IoT is data, information, and metadata from devices continually available through the internet.


“The IoT can be defined as ‘data and devices continually available through the Internet'”. This is how Dr N Jeyanthi from VIT defines it in the book “Privacy in Internet of Things (IoTs) Models, Algorithms, and Implementations”. Even though, I like the clever use of the word ‘continually’, the definition can be extended.


Let me explain: Let’s take the example of simple devices like mobile phones, smart watches, activity trackers, smart glasses, etc.

  • The devices are generate bits of information like numbers, figures, etc which forms the data.
  • This data are organised, interpreted, and presented to make them meaningful and hence useful. Data becomes information.
  • This information gets collated and is stored with a source tag. This source tag is called metadata.
  • The usage of the word ‘continually’ is important. Continually means “very often; at regular or frequent intervals,” and continuously means “unceasingly; constantly; without interruption. All those devices and many more are not necessarily available as a source to generate data, information, and metadata.

What are these devices we are talking about?

Everything that is connected. There are two types to it: consumer type and Industrial-type. Even though it sounds simple when we say there are just two types, the volume and the context of it is humongous. Let me provide a simple perspective.

Consumers are individual persons or creatures. I am a consumer.

  • Say, I use a smart watch. I set an alarm. That means I am adding intelligence to the watch saying wake me up daily at 0530 hours. The watch wakes me up. This detail is captured.
  • I wake up and wear my watch. I make my tea and get ready to go for my morning jog. All those hand movements with the watch on it, steps I take inside the house, and the time I take from waking up to locking the door get captured.
  • I start my jog and take a route. The route I take, the steps I jog, the time it takes for me to return home get captured.
  • I come back and check my blood pressure and blood sugar. These details I update through interconnected watch and measuring devices and they get captured.


You see, the amount of detailing which gets captured and stored for processing. This is simple. Imagine, if I wear smart glasses which capture the road and surroundings when I jog, the details of the area at a particular time can be captured and processed. We will talk about what happens to the data soon.

Industrial usage is voluminous.

I get ready for work. I have to drive a truck of refrigerated goods from the warehouse to the mega-markets during the day. The truck has GPS. So my employer knows when I start the truck from where. The sensors in the truck continually measure the temperature to keep the good refrigerated. This is fed to a central server. The server can control and manage the temperature from a remote location. The goods inside the trucks have small tags called RFID (Radio frequency identification) which the central server knows. So, any movement of those goods at any point can be tracked using RFID and GPS. I start driving to my destination. To save time, I need to take the route with least traffic. Each traffic signal has cameras and they transmit congestion data. This data is processed, alternatives are deduced, and the central server provides me with a route map with the least traffic. My truck also has a camera which keeps sending data of a different kind. While on my route, the camera on my truck captures a major fire. This with GPS information is transmitted to emergency services and they react faster. All this happens even before I have done fraction of my day’s work.

I am not even talking about automated electricity grids, automated water grids, and other industrial usage.

So, together, IIoT (Industrial IoT) and CIoT (Consumer IoT) is going to clutch our lives very fast and very tight.


Goldman Sachs says we have 28 billion reasons to care …and the train is leaving the station: the IoT has the potential to connect 10X as many (28 billion) “things” to the Internet by 2020. I wanted to understand if I must care about and how should I interpret these 28 Billion things.

To make it simpler for me understand I started plotting data on just mobile phones around the world and extrapolated it to 2020.


There are 195 countries. I have taken just the top 49 most populated countries. This is about 25%.



  1. 25% of the total countries of the world have 87% of the population and 80% of the mobile devices.
  2. Mobile devices (and maybe wearable devices and others forming the consumer IoT) add to round about 8 billion IoT ‘things’.

This also means the balance units of 20 billion ‘things’ comprise of Industrial IoT.

This implies Industrial IOT: Consumer IoT is 70% :30%


To extend this information, I went through the McKinsey view of Internet of Things. To get a broader view of the IoT’s potential benefits and challenges across the global economy, McKinsey analyzed more than 150 use cases, ranging from people whose devices monitor health and wellness to manufacturers that utilize sensors to optimize the maintenance of equipment and protect the safety of workers. Our bottom-up analysis for the applications we size estimates that the IoT has a total potential economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion a year by 2025. At the top end, that level of value—including the consumer surplus—would be equivalent to about 11 percent of the world economy.



A crude back of the envelope calculation would give us around $ 8 Trillion a year @ 2020.



  1. Industrial IOT: Consumer IoT is 70% :30%
  2. Total value = $ 8 Trillion a year


Next post: In the next post, I will provide a mind-map to cover the eco-system and we will take it from there.