Fact check: Everything you should know about IoT

Tell me who you are and I'll tell you what IoT means

IoT - not a myth, not a new hype, not a trend product, but the net we're all caught in. In this blog post, we will explain in a clear and understandable way the three most important letters of digitization, which gradually expand the connectivity between the physical and digital world. Because everyone can, may and must perhaps contribute to this in the future. Be one of the spiders, not the prey!


The Internet of Things - IoT for short - have you ever heard of it? Some people will reply with 'Oh, not again!', others will answer: 'Isn’t that a new hype? The truth is somewhere in between. The Internet of Things is an omnipresent topic and will remain as that. And yes, especially as a company this phenomenon will affect you just as much and it will follow you to your grave as the digital natives. But it is not a new issue. Kevin Ashton coined the term back in 1999 - and that already in the 70s. So to speak the first IoT devices were cash machines. The Internet of Things encompasses a constant development that is too big, profitable, sustainable and profound for representing a hype. And that is exactly why it’s worthwhile to explore its significance.


Whether new territory or already heard a thousand times - for many people the Internet of Things is not a tangible concept. What the fire was for the Neanderthal man, the Internet is for the modern, digitized man today, so far so clear. But there is still something behind the word 'Things' and that’s actually a very individual experience, especially for companies.


Just as fire can provide warmth, give light, cook food and fertilize entire floors, the Internet can be used in many different ways for a big variety of problems and applications. Even more - it can make everything that is already there more flexible, more intelligent and more efficient, it can optimize, automate, strengthen and open it up for other modern branches, and all this individually. However, the last word is the crux of the magic, because a little creativity around digital features is necessary to define this modernization process for yourself. A general instruction manual doesn’t exist.


Things - these aren't just computers anymore. For example, they are radio-based sensors that measure the temperature, humidity, brightness and CO2 content of the air in a room and thus ensure greater safety, comfort and transparency in schools, hospitals and offices. Things are also remote maintenance and predictive maintenance installations in systems that bring networking advantages for companies and customers. But they can also be intelligent electricity meters that measure electricity, gas or water consumption every second and help to save money. Things are parcel carrier drones, autonomous vehicles or networked construction machines that use precise positioning. But there is also a more down-to-earth approach - Things can be intelligent garbage bins whose sensors measure the fill level and arrange for automatic emptying, or systems for documentation of care in hospitals.


Things can be almost anything. They are intelligent, make your work easier and can exist in large institutions as well as in small companies. Things are what you like to see improved and innovated with the help of the World Wide Web. As an umbrella term, the Internet of Things generally embodies your personal things, which are allowed to evolve with the Internet until they learn to run on their own.


In general, five types of IoT technologies can be distinguished today:


  • IoT for consumers (e.g. everyday things like household appliances)
  • Commercial IoT (e.g. for the healthcare and transport industries, such as smart pacemakers and monitoring systems)
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) (e.g. digital control systems, statistical analysis or intelligent agriculture)
  • Infrastructure IoT (e.g. for the connectivity of intelligent cities using infrastructure sensors, management systems or user apps)
  • Military items (IoMT) (robots for surveillance, portable biometrics for combat)


More and more organisations and governments are giving priority to the digital transformation, as evidenced by the continued diffusion of IoT technologies. In 2018, there were seven billion IoT devices, although 87 percent of people at that time said they were unaware of the term 'Internet of Things'. So we were way ahead of our vocabulary, without even realizing it. Experts estimate the number of devices at 31 billion by 2020 and more than 75 billion IoT devices are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2025. Of course, this will change the workflows and requirements of many different industries. In China, over 500 Smartcity pilot programs have been running since the beginning of 2018. The South Korean mobile phone giant Samsung holds the most IoT patents - about 850 of them. But half of the world's total IoT projects are developed in Europe. Forecasts for the current year predict that over 90 percent of companies will use IoT technologies. 3.5 billion cellular IoT connections are expected to be installed. Similarly, 90 percent of cars and 80 percent of industrial companies are expected to use IoT technologies.


In view of all the numbers and facts, it quickly becomes clear that, on the one hand, every area of our lives is affected by the Internet of Things. On the other hand, in order to remain competitive, every company should follow the development so that it won’t be swallowed up by the already stronger digitised competition. And this can also be worthwhile financially. Around 94 percent of the companies that introduced IoT in any way achieved a return on investment, even if this meant investing at the beginning. While global spending on the Internet of Things in 2016 was still at USD 737 billion, it has now reached USD 1.29 trillion. By 2021, the size of the industrial IoT market is expected to reach USD 124 billion. By 2024, the global IoT healthcare market is expected to be worth USD 14 billion. And in six years - experts estimate - the market for IoT devices will reach USD 1.1 trillion.


Where does the intelligence of technology come from? Not from the features themselves or from individual devices, but it comes from connections. IoT networks link devices, centralize their control and exchange information. The technologies are related physical and digital components that transmit data without the help of human mediators. However, only relevant information is stored in the central infrastructure via local IoT gateways (data hubs) and not all the unfiltered data as it was previously realized via simple cloud solutions. All commercial IoT devices must be tested and undergo a strict regulatory certification. Each region has its own regime for this - in Europe the 'CE'. IoT devices often do not require an IP address, instead they can be assigned a unique UID identifier that is compatible with the integrated wireless connection, which can ultimately be safer, cheaper and more energy efficient. This requires attention to other security vulnerabilities, such as weakly encoded passwords, lack of device management, inadequate data protection, insecure data transmission and storage, dangerous third-party components, or insecure default settings, network services or system interfaces that facilitate the theft of confidential data. On average, IoT devices are attacked within 5 minutes; 75 percent of infected devices in attacks are routers.


IoT devices should always be thoroughly scanned before they are inserted into the network. The more IoT points you connect to it, the more vulnerable it becomes to cyber security. To protect the network, you can use Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), which monitors endpoints, proactively seeks out threats and sends alerts if necessary. As a further security measure, the network for IoT can be created wirelessly and separately, separate from the corporate network. So in addition to digital creativity and interest in technical features, know-how in IT development is also required to master the digitization process skilfully.

Would you like to digitalize your processes or develop an IT product specially tailored to your needs? Please contact us! We will advise you free of charge, find your personal potential on the Internet of Things and help you master the challenges of Industry 4.0.