinc (University of Cambridge, UK), Murat Kuscu (University of Cambridge, UK), Bilgesu Arif Bilgin (University of Cambridge, UK) and Ozgur Baris Akan (University of Cambridge, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7332-6.ch001

Abstract

In this chapter, the authors put forward the notion of internet of everything (IoE) as an effort to maximally connect our communication infrastructure to the universe, which can itself be regarded as the real IoE, an interconnected network of physical phenomena (i.e., Everything we perceive as independent wholes that persist through time, such as molecules, light, waves, living organisms, and celestial objects, with the purpose of gaining better understanding of its mechanisms and manipulating them to enable novel technologies via a networked sensing, analysis, and actuation approach). The strategy to outline the IoE effort is by dissecting the vast IoE landscape into IoXs according to their various application domains (Xs), for each of which the authors give an up-to-date account of the state-of-the-art in related fields and point out the challenges in contemporary research faces. They also discuss a wide spectrum of challenges and future research directions (e.g., ubiquitous connectivity, security, big data, etc., which are common to many IoXs and penetrate into the IoE effort in general).
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Introduction

In this age of enlightenment, our understanding of the universe grows rapidly with an accelerating rate. We now understand that universe is a vast, but nevertheless connected, entity whose evolution is described by a set of rules, the laws of physics. It is empirically apparent that these rules give rise to recurrent, i.e., persisting through time, shapes within the universe, which we observe and label as entities such as light, electrons, nuclei, molecules, living creatures, planets, stars, galaxies etc, i.e., everything we distinguish as persistent carriers of information. These laws of physics we formulate, apart from trying to explain the existence of everything, serve at the same time as protocols of communication between these information carrying entities. Thus, our description of the universe can, and should, be regarded as a theory for an INTERconnected NETwork of EVERYTHING we perceive. In short, the universe from our perspective is the INTERNET of EVERYTHING (IoE). However, the quest for establishing a coherent understanding of this IoE requires, as is well known, the probing of it by means of methods within our grasp, i.e., our technology. In this regard, the technological term IoE, i.e., the concept of expanding our INTERNET, INTERconnected NETwork of computers, to EVERYTHING, actually stands for the effort of expanding our technology and infrastructure to match as much as possible to the IoE that is the universe and to gain control over it. This effort, the vision of IoE, therefore, is that of connecting our already developed infrastructure to all the various entities we observe within this universe, and now on we will mean by IoE our effort of connecting to everything there is.

For achieving this vision, we start by dissecting the vast IoE landscape into IoXs according to their various application domains (Xs), e.g., Nano Things (NT), People and Senses (PS), Sensors (S), Agricultural Things (AT), Money (M), Energy (En), Vehicles (V), Battlefield Things (BT), Industrial Things (IT), and Space (Sp), and analyze each IoX effort in itself. Careful observation and contemplation show that any IoX effort, or in general IoE, will have the four components that it relates to, namely people, things, processes and data. At its origin, as being a human effort IoE contains people at its center. People are observers of their surroundings, and from human cognitive perspective the first thing identified are the objects, referred mostly as things. By primitive empirical observation we see some things around us are in motion, and more careful analysis, called science, shows us that actually everything is in motion, according to some set of rules, which we try to decipher. We refer to isolated coherent motion of things distinguishable from their surrounding as processes. Finally, we translate our observations of various processes around us into our own language and call it data. Thus, naturally, each IoX will contain these four components. Each of these components have a natural relationship with each other, as symbolically depicted in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Components of the IoE framework

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Key Terms in this Chapter

Internet of People and Senses (IoPS): Communication of human cognitive functionalities and senses among people, and between people and machines through the internet.

Internet of Money (IoM): Fully connected monetary system, where the value of the currency is derived from the connectivity like cryptocurrencies.

Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT): The employment of IoT in modern warfare, network-centric warfare, to provide improved surveillance and situational awareness.

Internet of Agricultural Things (IoAT): Networks of sensors, actuators, and computational devices functionalized for smart agriculture applications (e.g., precision agriculture, smart food logistics, livestock health monitoring).

Internet of Energy (IoEn): Automated and intelligent power grid, which monitors and optimizes supply and demand from small/medium/large-scale producers and consumers.

Internet of Industrial Things (IoIT): Automation and optimization of industrial processes via cyber physical systems for higher productivity, better product quality, and safer workplace.

Internet of Nano Things (IoNT): A networking framework comprising artificial networks of nanoscale functional units (e.g., nano-biosensors, engineered bacteria) integrated into the Internet infrastructure.

Internet of Vehicles (IoV): Decentralized networking of all kinds of vehicles and infrastructure.

Internet of Sensors (IoS): Internet of sensor networks consisting of sensors differing in sensed data type, size, material properties, and connectivity and energy requirements. The definition covers the conventional wireless sensor networks, social sensor networks, body area sensor networks, intrabody nanosensor networks, and molecular sensor networks.

Internet of Space (IoSp): The effort of expanding our Internet infrastructure into outer space to support human space exploration and colonization of other planets (e.g., Mars).

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