Defining the IoT for Digital and Communications Service Providers

The IoT is a catch-all phrase for describing the ecosystems of ‘Internet-connected things’ including houses, smart meters, thermostats, wearables, cars and so forth. The IoT’s connectivity provides advanced communication between things and the cloud, and it enables more thorough data analysis based on a wide range of collected metrics – from your body temperature changes to the number of kilometres you travel in a day. The IoT can enable complex activities like the remote control of car heating via a smart watch.

Imagine this level of connectivity extrapolated to multiple systems, for example, a smart watch reporting your real-time health status to an emergency response team in the case of an auto accident, and with the insurance company already quoting a car repair service.

From the point of view of digital and communications service providers, who are accustomed to voice- and SMS-dominant communications trends for both consumers and businesses, the IoT really started with M2M communication. M2M, now more or less a subset of the IoT, transformed operators’ businesses into a data-centric model. While there is a part of the IoT market that operators may not be able to penetrate in terms of connectivity, there are countless devices and machines that need to be connected to each other directly through M2M in order for the IoT to work – and this is where digital and communications service providers play a key role.

The Industrial Internet Revolution

The Industrial Internet, a phrase used to define the next industrial revolution, will occur through connecting various industrial systems, manufacturing processes, services, maintenance activi- ties and so forth through the IoT, M2M connectivity and machine learning. The Industrial Internet is an umbrella concept, which could encompass, for example, a remote maintenance mechanism of factory machinery or office elevators connected with net- worked sensors and software.

It can, therefore, be said that the IoT captures most of the past technology into a new wave of open, interconnected systems that intelligently share data, information and events with each other, using cloud as a platform for Big Data analytics, and turning existing static processes into intelligent, autonomous, fully auto- mated and self-optimising processes – across any industry, any technology, any service and absolutely everything in between. The IoT, when combined with the Internet of People, is the Internet of Everything.

The IoT could be defined as a symbiosis of connectivity (M2M), intelligent processes, Big Data analytics and sensors. Cloud is an enabler for building the system in a cost-efficient way. Sensors generate Big Data through connectivity to the cloud but also with each other. Digital and communications service providers are the glue that holds this complex ecosystem together.

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