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The Internet of Things

Written by a team of analysts from International Telecommunication Union The Internet of Things report takes a look at the next step in “always on” communications, in which new technologies like RFID and smart computing promise a world of networked and interconnected devices that provide relevant content and information whatever the location of the user.

Everything from tires to toothbrushes will be in communications range, heralding the dawn of a new era, one in which today’s Internet (of data and people) gives way to tomorrow’s Internet of Things.

According to the report by embedding short-range mobile transceivers into a wide array of additional gadgets and everyday items we enable new forms of communication between people and things, and between things themselves. In this way a new dimension has been added to the world of information and communication technologies (ICTs): from anytime, any place connectivity for anyone, we will now have connectivity for anything (Figure 1).

Source: ITU adapted from Nomura Research Institute

Connections will multiply and create an entirely new dynamic network of networks – an Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is neither science fiction nor industry hype, but is based on solid technological advances and visions of network ubiquity that are zealously being realized. The Internet of Things will enable forms of collaboration and communication between people and things, and between things themselves, hitherto unknown and unimagined. Such developments will make the merely static objects of today dynamic ones – embedding intelligence in our environment and stimulating the creation of innovative products and new business opportunities.

The report consists of six chapters as follows:

* Chapter one, Introducing the Internet of Things, explores the key technical visions underlying the Internet of Things, such as ubiquitous networks, next-generation networks and ubiquitous computing;
* Chapter two, Enabling Technologies, examines the technologies that will drive the future Internet of Things, including radio-frequency identification (RFID), sensor technologies, smart things, nanotechnology and miniaturization;
* Chapter three, Shaping the Market, explores the market potential of these technologies, as well as factors inhibiting market growth. It looks at new business models in selected industries to illustrate how the Internet of Things is changing the way firms do business;
* Chapter four, Emerging Challenges, contemplates the hurdles towards standardization and the wider implications of the Internet of Things for society, such as growing concerns over privacy;
* Chapter five, Opportunities for the Developing World, sets out some of the benefits these technologies offer to developing countries that may themselves become lead users and drivers of the market;
* Chapter six, The Big Picture, draws these threads together and concludes on how our lifestyles may be transformed over the next decade.
The Statistical annex presents the latest data and charts for more than 200 economies worldwide in their use of ICTs.