Internet of Things Handbook


The Internet of Things is quickly becoming a reality. This overview handbook includes a list of resources to help you navigate this wide ranging subject.

We will be releasing a full IoT Handbook soon (Sign-up here to be notified). In the meantime a few things to get you started:




The Internet of Things term was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton while the executive director of the Auto-ID Center:

kevin-ashton-iot"I could be wrong, but I'm fairly sure the phrase "Internet of Things" started life as the title of a presentation I made at Procter & Gamble (P&G). Linking the new idea of RFID in P&G's supply chain to the then-red-hot topic of the Internet was more than just a good way to get executive attention. It summed up an important insight which is stil often misunderstood." - Full Article

Neil Gershenfeld was also speaking about the topic from the MIT Media Lab with his book When Things Start to Think and while establishing the Center for Bits and Atoms in 2001 retrospect it looks like the rapid growth of the World Wide Web may have been just the trigger charge that is now setting off the real explosion, as things start to use the Net.

In 2011 the term was added to the annual Gartner Hype Cycle that tracks technology life-cycles from "technology trigger" to "plateau of productivity"


A more comprehensive look at the origins of the concept can be found here.

Related Terms

  • Physical Internet
  • Industrial Internet
  • Ubiquitous Computing
  • Machine to Machine (M2M)
  • Connected Environments
  • Smart Cities
  • Spimes
  • Everyware
  • Pervasive Internet
  • Wireless Sensor Networks
  • Situated Computing
  • Ambient Intelligence
  • Web of Things
  • Future Internet
  • Physical computing



More than 40 other definitions from individuals and research reports can be found here, or you can watch an overview video produced by IBM embedded below for additional context on the topic.


smart-waste nest-thermostat streetline google-glass

Waste Management

Products like the cellular communication enabled Smart Belly trash can use real-time data collection and alerts to let municipal services know when a bin needs to be emptied. This information can drastically reduce the number of pick-ups required, and translates into fuel and financial savings for communities service departments.

Connected Thermostats

Smart thermostats like the Nest use sensors, real-time weather forecasts, and the actual activity levels in your home during the day to reduce your monthly energy usage by up to 30%, keeping you more comfortable, and saving you money on your utility bills every month.

Smart Parking Systems

With the use of installed sensors, mobile apps, and real-time web applications like those provided in Streetline’s ParkSight service, cities can optimize revenue, parking space availability and enable citizens to reduce their environmental impact by helping them quickly find an open spot.

Wearable Computing

Connected devices equpped with a large diversity of sensors are being worn by individuals. Often referred to as the "Quantified Self" products like Google Glass, smart watches like the Pebble, activity trackers like the Nike Fuelband, and lifelogging devices like Memoto are all examples of this category in development.
sightmachine-machine onfarm weathercloud smartphone-ios

Machine Vision

Using networked sensors, cameras, and lasers to analyze manufacturing processes like those from SightMachine, you can determine if a part is good or bad based on its physical characteristics; identify if it is the right component for the job and monitor trends, variations, and relationships in the system over time.

Asset Tracking

The OnFarm solution combines real-time sensor data from soil moisture levels, weather forecasts, and pesticide usage from farming sites into a consolidated web dashboard. Farmers can use this data with advanced imaging and mapping information to spot crop issues and remotely monitor all of the farms assets and resource usage levels. 

Connected Cars

Looking to improve road condition safety and traffic conditions
Weathercloud uses sensors installed in a license plate holder to monitor ambient temperature, pavement temperature, and relative humidity. The system then sends this data to a cloud service to be shared with other drivers and weather services.


Using your smartphone's range of sensors (Accelerometer, Gyro, Video, Proximity, Compass, GPS, etc) and connectivity options (Cell, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, etc) you have a well equipped Internet of Things device in your pocket that can automatically monitor your movements, location, and other conditions throughout your day.
We are in the early stages in the creation of an Internet of Things and the above examples provide just a glimpse into what is possible when you combine sensors, actuators, and networked intelligence.

In a report by GE on industrial applications for intelligent machines they say with efficiency gains for systems of just 1% could result in 15 year savings of:

$30 billion worth of jet fuel for the airline industry
$63 billion in global health care savings with more optimized treatments, patient flows, and equipment use in hospitals.
$66 billion savings in fuel consumption for the global gas-fired power plant fleet.

View more example IoT applications and services here.


Market Size


Millions, Billions and now Trillions. These have all been thrown around by analysts in reference to the number of connected devices that are expected to be created due to IoT technologies and services.

"Looking to the future, Cisco IBSG predicts there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020. It is important to note that these estimates do not take into account rapid advances in Internet or device technology; the numbers presented are based on what is known to be true today" - Full Report (PDF)

Hammersmith Group:
"Michael Nelson, the former director of Internet Technology at IBM, and the former director of Technology Policy with the Federal Communications Commission, and advisor to Al Gore. Within 5-10 years, Nelson expects that 100 billion devices will be connected to the net. “Trying to determine the market size of the Internet of Things is like trying to calculate the market for plastics, circa 1940. At that time, it was difficult to imagine that plastics could be in everything. If you look at information processing in the same way, you begin to see the vast range of objects into which logic, processors, or actuators could be embedded.” - Full Report (PDF)

A listing of more than 15 IoT marketing and research reports can be found here.



Driven by the decreasing cost of hardware and connectivity, and the ability to overlay services and business models on top of these newly networked products the IoT is attracting entrenched players and a host of new startups.


Big Players:

Emerging Players
A directory of companies focused on the IoT can be found here.



The newly minted combination of the Maker Movement, open source harware, and crowdfunding has proven to be a powerful platform for the launch of connected products.


A few examples include:
A listing of other Internet of Things related products that have been crowdfunded can be found here


The IoT is generating significant interest from traditional fundraising sources as well. We take a look at some of the notable investment activity in the space over the last several years here.




An Internet of Things harnesses a large number of communication options to transmit data; from Body Area Networks that have a range of only a few feet all the way up to network nodes in an Interplanetary Internet system. 

Short range systems utilized include, RFID, NFC, EnOcean, BlueTooth, WiFi as well as simple EPC/QR codes, printed electronics, Ethernet connections, and visual identification platforms like Google Googles.

Longer range technologies used by the Internet of Things include Whitespace spectrum, WiMax, cellular (GSM/3G/LTE) and GPS networks.


A more comprehensive look at IoT communication technologies can be found here.


Our Internet of Things Handbook:

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