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The Internet of Things (IoT): An Overview

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Abstract and Figures

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) controls our daily behaviors. It becomes a main part of our life critical infrastructure bringing interconnection of heterogeneous devices in different aspects. Personal computing, sensing, surveillance, smart homes, entertainment, transportation and video streaming are examples, to name a few. As a critical living entity, Internet is contentiously changing and evolving leading to emerging new technologies, applications, protocols and algorithms. Acceleration of wireless communication trends brings an ever growing innovation in Internet connectivity and mobile broadband. Infrastructureless communication devices become ubiquitous, smart, powerful, connectible, smaller, cheaper, and easier to deploy and install. This opens a new future direction in the society of ICT: the Internet of Things (IoT). Nowadays, the IoT, early defined as Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, becomes a key concern of ICT world and research communities. In this paper, we provide an overview study of the IoT paradigm, its concepts, principles and potential benefits. Specifically, we focus on the IoT major technologies, emerging protocols, and widespread applications. This overview can help those who start approaching the IoT world aiming to understand and participate to its development.
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A S Abdul-Qawy et al. Int. Journal of Engineering Research and Applications
ISSN: 2248-9622, Vol. 5, Issue 12, (Part - 2) December 2015, pp.71-82 71|P a g e
The Internet of Things (IoT): An Overview
Antar Shaddad Abdul-Qawy*, Pramod P. J**, E. Magesh**, T. Srinivasulu*
*(KU College of Engineering and Technology, Kakatiya University, Warangal, India
Email: {eng.antar2007, drstadisetty}
** (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad, India
Email: {pramodpj, magesh}
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) controls our daily behaviors. It becomes a main part of our
life critical infrastructure bringing interconnection of heterogeneous devices in different aspects. Personal
computing, sensing, surveillance, smart homes, entertainment, transportation and video streaming are examples,
to name a few. As a critical living entity, Internet is contentiously changing and evolving leading to emerging
new technologies, applications, protocols and algorithms. Acceleration of wireless communication trends brings
an ever growing innovation in Internet connectivity and mobile broadband. Infrastructureless communication
devices become ubiquitous, smart, powerful, connectible, smaller, cheaper, and easier to deploy and install. This
opens a new future direction in the society of ICT: the Internet of Things (IoT). Nowadays, the IoT, early
defined as Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, becomes a key concern of ICT world and research
communities. In this paper, we provide an overview study of the IoT paradigm, its concepts, principles and
potential benefits. Specifically, we focus on the IoT major technologies, emerging protocols, and widespread
applications. This overview can help those who start approaching the IoT world aiming to understand and
participate to its development.
Keywords: ICT, IOT, M2M, Smart Objects, Heterogeneous Devices.
How would be the world without Internet? It is
difficult to imagine such scenario we have never
seen. Today, the Internet becomes more and more
important for everybody in both personal life and
professional life. Different devices such as smart
phones, sensors, mobile computers, and more other
smart objects are examples of things everyday we are
dealing with. These and other IoT related
technologies significantly affect new ICT and
enterprise systems technologies [1]. In the early
evolution, it is known as Internet of Computers;
then changed to “Internet of People”; and recently,
with the rapid development in the ICT, it is
recognized as the “Internet of Things”. In the IoT,
different devices and smart objects are included to
expand the Internet and become accessible and
uniquely identified. The connectivity is enhanced
from “any-time, any-place” for “any-one” into “any-
time, any-place” for “any-thing” [2]. In the ICT
innovations and economy developments, a significant
focus has shifted to the IoT related technologies
where it is widely considered as one of the most
important infrastructures of their promotion and one
of the future promise strategies. The main aim is to
enable interaction and integration of the physical
world and the cyber space [3].
The IoT is considered as a pillar of future
Internet and expected to enable intelligent operations
and advanced communications of devices, smart
objects, systems, and services. Indeed, it is a new
revolution in communication technology which
means that everything, from tires to hairbrush, will be
assigned a unique identifier so can be addressed,
connected to other things and exchange information.
There is no exact or standard definition of the IoT
yet. In [3], it is defined as “based on the traditional
information carriers including the Internet,
telecommunication network and so on, Internet of
Things (IoT) is a network that interconnects ordinary
physical objects with the identifiable addresses so
that provides intelligent services”. In [4], the author
suggested a definition of IoT as “a worldwide
network of interconnected objects uniquely
addressable, based on standard communication
protocols”, semantically as its origin expression is
composed of two words: “Internet” and “Things”.
However, the true value of IoT is in its ability to
connect a variety of heterogeneous devices including
everyday existing objects, embedded intelligent
sensors, context-aware computations, traditional
computing networks and smart objects that differ in
their design, systems, protocols, intelligence,
applications, vendors, and sizes. These entities are
able to communicate and integrate with each others
to collect, generate, process, and exchange data
through applications and management systems
residing on data centers or network clouds. This helps
to carryout complex operations and intelligent tasks
cooperatively and to make decisions independently
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without human interventions. Fig. 1.a and Fig. 1.b
depict the offered interconnection of different
ubiquitous objects in the IoT in terms of individual
devices and connected systems.
