According to Gartner, Inc. (a technology research and advisory corporation), there will be nearly 20.8 billion devices on the Internet of things by 2020. ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of things by 2020. As per a 2014 survey and study done by Pew Research Internet Project, a large majority of the technology experts and engaged Internet users who responded—83 percent—agreed with the notion that the Internet/cloud of things, embedded and wearable computing (and the corresponding dynamic systems) will have widespread and beneficial effects by 2025. As such, it is clear that the IoT will consist of a very large number of devices being connected to the Internet. In an active move to accommodate new and emerging technological innovation, the UK Government, in their 2015 budget, allocated £40,000,000 towards research into the Internet of things. The former British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, posited that the Internet of things is the next stage of the information revolution and referenced the inter-connectivity of everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances.
The ability to network embedded devices with limited CPU, memory and power resources means that IoT finds applications in nearly every field. Such systems could be in charge of collecting information in settings ranging from natural ecosystems to buildings and factories, thereby finding applications in fields of environmental sensing and urban planning.
On the other hand, IoT systems could also be responsible for performing actions, not just sensing things. Intelligent shopping systems, for example, could monitor specific users’ purchasing habits in a store by tracking their specific mobile phones. These users could then be provided with special offers on their favorite products, or even location of items that they need, which their fridge has automatically conveyed to the phone. Additional examples of sensing and actuating are reflected in applications that deal with heat, water, electricity and energy management, as well as cruise-assisting transportation systems. Other applications that the Internet of things can provide is enabling extended home security features and home automation. The concept of an “Internet of living things” has been proposed to describe networks of biological sensors that could use cloud-based analyses to allow users to study DNA or other molecules.
However, the application of the IoT is not only restricted to these areas. Other specialized use cases of the IoT may also exist. An overview of some of the most prominent application areas is provided here. Based on the application domain, IoT products can be classified broadly into five different categories: smart wearable, smart home, smart city, smart environment, and smart enterprise. The IoT products and solutions in each of these markets have different characteristics.