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The Internet of Things (IoT) is the industry term for the interconnection of all kinds of physical devices to the internet and among each other to allow them to act on external information or contribute information upon which other devices will act. These devices are now enhanced with communication capabilities—including hardware and software—and can be vehicles, buildings, lights, sensors, switches, valves and all sorts of everyday appliances that have now been renamed as "smart devices".
The Internet of Things—defined in 2013 by the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) as "the infrastructure of the information society"—englobes all these devices as well as the network connectivity that allows them to communicate, the software that allows them to cooperate and the technologies that let them be accessed and controlled remotely across the existing network infrastructure. Conservative estimations predict that by 2020 there may be 50 billion IoT objects in the world.
IoT represents an unprecedented opportunity for the direct integration of computer-based systems into the physical wolrd, facilitating workflows, improving efficiency and accuracy, reducing human intervention in mundane tasks and providing significant economic benefits. As defined in Wikipedia, when IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities.