8 Internet things that are not IoT

Cisco’s big market numbers may not include smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Cisco’s proclamations on the value of the Internet of Things/Everything market -- $14.4 trillion -- would seem to include everything but the kitchen sink… and maybe even that if it’s IP-enabled.

So is there anything IP-enabled that’s not included in the Internet of Things/Everything market? We asked a couple of analysts tracking the market and they gave us a list of eight IP-enabled devices they do not consider elements of the Internet of Things/Everything:

  • Desktops
  • laptops
  • tablets
  • smartphones
  • traditional mobile phones
  • TVs
  • DVD/MP3 players
  • game consoles.

+MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: Connected stuff is catching on -- just don't call it IoT +

So anything that requires human interaction or control is not considered an element of the IoT/E ecosystem, according to ACG Research and IDC.

“IDC defines the Internet of Things as a network of networks of uniquely identifiable endpoints -- or ‘things’ -- that communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity – be it ‘locally’ or globally,” says Carrie MacGillivray, IDC program vice president for mobile services, IoT and infrastructure. “The key words in our definition is that it’s communicated without human interaction. So, at the simplest level, we are not including smartphones, tablets, PCs, etc.”

“The acceptable definition in the industry and essentially how ACG defines it is, IoT: Connectivity of devices not designed for direct human interaction, connectivity or control,” says Dennis Ward, Internet of Things analyst at ACG. “It includes appliances, vehicles, machinery, sensors, monitors, devices -- e.g. all verticals/horizontals - healthcare, financial, wearables, utilities, etc.”

So on the face of it, IoT/E would encompass almost exclusively machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions and communications. But it’s not that cut and dried, according to MacGillivray. And doesn’t wearable computing require some human interaction to, well, wear and activate certain sessions?

“We believe M2M is too industrial of a term to use and narrows the discussion - and we focus on the broader IoT market,” she says. “Wearable overlaps with IoT as some requires human interaction.”

“It’s a superset of M2M with a bit more intelligence wrapped around it,” says ACG’s Ward.

As an example, Ward says a vehicle or inventory tracking system that interacts with other devices, such as GPS’s, to gather more data and actionable information to make the tracking task more intelligent. Human interaction might be involved initially at the endpoint but all of the information gathering up to the result and presentation is IoT.

“It’s a more intelligent device, a lot more agile,” he says, “and at the back end there is a lot more activity that goes on.”

The machines make the decision vs. the human making the decision, Ward says. So any IP-enabled device where the human has to make the decision based on the data presented would not be an IoT element.

Ward, however, considers wearable computing to be a definitive IoT element.

“A lot of that information (in wearables) is not happening because the individual is cognitively checking it out,” he says.

As an example, he cites a piece of clothing made from fabric that’s IP-enabled and uses a Bluetooth connection to a cloud-based application to monitor body temperature, heart rate, etc. When the data goes up into the cloud, then analytics and other processing occurs that has nothing to do with the human wearing the fabric.

Some of this categorization of IoT vs. non-IoT elements can be parsed out by how devices communicate. Cellphones that send data synchronously using the Real-time Transport Protocol are considered non-IoT elements while devices communicating asynchronously could be.

“It’s literally a different type of data element that’s on the network,” Ward says.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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