This paper provides the reader with a
comprehensive view of the key aspects of the IoT and
enabling factors in one integrated article;
systematically organized and briefly illustrated. The
rest of the paper is organized as follows: Section II
presents vision and concepts of the IoT, more
specifically M2M, key features, and LLNs (Low
Power and Lossy Networks). Section III provides a
discussion of the IoT elements and major
technologies. In Section IV, we give briefs about
protocols and standards considered for the IoT.
Section V introduces the most relevant applications;
while the research directions/future challenges, as
discussed in literature, are listed in Section VI. We
conclude the paper in Section VII.
In the near future, the number of Internet-
connected things would be highly larger than the
number of people. The objects surround our
environments will be linked to the Internet in one
form or another. The physical and ICT worlds would
be integrated together giving a vision beyond the
realm of the traditional networks. The
communication is not going to be people to people;
it‟s not going to be people accessing information. It‟s
going to be about machines talking to other machines
on behalf of people [5]. Different communication
technologies and products such as cellular phone,
from GSM to HSDPA, satellite, Ethernet, WiFi,
WiMAX, Bluetooth, ZigBee, etc. would became
parts of the IoT realm and be embedded with M2M
capabilities [6]. The most paramount side of the IoT
vision is the inclusion of smart things. These objects
are seamlessly connected to the Internet and fitted
with intelligence, computing, sensing, remote
monitoring, and control capabilities.
A. From M2M to IoT
Machine to Machine (M2M) communications
is a broad term refers to technologies that allow
mechanical or electronic devices to connect with
other devices and freely automate data transmission
and measurement using the wireless networks. The
Fig. 1: Internet of Things: Devices and Systems Level Interconnection.
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key component of M2M is a small hardware module
embedded in the main and larger device such as
sensor, monitoring system, automobile, air
conditioner, surveillance camera, or alarm system,
which usually needs to communicate with other
devices in the network. In fact, there is not big
difference between this small module and the type of
communication radio or transceiver circuits
embedded in the cell phone and smart objects. The
difference is that M2M device does not require some
functionality of these objects such as display, camera,
MP3 drivers, audio codecs, sound control, or
keyboard for example [6]. It does not need any
manual assistance or human intervention to perform
the process of communication and data exchange.
Generally, M2M and IoT are analogous. IoT is more
adopted in the consumer space while M2M has a
stronger industrial connotation [7]. In the broader
sense of ICT, the two acronyms are equivalent and
refer to the same paradigm. Indeed, IoT is the new
name of the M2M concept that relies on IP-based
networks. The concept of M2M was first used during
World War II for identifying friend or foe to prevent
pilots from hitting friendly targets. An early
discussion of the M2M communications emergence
is introduced in [6] by Juan Conti. He stated that even
a lot of the M2M systems were deployed but they
were not called as that. Instead, such systems were
called based on their abstract function such as
“building automation”, “patient monitoring”,
“automated meter reading”, “automated asset
tracking”, fleet management”, or “stolen vehicle
recovery system.”
However, the M2M technology has been
growing significantly and affects every aspect of our
life. Different industrial and business domains such
as computer, food, agricultural, electrical, mining, oil
and gas, extremely make use of the M2M
communications in several applications. Machine
maintenance, measuring, security, remote monitoring
& controlling, chain supplying, and asset tracking are
examples. End-user also benefits from this
technology in many applications such as wearable
objects, home automation and smart cars. In [6], the
author has listed three technological factors that are
together bringing the importance of the M2M: (i) the
proliferation of industrial machines and home
appliances embedded with powerful and low-cost
processing units, (ii) the integration of the Internet as
a standardized distribution network, and (iii) the
declining of wireless technology prices. Nowadays,
the IoT, which relies on IP-based networks, would be
able to accommodate a wider variety of
heterogeneous devices and smart objects, manage and
analyze large amount of data exchanged while
maintaining a scalable and seamless connectivity.
According to Gartner forecasts, the Internet-
connected things would reach to 4.9 billion in 2015
and will be 25 billion by 2020 [8] (see Table 1). Even
though this is extremely large, Cisco says it will be
50 billion [9]; Morgan Stanley says 75 billion [10].
The IoT would support total services spending of
$69.5 billion in 2015 and $263 billion by 2020 [8].
