IoT or Internet of things is a network of things or objects, usually connected via wireless network like household appliances. Usually, objects connected in IoT will be self configuring. This networking enables the things in IoT to communicate with people and/or with each other. The main characteristics of IoT are

1. Ambient intelligence

Ambient Intelligence (AmI) brings intelligence to devices we use in every day life and makes the environment sensitive to us and keep the surrounding flexible and adaptive to human beings. One of the common application of AmI is in health care like e-health applications.

2. Flexible Structure

There is no specific rules on how things need to be arranged or connected to each other. What comes handy to your home is part of your IoT at home.

3. Event Driven

Normally things wont be communicating each other continuously, instead a some events will trigger the communication. For example the car approaching the house via drive way turns on the porch light and scanning of bio-metric on front door turns on light/cooler/heater in that person's bed room.

4. Semantic sharing

The things includes some semantics or interpretation of received information or events to the data. The data will be "fact-oriented" and represented mostly as tuples connected with relationships between data elements. For example, many smart phones include the location where a photo was taken to the album and categorise them. This data could be represented as aquarium.jpg <taken at> Nashville, TN

5. Complex Access technologies

We need devices with bit complex technologies for connecting each other to include the features above like wireless connection with minimum required security, event sensors, additional technologies to include semantic data and more..

Applications of IOT could be extended to anything. It could be as simple as turning on lights in the front room/or bedroom when a person enters the house to any complex system.

One of the simple systems we worked recently is with RFID scanner in a parking area. We scan the RFID tag of the car When the car enters the parking area. Each parking lot has RFID scanner and the location is saved to the system. The driver can approach the booth to know his car's location if he forgot where it was parked. When the car leaves the parking area, the system knows how long the car was in the parking area and charged accordingly. This information is used for better services and/or business later.

Its better used in smart homes to control any smart devices including but not limited to Television, Ovens, Air Conditioners, Security systems/cams or anything you can think of being smart.

In short, IoT is a network of smart devices that sense people/events and and communicate each other with semantic data to improve the quality of our life. IoT is going to take us to a smarter future :)