Greater interconnectivity to define success
Probably the best definition of the Internet of Things (IoT) appears in a Forbes magazine article written by the futurist Jacob Morgan. According to Morgan, the IoT refers to the concept of “basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other).”
This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else. It also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig. Again, all of these examples have an on and off switch.
Which begs the question: why? Why would we want a thing, such as a coffee maker, connected to the Internet? Easy, to get it brewing so when one comes downstairs after showering and getting dressed there’s a pot of freshly-made coffee waiting and/or after leaving for the day to turn it off if checking confirms that it was absentmindedly left on.
A 2013 Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things defines the IoT as "a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies" and for these purposes a "thing" is "an object of the physical world (physical things) or the information world (virtual things), which is capable of being identified and integrated into communication networks."
The Global Standards Initiative further stated that “the IoT allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention. When IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2020.”