B. Key Features and Characteristics
The IoT refers to networks of heterogeneous
devices rather than traditional networks of
homogeneous devices. Things, in the IoT, involve a
variety of embedded devices and smart objects whose
interconnection is expected to enable advanced &
intelligent applications and to make the
communications and automation, mostly in all areas,
easier and achievable. In [11], the authors defined
three categories which the IoT refers to: (i) the
network interconnecting heterogeneous and smart
devices which is an expansion of traditional Internet,
(ii) the required technologies to support and realize
this interconnection (such as RFIDs, sensor/actuators,
etc) and (iii) the services and applications exploiting
this vision in different areas. An ambient intelligence
is early proposed using Wireless Sensor Networks
(WSN). A large number of smart sensors are
deployed to monitor environmental conditions and
send an alert signal, for any change, to a control
system which responds with appropriate action. Such
a mechanism can be adopted in different areas with
different purposes like surveillance systems, health
care, home automation, etc. The IoT is the paradigm
which aims to achieve functionality of such forest
like networks intelligently and interactively. Three
main pillars are identified in [11] for building the
IoT: a thing should be (i) identifiable, (ii) able to
communicate, and (iii) able to interact. In [3], three
objectives of the IoT are proposed: (i) “more
extensive interconnection which refers to
extensiveness in the number of devices, type of
devices technologies, and the mode of
interconnection, (ii) “more intensive information
perception” which refers to the collaboration to
integrate the data from different objects that is
subjected to non-uniformity, inconsistency,
inaccuracy, etc., and (iii) “more comprehensive
intelligent service” where the smart objects provide
Table 1: IoT Units Installed Base by Category.
Source: Gartner Inc [8].
Generic Business
Vertical Business
Grand Total
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intelligent services and efficiently control the
However, the complexity of the IoT lies on how
to achieve such aims by expanding and evolving the
traditional Internet. This would be realized by
integrating a number of key technologies (Section III)
with the IP-based networks. Three steps are identified
in development trends: (i) embedding intelligence to
things so they can act automatically and alone, (ii)
making things able to be connected to other things,
and (iii) enabling interaction and information
exchange between these things [5]. The intelligence
embedded to smart objects, which is independent of
network and not related to the Internet, is a key
feature of the IoT and already have been seen in
several devices & applications. The air conditioner
can keep the temperature at the desired level; A
sliding door opens, waits and closes; the food
information can remotely be read using RFID
technology, to name a few. Ubiquitous computing,
mobile computing, and wireless sensor networks are
integral parts of the IoT, in the broader sense. The
web search popularity for these paradigms and the
IoT during the last five years, as obtained by Google
search trends [12], is shown in Fig. 2 indicating the
superiority of the IoT. We can see how it
significantly increased in the last two years. It is
likely to continue as more attention would be paid
and advance IoT technologies would emerge
enabling a promise future Internet.
As discussed above, billions of things and smart
objects are integrated together in a network making
up the IoT. The types of these things at most are
battery-powered entities, deployed in mesh topology
and wirelessly connected. Therefore, these devices
typically are embedded with limited power, memory,
and processing resources. The IoT network generally
is optimized for energy saving and operates under a
variety of such working constraints [13], [14]. Such
formed networks also referred as so celled Low
power and Lossy Networks (LLNs) or IP smart
objects networks [13].
LLNs have some characteristics that make them
distinguished from other traditional networks and
open promised opportunities in the near future
research. These features, in some cases, my limit
their construction, architecture and communication
capabilities; and affect, in general, the main attributes
such as power efficiency, link reliability, and
maximum achievable throughput [14][16]. As most
of the network devices are autonomous and battery-
powered, the LLNs work with a very small bound
“on” state to reduce energy consumption; a majority
of nodes are asleep most of time and wake up
periodically [14], [17]. Both the network nodes and
links are put to the work under predefined
constraints. For nodes, the constraints may be on
processing power, memory, or energy (battery
power); while constraints on links may include high
loss rates, low data rates, and instability [14], [16].
LLNs are optimized to minimize the time a packet is
en-route; therefore, it is proposed to work with
restricted frame-size links. The links are
unidirectional and have asymmetric property to
support uplink and downlink directions separately
with substantially different bandwidth in most cases
[16]. Moreover, LLNs support different types of
traffic patterns, not only simple unicast point-to-
point, but also Multipoint-to-Point (MP2P) and Point-
to-Multipoint (P2MP) [14][17]. For such
characterized networks, to successfully interact with
the surrounding world and efficiently utilize these
resource-limited devices, a number of IETF working
groups and industry alliances have addressed LLNs.
Several protocols are developed (see Section IV).
