Internet of Things
The vision of bridging the cyber and physical worlds to forge an integrated
infrastructure is more than a decade old. Such an infrastructure, in which
the “things”—everyday physical objects—are connected to the Internet was
christened the Internet of Things (IoT). As we outlined in the preface, and dis-
cuss further in Chapter10, connecting the “things” to the Internet is not the
central issue in building the new infrastructure.
Connecting things to the Internet leads to an entropic explosion, owing
to the overwhelming heterogeneity of objects and digital resources that IoT
will encompass—from safety pins and coffee mugs to airplanes and bridges,
from pictures and audio clips to national debt statistics and information
on migratory patterns of monarch butteries. The resulting cyber- physical
system would comprise an awkward conglomeration of disparate and often
functionally incompatible entities.
The critical issue is the development of a gluey framework, an ecosystem,
in which the seemingly disparate physical and cyber resources are not only
connected, but are functionally woven together into a giant infrastructure
in which all the entities interoperate seamlessly. A successful integration of
the cyber and physical worlds should result in a planetwide infrastructure
in which the boundaries between the cyber world and the physical world
gradually fade way as the infrastructure begins to function as one mono-
lithic giant organism.
The envisioned planetwide cyber- physical system would be a network of
end nodes that interact with each other. That some of these end nodes could
encapsulate physical things while others encapsulate digital resources or
even humans is of secondary importance. Hence, the envisioned infrastruc-
ture is renamed Internet 2.0, or I-2, in this book to underscore that the physi-
cal things are not the central entities within the infrastructure. However,
a considerable amount of previous work that is relevant to our discussion
has been done under the umbrella called the Internet of Things. We review
selected aspects of such previous efforts in the following sections. In this
chapter we have reverted to using the term Internet of Things in deference
to the previous efforts.