The concept of « Internet of Things » appeared in 1999-2000 and has been receiving growing attention since then. Paradoxically, little academic work has been dedicated to IoT until now, mostly in the technological field and very little from a socio economic perspective. Consequently, the concept remains unclear while more and more prospective refers to IoT and the economic, managerial and regulatory issues at stake call for better awareness and rigorous analysis as well.
The Internet of Things can be addressed from a technical point of view – in terms of network architecture, addressing issues, routing challenges, etc. it can also be defined through the applications and new usages it makes possible. Some consider that the main point of the IoT is to enable the identification of any object. Some others retain as a necessary property of the IoT the ability for its “things” to exchange data autonomously – or at least without human intervention. This implies not only a unique identity but also the ability to initiate (without human intervention) connection to the network.
In one of the rare synthetic works dedicated to the topic, (BENGHOZI et al., 2009) proposed the following definition:
“A network of networks enabling, through unified and normalized electronic identification systems, along with wireless mobile devices, to identify directly and without ambiguity digital entities and physical objects, thus making possible to retrieve, save, transfer and treat, with no discontinuity between the physical world and the digital world, associated data.”
The Internet of Things emerges therefore, as a core concept, bringing many important socio-economical and technical implications and opening new avenues of development. However, how it is shaped in detail remains quite fuzzy, and is subject to ongoing research and development. Besides, one can note that almost everyone provides with its own definition. Rather than a weakness, at this stage, this highlights the richness of the concept of Internet of Things and the high interest it triggers, from many perspectives.
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