To be realized as a fully integrated future
Internet, the IoT requires essential technology
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components that are incorporated together to form the
IoT world (see Fig. 3). In this section we discuss the
key enabling technologies. The aim is to present a
brief about each element indicating its role in the IoT
A. Identification & Addressing
The IoT contains extremely large number of
scattered devices and hence the identification,
discovery, and addressing schemes are essential
technologies for the IoT. Every object included into
the IoT networks must be uniquely identified. This is
not only to distinguish IoT elements, their locations
and functionalities, but also to automatically and
remotely control these elements through the Internet
[18]. Thus, to achieve such objectives, different
schemes/technologies have been used including uID
[19], URN [20], RFID [21], [22], and IPv6
addressing [23], [24]. RFID (Radio frequency
identification) is a wireless communication
technology used for remotely object identification. A
tiny electronic microchip called RFID tag is attached
to the object (even an animal or a person) acting as a
barcode to store the object unique identifier and other
more information in form of Electronic Product Code
(EPC). The ID and information can be obtained in a
seamless and automatic way using a remote RFID
reader. The reader can initiate an appropriate
communication signal using radio frequency
triggering the tag. RFID tag respond by sending the
ID and/or the other stored information based on the
query signal sent. There are three types of RFID tags:
passive, active, and semi-passive tags. The active
RFID tags are battery-powered and have transmitters
for communication. The passive RFID tags, which
are the majority, usually harvest the power from the
readers transmitted signal. Semi-passive tags have
batteries to power the microchip only while they
harvest the power from the reader for radio
RFID technology can be used for items
monitoring and tracking in timely manner even if
they are not in line-of-sight [25]. Thus, it has been
widely used in several applications of the IoT such as
supply chains, cargo tracking, electronic tolls,
remote-sensing, asset management, pharmaceutical
production, and hospital laboratories [1], [26]. The
IPv6 has been adopted for the IoT to overcome the
IPv4 inability to meet the rapid growth of addressing
space requirements [23], [24]. It guarantees an
adequate capacity of addressing pool for the future
sharp increase. The IPv6 have been utilized to
support scalable addressing schemes and a secure
access to the resources uniquely and remotely.
Moreover, it have introduced advanced mechanisms
to support Internet mobility and devices handover. A
lightweight IPv6 also is an important development
scheme which is used for home appliances and smart
objects addressing [18], [27].
B. Embedded Sensors
With the recent advances in the sensing
technologies, WSN has been improved more and
more, gaining the ability of working in harsh and
hazardous environments. WSN typically utilizes a
large number of spatially distributed sensors or
sensor-embedded devices which can be efficiently
cooperate with RFID technology. These elements
have different functionalities such as monitoring
physical/environmental conditions and tracking the
status of things like their locations, temperature, and
movements [25]. Optimizations such as the reduction
of device size, weight, energy consumption and cost
as well as the enhancements in wireless
communications have enabled the IoT to employ
intelligent sensors as an essential technology in a
major part of its networks. Such Intelligent sensors,
Fig. 3: Key Elements and Technologies for the IoT.
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which use real-time remote sensing, enable the ability
to gather, analysis, process, share, and distribute, to
centralized systems, a variety of environmental
information [18]. As such, they can augment the
awareness of a certain environment and, thus, act as a
further bridge between physical and digital world
[25]. Moreover, RFID sensor networks (RSN) can be
built by integrating of sensing and RFID technologies
to support the sensing, computing, and
communication capabilities in a passive system [25].
C. Protocols & Middleware
In the IoT, billions of devices and smart objects,
having different capabilities, require a means for
exchanging and transmitting the information
collected or generated at the device level. However,
the IoT devices are expected to be connected together
and able to talk in a way or another. An IoT object
must be able to communicate with other devices:
identify the proper path to the destination, understand
the received messages, and consequently respond
with an appropriate manner. Thus, standard protocols
become key requirements for the IoT world. This
makes it straightforward to achieve the full
functionality of such constrained devices while
maintaining the desired level of network
performance. The mobility in the IoT is one of the
major issues. A mobile device frequently moves from
one place to another. It requires, in most cases, to be
handed-over from the current attachment point to
another. The communication protocols must be aware
of such nature in the majority of the IoT devices [25].
Intelligent mechanisms are required in order to
provide a seamless handover and reduce the delay
imposed at different layers. In Section IV, we discuss
some of the protocols considered for the IoT devices
[25]. Intelligent mechanisms are required in order to
provide a seamless handover and reduce the delay
imposed at different layers. In Section IV, we discuss
some of the protocols considered for the IoT.
The middleware software layer also is an
essential in such massive networks having different
application systems, different functionalities, and
variable data types. Middleware enables the
interaction between the „‟Internet” and “things”. It
acts as an interface enabling the various applications
on heterogeneous systems to easily and seamlessly
communicate with each others. Middleware software
layer has a major role in hiding the underlying
details. This facilitates developing of new
applications and software services for distributed
environment independently of the underlying
technologies [25].
D. Cloud-based Storage & Analytics
The IoT dense networks result in unprecedented
amount of data. This data needs to be intelligently
gathered, analyzed, processed, and stored for more
efficient and smart monitoring, actuation and real-
time decision making [18]. Some of applications in
the IoT also require big data storage, large processing
rate to realize real-time control, and high speed
broadband networks to flow data, audio, or video
[26]. However, intelligent algorithms need to be
developed for making sense of such big data and
efficiently manage the IoT applications requirements.
Cloud computing, cloud-based storage, and cloud-
based analytics provide an ideal solution paradigms
for handling, storing and real time processing such
massive data from unpredictable number of devices
[18], [26]. The data is collected from different IoT
devices into the cloud. Then, it can be
aggregated/consolidated with other data from Internet
resources, analyzed, and processed using cloud-based
services. Thus, provide useful information for the end
users. Moreover, it may be used by intelligent
systems for better automatic actuation and remote
E. Applications
Without applications, the IoT makes no sense.
