Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT)

Tasos Kaukalias, Periklis Chatzimisios
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch751
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The concept of “Internet of Things (IoT)” was first mentioned in 1999 in the Auto-ID Center, when Kevin Ashton and his colleagues envisioned “a world in which all electronic devices are networked and every object, whether it is physical or electronic, is electronically tagged with information pertinent to that object.” (Sarma et al., 2000). The first IoT application came to life in 2003, when Auto-ID Center launched its initial EPC (Electronic Product Code) network for automatically identifying and tracing the flow of goods in supply chains.

Since then, the Internet has experienced an immense growth, from a few connected hosts to billions of interconnected devices, sharing and running numerous applications. Today, the number of objects/things connected to the Internet exceeds the number of the connected people. By the year 2020, this number is expected to reach 24 billion devices, as depicted in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Internet of things technology roadmap (SRI Consulting Business Intelligence, 2008)


The next step of the IoT vision is to interconnect people and objects over the Internet from “any-time, any-place” for “any-one” into “any-time, any-place” for “any-thing,” thus, creating a “smart” environment, leading ultimately to a more convenient way of life for everyone.


Key Technologies

The realization of the IoT vision depends mostly on the development and integration of its key applied technologies, as well as their implementation and acceptance on a society level. The four (4) key technologies of IoT can be organized into RFID, sensor technologies, smart technologies and nanotechnology (Zhang & Zhu, 2011).


The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology connects objects over-the-air by the use of electromagnetic induction for the purpose of wireless automatic identification. A RFID system consists of the tag, the reader and the back-end computer system. The tag has a unique Identifier (ID) and an antenna for transmitting radio waves in the surrounding area. In this way, every tagged object can be uniquely identified. RFID tags can be passive or active, depending on whether the tag has a power supply on-board (Welbourne et al., 2009) (Kosmatos et al., 2011).

Sensor Network

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) provide a reliable and efficient solution that covers specific communication needs. These networks consist of a large number of sensors installed in the “things,” allowing them to sense the environment. After the collection of data, they can transmit them to the base stations, where based on their analysis, the appropriate actions can be decided and implemented (Gazis et al., 2012).

Key Terms in this Chapter

ZigBee: ZigBee is a protocol that is employed for PANs and is based on the IEEE 802.15 standard. Even though they are low-powered, ZigBee devices can transmit data over long distances by passing data through intermediate devices to reach more distant ones, creating a mesh network.

Actuator Node: An actuator node is a system, which converts electrical control signals to physical actions, and constitutes the mechanism by which an agent acts upon the physical environment.

Eavesdropping: Eavesdropping is the act of secretly listening/viewing the private conversation of others without their consent.

Quality of Service (QoS): Quality of Service is a measurement of the overall performance of a telephony or computer network, particularly the performance seen by the users of the network. Most common QoS metrics are delay, jitter (delay variation), throughput,, availability, packet drop rate.

Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances, using short-wavelength radio waves, from fixed and mobile devices, building Personal Area Networks (PANs).

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6): The latest version of IP addressing scheme using 128 bits for the address, instead of the 32 bits used in IPv4 – most common Internet Protocol version.

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is actually distributed computing over a network, and provides the ability to run a program or application on many connected computers at the same time.

Near Field Communication (NFC): Near field communication is a communication standard for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into proximity, usually no more than a few inches.

Semantic Web: Semantic is the study of meaning that focuses on the relation between signifiers, like words, phrases, signs, and symbols, and what they stand for (their denotation). Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. Thus, eventually a “web of data” will be created.

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