The Internet of Things (IOT ) for Beginners

IOT-iconThe Internet is now 20 years old and over 2 billion people are connected to it using computers,smart phones and tablets.

The Internet currently connects people to people (P2P) and is now being called Internet Phase 1. The next Phase of the Internet is just beginning, and will connect people to everyday devices (M2P), and everyday devices to each other (M2M).

The Age of Smart

It started with the smart phone. Now everyday devices like thermostats,lights,cars, TVs etc are being made smart by connecting them together over networks and to the Internet.

These devices will not only be able to send data to the Internet but they will also be controlled over the Internet.

These devices will become “things” on the “Internet of things”.

What is The Internet of Things ?

The term has recently been added to the Oxford dictionary and is defined as:

The interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.

These two videos give a very good overview of the Internet of things and how it works and what it can do.


More IOT Definitions

Here is a quick overview of some of the most common.

What is the Internet of Things? –Wiki

The internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data

Internet Society Overview –pdf

The term Internet of Things generally refers to scenarios where network connectivity and computing capability extends to objects, sensors and everyday items not normally considered computers, allowing these devices to generate, exchange and consume data with minimal human intervention. There is, however, no single, universal definition

RFC 7452


What is The Internet of Everything ?

The Internet of things refers to the devices like sensors and actuators, but the term The Internet of Everything used by Cisco is broader and encompasses the devices,data, people and processes.

The devices e.g sensors will send data. This data will then be processed and used by people or by machines to control the devices or other devices.

For example: A temperature sensor sends temperature data to a process which determines that the room temperature is too hot and so sends a signal to turn on the air conditioning.

See ioe-vs-iot-m2m-whats-difference-does-matter

Although the terms IOT and IOE refer to different things they tend to used interchangeable just like the terms web and Internet.

Internet of Things (IOT) Sectors

The IOT will affect many areas of day to day life. Some of the main sectors are:


Home Control of heating,lights,door locks etc
Health medical Remote Patient Monitoring etc
Fitness and wellness Tacking heart rate and Training plans
Factory and Industry Production line control ,asset tracking etc
Agriculture Automatic watering,soil monitoring etc
Cars and Roads – Connected cars, parking spaces,
Smart Cities Traffic management, parking space tracking and availability


IOT Development Phases

The growth of the IOT is expected to go through several stages of development.

  • Passive – RFID sensors etc –
  • Active- Responds to sensor data
  • Aware- can make choices based on data.
  • Autonomous -e.g. self driving cars

We are currently in the early stages of development (Passive phase) were we are receiving data from objects and manually taking action.

IOT Components

An IOT system comprises three basic Components.

  1. The Things -sensors actuators etc
  2. The Network and protocols
  3. The Platforms, Apps and services

1. The Things – Sensors and Devices

In contrast to computers and tablets which are the main devices currently connected to the Internet.

Internet of things devices will mainly be:

  • Low Power- Power usage and computational Power.
  • Low cost
  • Wireless

Examples are Simple sensors – temperature, pressure etc

To turn an everyday object like a house or a car into a smart house or car or a “thing” will require that the object has:

  • A unique address – IPv6 address
  • A way to connect to a network – Wireless

2. IOT Networks And Protocols

The Internet of things will utilize the existing networking infrastructure, technologies and protocols currently used in homes/offices and on the Internet, and will introduce many more.

Protocols are designed to operate at a particular level in the networking stack.

TCP/IP uses a 4 level model and we will discuss IOT networking using this model.

However because of the requirement for low powered end devices there will be major developments in the Wireless connectivity protocols.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are being actively developed for low powered applications and there are new connection technologies like LPWAN, ZigBee, 6LoWpan and Thread.

See Beginners guide to IOT Wireless Technologies.

At the networking level IPv6 is set to become the standard, but in the intermediate time frame IPv4 will also be used. See IPV6 Basics and IPv4 addressing basics

At the application level there are a host of new protocols. Some have been available for a long time like ,HTTP and MQTT, whereas others have been developed especially for the IOT e.g. COAP.

On this site I concentrate on MQTT but you should be aware of the other IOT protocols -See The IOT Messaging Protocols guide

3. IOT Platforms, Apps and Services

An IOT platform combines several IOT functions in one.

It can collect and distribute data, convert data between protocols, store and analyse data.

They are available as cloud based and standalone platforms and are available from many companies both large and small.


  • Amazon Web services (AWS)
  • IBM Watson Bluemix
  • Microsoft Azure
  • ThingWrox

See Beginners Guide to IOT Dashboards and Platforms

IOT and The Cloud

The cloud will have an important role to play in the IOT as it will enable companies to create networks, store data,automate processes without having to build the infrastructure themselves.

This will enable IOT services to be developed much quicker, and at lower cost than using traditional in house systems and services.

IOT Examples

This site as a collection of case studies of real life IOT deployments from various sectors.

Other Useful IOT Videos

This Ted talk video covers the basics of what it is. It covers the requirements for a thing to become part of the Internet, and goes on to look at IOT applications.

IOT Architecture for beginners – IOTA video

Common IOT Terms

  • M2M – Machine to machine
  • P2P – Person to Person
  • P2M – Person to Machine
  • IIOT– Industrial Internet of Things
  • HIOT– Home Internet of Things
  • CIOT– Consumer Internet of Things
  • Big Data – Very large data sets that can be analyzed to reveal insights and trends
  • RFID– Radio Frequency Identification
  • NFC– Near field communication
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One comment

  1. This is one of the best and “to the point” intro to IOT for beginners.
    Please Keep me posted with new staff.
    Thank you.

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