IoT applications provide a real-time message delivery
and reliable communications. They introduce all the
system functionalities to the end-user through myriad
of connected devices. The physical connectivity is
achieved by networks and devices, whereas the
robust interactions of device-to-device and human-to-
device are provided by the IoT applications [26]. In
the human-device applications, visualization is
considered as one of the key features that allows user
to easily interact with the environment and efficiently
present and understand the collected information
[18], [26]. In device-to-device applications,
intelligence is usually implemented for enabling
dynamic interactions. This allows devices to
automatically monitor the environment, identify the
problems, collaborate, and independently make the
proper decisions without human intervention [26]. In
Section V, we discuss more about the IoT
F. Core Hardware
In addition to what are mentioned above, IoT
devices/smart objects, whatever they are (consumer
electronics devices, home appliances, intelligent cars,
wireless sensors, or industrial machineries), typically
consist of main entity components (IoT core
hardware). This includes memory, processing units,
power supply, transceiver capabilities, etc. Here, the
things almost comprise a variety of communication
technologies and terminals integrated to support
M2M connectivity between various objects and
making them more versatile. Moreover, they usually
contain several A/D for sensor interfacing with the
main intelligent system [18]. However, these things,
integrated with other technologies, are able to capture
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an internal change or environmental event and pass to
the applications which are able to interpret this event
into meaningful information. This information then
can be used to automatically control the situation in
self-managed autonomous systems, shared with the
other objects in proximity to make some decisions of
their own, or sent through communication hardware
to the intelligent system in cloud.
The IoT typically is a very large scale network
consisting of heterogeneous constrained devices and
smart objects. Such constrained network imposes a
significant impact on designing of different protocols.
However, taking this into account, generally, enables
for designing a broad set of standards and protocols.
These protocols are supposed to offer efficient and
scalable communications and allow developing and
deploying applications/services adopted for a variety
of environments. In the next subsections, we discuss
some developed protocols that are considered for the
IoT/LLNs as shown in Fig. 4.
A. IEEE 802.15.4
The IEEE 802.15.4 is a standard designed by
IEEE 802.15 working group in IETF which defines
the physical (PHY) and media access control (MAC)
layers for low data rate, low-power, and short-range
wireless personal area network (LR-WPANs) [17],
[29]. The original version is provided in 2003
supporting data rates of 20, 40, and 250 kb/s with a
10-meter communications range of ubiquitous
communication between devices. Afterward, EEE
802.15.4a/c/d are provided as improvements
expanding the PHY layer with several additional
frequency bands and transmission techniques. IEEE
Std 802.15.4-2011, a revision for the previous
amendments, is provided to roll them in a single
standard supporting a maximum data rate of 850 kb/s
with a focus on the interoperability technical
requirements [29]. Later, a number of amendments
are introduced such as IEEE 802.15.4e, IEEE
802.15.4f, and IEEE 802.15.4g [30][32]. The IEEE
802.15.4e [30] is released in order to improve and
add functionality to the MAC sub-layer. A channel
hopping strategy is adopted to enhance the support
for industrial markets, and improve the robustness to
overcome the multi-path fading and external
interference. In IEEE 802.15.4f [31], the PHY is
improved to support flexibility and better
performance in the high dense deployments of
autonomous devices, and active RFID systems
wherever in the world. This amendment supports a
wide range of applications that characterized with
several constraints such as low cost, low power
consumption, multiyear battery life, reliable
communications, precision location, and reader
options [17], [31]. The IEEE 802.15.4g supports out-
door low data rate, wireless, smart-grid networks
requirement and offers a higher transmission range
equal to 1km and a large packet size of 2047 byte
[17], [32].
The IEEE 802.15.4 provides real-time
appropriateness with provision of guaranteed time
slots, secure communications, transfer reliability,
CSMA/CA, link quality indication (LQI) and energy
detection. Moreover, it offers a technological
simplicity and very low manufacturing and operation
costs [29]. The IEEE 802.15.4 is the foundation for
several protocol stacks such as ZigBee,
WirelessHART, MiWi, and RPL and 6LoWPAN
The IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal
Area Networks (6LoWPAN) is a standard for
adaptation layer allowing IPv6 packets to be sent and
received over IEEE 802.15.4 based links [33]. It
realizes the idea of applying Internet protocol to the
small autonomous devices, as the only available
solution for smart object networks or LLNs. Thus,
enabling such constrained devices to be connected in
a very large number, to the Internet [17], [33], [34].
Moreover, 6LoWPAN supports mobility where the
devices, at most, are deployed in an ad-hoc fashion
without predefined locations and move continuously.
For mapping from IPv6 network to that of IEEE
802.15.4, 6LoWPAN performs three key functions:
Fig. 4: Emerging Protocols for the IoT.
