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What the heck is the Internet of Things and why should Microsoft Dynamics customers care?

by Bridget McCrea
Contributing Writer,

If you haven't already heard the phrase "Internet of Things" bandied about online or offline, brace yourself. Defined by Gartner as "the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment," the Internet of Things or the "IoT" brings uniquely identifiable objects into context online.

Initially popularized by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Auto-ID Center, the IoT goes beyond the basic computing devices (computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) to include everyday devices like refrigerators, thermostats, and parking meters. Those devices' numbers will reach staggering heights over the next few years. According to Gartner there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the IoT by 2020 and ABI Research says that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020.

In its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014, Gartner highlighted the top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2014. Number three on this list was "The Internet of Everything." According to the report, the Internet is expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items such as cars and televisions.

"The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded Internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready," according to Gartner.

But Gartner's 30 billion devices by 2020 prediction isn't the highest out there. Other voices in the IoT discussion put the number at 40 billion or higher. Here's an infographic from IoT public cloud provider ...

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About Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea covers business and technology topics for various publications. She can be reached at

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