Is it really IoT?

There is more to it than connected devices...

05/12/2014 15:51:41

If you look in the news papers, online blogs and trends, such as google trends, it is clear that the last 2 years there is a lot of fuss going on about IoT or The Internet of Things.


But what is IoT? As with each emerging technology and trend, every company, research organisation or early adopter has its own definition. Slowly there grows a consensus about what it is and what not. At the same time I also want to question our name, does IoTBE really cover the whole package?

It all starts with ‘things’ or more specific ‘devices’, large and small, that have sensing abilities and/or can act upon request or stimuli.

These devices are connected via a network (may be proprietary, but preferably standardized) to gateways that actually connect the devices with the internet. Such gateways could be build into the device itself or can be standalone.

An immediate issue with this simple setup is that devices can generate data faster than what can be handled by what comes next in the chain. Bandwidth limitations are hard to overcome and are very expensive to increase. To solve this, a preliminary computation on the data coming from the edge should be done on the gateways. This distributed computing model is called the ‘fog’.

The fog is now connected via the internet with the cloud and now we are back on a more traditional cloud model.

The above model that I described is in fact the IoT world forum reference model. Simplified, IoT looks as follows for most people.

But in the beginning of my blog, I questioned the fact that we should be talking about the Internet of Things or about something else.


That ‘something else’ is in fact the Internet of Everything or IoE. Why not integrate the devices with everything that is already available via the internet, such as social media, open data,... and add (automated) processes on top of it?

In other words, when we start connecting everything, it starts to look as follows.

With IoTBE we plan to tackle every single item in the above model and this is why I questioned our name in the beginning. We won’t change it to IoEBE, but we will closely collaborate with other communities to bring the ‘everything’ part to IoTBE as we have done in the past.


In future posts and meetups, we will elaborate more on the different actors in the model and how they integrate with the rest of the world. We will also tackle business solutions and how they fit in the bigger picture. So stay tuned!