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(i) IPv6 header compression, (ii) IPv6 packet
fragmentation, and (iii) layer-2 forwarding
[17].Foreach,aseparate6LoWPANheader is included
when necessary. In the first, the IPv6 header is
compressed down where the fields that can be
obtained from the context are omitted and the
remaining are send unmodified. In the second, the
packets larger than IEEE 802.15.4 MTU are
fragmented at the sender and re-assemble at the
destination. In the third function, which is called
mesh-under and suitable for small & local networks,
the IP routing is not performed. The packets are
forwarded to the destination over multiple radio hops
by adaptation layer. This routing is made at link layer
level depending of 6LoWPAN header and IEEE
802.15.4 frame [17], [34].
The IPv6 Routing Protocol for LLNs (RPL) is a
network layer protocol designed for low power and
lossy networks [14], [35]. RPL has been developed
with the objective of meeting application-specific
requirements for LLNs (Section II-C) identified by
ROLL (Routing Over LLNs) working group in IETF.
These requirements are define for, but not limited to,
a set of application areas: industrial, building
automation, home automation, and urban sensor
networks. As per the evaluation, ROLL have found
that the existing protocols such as OSPF, IS-IS,
AODV, and OLSR do not satisfy all the specified
requirements. These protocols which use only static
link metrics, do not take devices statues such as
processing resources, memory, residual energy or
hardware failures into account when creating
best/shortest path [14], [17].
The RPL is an extensible proactive IPv6 distance
vector protocol which supports for mesh routing
environments, shortest-path constraint-based routing
(on both links and nodes) and different traffic
patterns including MP2P, P2MP and P2P. It
considers routing optimization objectives
independently of packet processing & forwarding and
can be run over various different link layers. That
includes constrained link layers or those utilized in
conjunction with highly constrained devices such as,
but not limited to, low power WPAN (802.15.4) or
PLC (Power Line Communication) technologies [35].
In addition, the RPL includes measures for power
conservation such as adapting the sending rate of
control messages and updating the topology only
when data packets have to be sent [16]. On a
network, more than one instance of RPL can be run
simultaneously. Each such instance may consider a
set of different and potentially antagonistic
constraints or optimization objectives [35]. The RPL
builds a loop free Destination Oriented Directed
Acyclic Graph (DODAG) based on such criteria.
Objective Function (OF) defines such constraints and
objectives and identify how to use them for building
such graph (DODAG & OF are out of scope here. For
more about the RPL, see [14], [16], [17], [35]).
The Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is
a web based application layer protocol designed by
the Constrained RESTful Environments (CoRE)
working group in IETF [36]. It offers interactive
M2M communications for autonomous devices and
smart objects through the standard Internet. It is
intended to be used in the low power and constrained
networks such as LLNs/IoT and 6LoWPAN that
require remote monitoring & manipulating. CoAP is
a lightweight version of HTTP that supports
simplicity, low message overhead, reduced parsing
complexity, and limited need for packet
fragmentation in such constrained environments and
devices. Moreover, it is a platform that provides a
request/response interaction model between
applications and easily facilitates the integration of
the embedded networks with existing web [36], [37].
Plus, it has more features for M2M such as built-in
discovery, proxy-mode support, multicast support,
reliable delivery, and asynchronous message
exchanges [17], [36]. The packets in the CoAP are
much smaller, simpler to generate and easier to parse
with less memory used. CoAP is datagram based
which runs over UDP, not TCP. However, it may be
used on top of SMS and other packet based
communication protocols [38].
Advancements in the IoT motivate for adoption
more and more applications of such innovative
technology. IoT applications have increasingly
overspread industries and public/private sector
organizations saving our time, resources and efforts.
Applications of the IoT have been categorized in
literature based on different classification criteria and
factors putting them into several distinguished
domains such as presented in [2], [11], [18], [39],
[40] and [28]. In [28], three major domains of IoT
applications are identified: industry, environment,
and society (see Table 2). These fields are cohesively
linked and interrelated with each others and can not
be isolated. Within each broad domain, more and
more applications can be further identified. The base
requirements of these applications in such domains
are often the same with a marginal difference
depending on the main functionality of the
application. In this section we briefly investigate
some of the common and widely used applications of
the IoT.
Monitoring and controlling systems are common
applications of the IoT. Data about environment or
networked objects is collected (sensed or calculated),
sent to an intelligent system (centralized or
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distributed) and then a right decision is made. This
allows continuously tracking the working behavior,
reconfiguring operating parameters, and thus
automatically adjusting the resulting performance of
the system. WSN is early adopted in such scenarios
and have constantly been a main technology in the
security and climate control systems. Nowadays, IP-
based WSN identified as a subnet of the IoT
networks providing enhanced flexibility, interaction,
and dynamics to the environmental monitoring
applications [18]. This includes measuring the natural
phenomena such as wind, storm, rainfall,
temperature, pollution, river height, etc. and keeping
track of the mobile objects in real time anywhere and
anytime [26]. Surveillance and security in different
scenarios such as in homes, markets, malls,
enterprises etc., are also noticeably adopted using
IoT-based WSN technologies.
