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13.3: Internet of Things (IoT)

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    Internet of Things (IoT)

    Rouse (2019) explains that IoT is implemented as a set of web-enabled physical objects or things embedded with software, hardware, sensors, processors to collect and send data as they acquire from their environments. A ‘thing’ could be just about anything, a machine, an object, an animal, or even people as long as each thing has an embedded unique ID and is web-enabled.

    In a report by McKinsey & Company on the Internet of Things (Chui et al., 2010), six broad applications are identified:

    IoT has evolved since the 1970s, and by 2020, it is now most associated with smart homes. Products such as smart thermostats, smart doors, lights, home security systems, home appliances, etc. For example, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple’s HomePod are smart home hubs to manage all the smart IoT in the home. More and more IoT devices will continue to be offered as vendors seek to make everything ‘smart.’


    A trend that is emerging is autonomous robots and vehicles. By combining software, sensors, and location technologies, devices that can operate themselves to perform specific functions are being developed. These take the form of creations such as medical nanotechnology robots (nanobots), self-driving cars, self-driving trucks, drones, or crewless aerial vehicles (UAVs).

    A nanobot is a robot whose components are on a nanometer scale, which is one-billionth of a meter. While still an emerging field, it is showing promise for applications in the medical field. For example, a set of nanobots could be introduced into the human body to combat cancer or a specific disease. In March of 2012, Google introduced the world to their driverless car by releasing a video on YouTube showing a blind man driving the car around the San Francisco area (or search for "Self-Driving Car Test: Steve Mahan). The car combines several technologies, including a laser radar system, worth about $150,000.

    By 2020, 38 states have enacted some legislation allowing various activities from conducting studies, limited pilot testing, full deployment of commercial motor vehicles without a human operator; The details can be found at

    The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE, 2018) has designed a zero to five rating system detailing the varying levels of automation — the higher the level, the more automated the vehicle is.

    Consumers have begun seeing the features in levels 1 and 3 being integrated with today’s non-autonomous cars, and this trend is expected to continue.

    A UAV often referred to as a “drone,” is a small airplane or helicopter that can fly without a pilot. Instead of a pilot, they are either run autonomously by computers in the vehicle or operated by a person using a remote control. While most drones today are used for military or civil applications, there is a growing market for personal drones. For a few hundred dollars, a consumer can purchase a drone for personal use.

    Commercial use of UAV is beginning to emerge. Companies such as Amazon plan to deliver their packages to customers using drones, Walmart plans to use drones to carry things in their stores. This sector is forecasted to become a $12.6B worldwide market by 2025 (, 2019).


    Autonomous Vehicles. Retrieved December 10, 2020, from

    Chui, M. and Roberts R (2010, March 1). The Internet of Things. Retrieved December 10, 2020, from

    Rouse, Margaret (2019). Internet of things (IoT). IoT Agenda. Retrieved December 11, 2020, from

    SAE International Releases Updated Visual Chart for Its “Levels of Driving Automation” Standard for Self-Driving Vehicles (2018). Retrieved December 10, 2020, from

    Statista. Commercial Drones are Taking Off (2019). Retrieved December 11, 2020, from

    13.3: Internet of Things (IoT) is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Ly-Huong T. Pham, Tejal Desai-Naik, Laurie Hammond, & Wael Abdeljabbar.