What are “things” in the Internet of Things?

Concepts and Definitions

General Information

It’s typically a piece of equipment or object that you are trying to remotely monitor. It could be an HVAC system or it could be a field full of corn plants. It is the thing that you want to remotely monitor or manage. A thermostat in the building, part of the building itself, it could be a truck, it could be a corn crop, it could be a cow. Most IoT is one-way – we’re collecting data and making use of that data. But of course, you can also send commands downstream and in some cases, remotely control those things. Soil moisture probes and weather stations are good one-way examples and remotely monitoring pipe pressure and then remotely controlling the shut-off of a pipe is a good two-way example. The “thing” is any of those things. 

And by the way, the reason the term “Internet of Things” was coined, is that we typically think of the endpoints of the Internet as being people – “I am on my computer/phone using the internet.” The internet of things is that the endpoint is not a person. It’s a thing.

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