In a smart city, an integrated digital
infrastructure is adopted. The key services are
managed in an intelligent automated manner to
enable higher efficiency, and lower operational costs.
For example, in the smart grid, a smart metering is
employed to constantly monitor the electricity points
in the city scale. Based on data collected, such system
enables to improve the way energy is consumed and
helps to maintain the load balancing and high QoS
[18]. Moreover, the smart traffic system provides
advanced traffic control in which the care traffic is
monitored at the big cities scale and highways. This
system offers services to the car drivers by providing
alternative traffic routes to avoid congestion [11]. In
a smart home/building, the equipments and
appliances such as washing machine, oven, fridge, air
conditioner, ventilation, hating, sliding door, etc., are
controlled automatically via an intelligent
management system. For example a computer
receives data on the building‟s environment and issue
commands to devices, or the device itself is equipped
with an intelligence capability of doing such task.
Such systems offer a cohesive living environment
with better tasks scheduling, notifications, security
and resource management such as energy
conservation. Health care systems also benefit from
the IoT technology to provide more efficient care
services. Body Area Network (BAN) is an example
of data analytics in which the patient
behavior/condition is constantly monitored. For
instance, networked in-body nanosensors are
envisioned in [40]. Such nonosensors collaborate
with on-body sensors that are worn or put on the
body of human, to measure various physiological
parameters. These parameters are uploaded through
several IP-based interfaces to the centralized servers
or monitoring system. The specialists and physicians
can access this data and respond in real-time and
effectively intervention and treatment [18].
In the business domain, intelligent systems are
utilized to discover and resolve business issues in
order to make proper response and achieve
customer‟s satisfaction [26]. In supply/delivery chain
and distribution logistics, for instance, items and
perishable goods tracking is one of the common
applications making use of RFID technology. Using
collected information, the remote buyer/supplier is
able to continuously monitor the status and
movement of the goods, for example, the current
locations, quantity, environmental conditions, and the
expected time of availability in the market [11].
Thus, making this information automatically
accessible to the customers. In the manufacturing,
smart factories have become prominent helping to
improve the production process. In such systems, the
intelligence is embedded in the machineries and
equipments. Thus, making them able to improve their
performance through self-management capabilities.
Moreover, these components are connected together
via robust coordination and controlling system.
Human intervention is largely reduced resulting in a
number of key benefits such as faster
production/delivery time, less cost, improved quality,
and safer working environments [1], [28].
However, information exchange & sharing,
enterprises collaboration, smart banking, crowd
monitoring, infrastructure monitoring, smart
transportation, water measurement and more others
Indicative examples
Activities involving financial or commercial
transactions between companies, organizations
and other entities
Manufacturing, logistics, service sector,
banking, financial governmental authorities,
intermediaries, etc.
Activities regarding the protection, monitoring
and development of all natural resources
Agriculture & breeding, recycling,
Environmental management services, energy
management, etc.
Activities/initiatives regarding the
development and inclusion of societies, cities,
and people
Governmental services towards citizens and
other society structures (eparticipation),
einclusion (e.g. aging, disabled people), etc
Table 2: IoT Application Domains - Description and Examples. (Source: CERP-IOT [28]).
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are just examples of the IoT applications. Extremely
increase in the smart applications is expected to
invade our life in the near future.
As a fast-emerging fast-growing technology, the
IoT open unprecedented opportunities for more
developments and investments in the ICT. However,
open issues and challenges emerge highlighting
research trends and requiring more attentions. Recent
research papers, reports and surveys provide several
discussions for such challenges that face IoT
developers. As the IoT is still in its infancy, the
challenges span over different levels including big
data management, analytics & mining, architecture
standardization, scalability, privacy & security, clock
synchronization, energy management, protocols,
visualization, and QoS, [1], [11], [18], [26], [41]
[44]. Moreover, social IoT, and nano-IoT are new
emerging dimensions as introduced in [40], [45]
respectively. Such issues are expected to be further
addressed in the near future and more cooperation
efforts are needed. In particular, we assert the
importance of paying special attentions to the
following two issues: (i) energy-efficiency which is
considered as a main objective of designing the IoT
solutions. As the number of connected objects rapidly
grow-up, the power consumption extremely increase;
therefore, energy-efficient techniques are needed for
developing green IoT systems [1], [11], [41]. (ii)
clock-synchronization which becomes a critical
technology for coherent distributed systems. A
scalable time synchronization is required for enabling
data consistency, better coordination, and task
scheduling [11], [42]. Moreover, with a dynamic
timing synchronization, an IoT device can time its
sleep pattern making it possible to conserve higher
energy [40]. We expect further participations in order
to reduce the impact of such technical hurdles. Thus,
building a coherent and consistent IoT world in
which a thing or a smart object becomes survivable,
interoperable and adaptable to be attached and work
in any environment.
