The “Internet of Things”. What is it? Wikipedia (a source that is commonly referred to but never formally referenced) defines the IoT as “the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity—that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.”
The idea has been in use for a while now – Logitech makes universal remotes that can control various televisions. Home security systems let you automate your lights and open your garage. Nest lets you control your HVAC when you’re not there. The IoT’s main goal is integration, with the ultimate goal being to administer your entire home and every electronic device in it from one place. It’s more than just networking all the devices together – it’s networking entire companies together to work towards a common goal.
Getting everyone to play nice and to agree upon standards is the hard part, and the media are really perpetuating hype over a concept that is still in its infancy. There are hardware vendors who are now advertising their products as “IoT Ready”, and yet the Oracles and Microsofts of the world who are playing in the IoT arena are still in the conceptual stages with it. So buyer beware when it comes to these devices, because standards and technologies change all the time.