The IoT is a cyber-physical system that
integrates billions of heterogeneous devices and
smart objects. These things are enabled by various
technologies such as identification, embedded
sensors, intelligent management, protocols, data
storage/processing/analytics, etc. A wide range of
IoT applications have been adopted and deployed in
the last few years. In this paper, an overview study of
the Internet of Things is presented introducing the
vision, concepts, features and the promise future.
Brief discussions of the main technologies, the newly
developed protocols, and the most common
applications of the IoT are provided. The research
directions/future challenges are listed for more efforts
in the near future. We emphasize the importance of
the power-efficiency and time-synchronization as
future trends that, we believe, need a significant
focus and more investigations. The major
contribution of this paper is that it brings the main
aspects of the IoT and its relevance together in one
paper, presented in a straightforward and unverbose
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The pathways through which information is gathered, stored, and dispatched in organizations are changing: the physical world itself is becoming a type of information system. In what's called the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators embedded in physical objectsfrom roadways to pacemakersare linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet. These networks churn out huge volumes of data as they sense the environment and as devices communicate with one another. The data can be marshaled to aid decision makers or to respond automatically to events. These emerging information networks promise to change business models for many companies, offering new ways to interact with consumers, fine-tune processes for greater productivity, automate dangerous tasks, and better manage risk.
The Internet of Things presents unique challenges to the protection of individual privacy. This article highlights the growing need for appropriate regulatory as well as technical action in order to bridge the gap between the automated surveillance by IoT devices and the rights of individuals who are often unaware of the potential privacy risk to which they are exposed. As a result, new legal approaches for the protection of privacy need to be developed. © 2015 Rolf H.Weber. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The public IPv4 address space managed by IANA ( has been completely depleted by Feb 1st, 2011. This creates by itself an interesting challenge when adding new things and enabling new services on the Internet. Without public IP addresses, the Internet of Things capabilities would be greatly reduced. Most discussions about IoT have been based on the illusionary assumption that the IP address space is an unlimited resource or it is even taken for granted that IP is like oxygen produced for free by nature. Hopefully, the next generation of Internet Protocol, also known as IPv6 brings a solution. In early 90s, IPv6 was designed by the IETF IPng (Next Generation) Working Group and promoted by the same experts within the IPv6 Forum since 1999. Expanding the IPv4 protocol suite with larger address space and defining new capabilities restoring end to end connectivity, and end to end services, several IETF working groups have worked on many deployment scenarios with transition models to interact with IPv4 infrastructure and services. They have also enhanced a combination of features that were not tightly designed or scalable in IPv4 like IP mobility, ad hoc services; etc catering for the extreme scenario where IP becomes a commodity service enabling lowest cost networking deployment of large scale sensor networks, RFID, IP in the car, to any imaginable scenario where networking adds value to commodity. For that reason, IPv6 makes feasible the new conception of extending Internet to Everything. IPv6 spreads the addressing space in order to support all the emerging Internet-enabled devices. In addition, IPv6 has been designed to provide secure communications to users and mobility for all devices attached to the user; thereby users can always be connected. This work provides an overview of our experiences addressing the challenges in terms of connectivity, reliability, security and mobility of the Internet of Things through IPv6 in order to reach the Internet of Everything. This describes the key challenges, how they have been solved with IPv6, and finally presents the future works and vision that describe the roadmap of the Internet of Everything in order to reach an interoperable, trustable, mobile, distributed, valuable, and powerful enabler for emerging applications such as Smarter Cities, Human Dynamics, Cyber-Physical Systems, Smart Grid, Green Networks, Intelligent Transport Systems, and ubiquitous healthcare.
The Internet of Things (IoT), also called the Internet of Everything or the Industrial Internet, is a new technology paradigm envisioned as a global network of machines and devices capable of interacting with each other. The IoT is recognized as one of the most important areas of future technology and is gaining vast attention from a wide range of industries. This article presents five IoT technologies that are essential in the deployment of successful IoT-based products and services and discusses three IoT categories for enterprise applications used to enhance customer value. In addition, it examines the net present value method and the real option approach widely used in the justification of technology projects and illustrates how the real option approach can be applied for IoT investment. Finally, this article discusses five technical and managerial challenges.
Internet of Things (IoT) and its relevant technologies have been attracting the attention of researchers from academia, industry, and government in recent years. However, since the requirements of the IoT are quite different from what the Internet today can offer, several innovative techniques have been gradually developed and incorporated into IoT, which is referred to as the Future Internet of Things (FIoT). Among them, how to extract “data” and transfer them into “knowledge” from sensing layer to application layer has become a vital issue. This paper begins with an overview of IoT and FIoT, followed by discussions on how to apply data mining and computational intelligence to FIoT. An intelligent data management framework inspired by swarm optimization will then given. Finally, open issues and future trends of this field will be addressed.