The Internet of Things as an infrastructure


Jeff Evans, Chair of the CDAIT Executive Advisory Board at the May 16th, 2018 CDAIT Board meeting

The Internet of Things as an infrastructure

The Internet of Things is "a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on, existing and evolving, interoperable information and communication technologies.”
(Source: International Telecommunication Union 
– Recommendation ITU–T Y.2060 [2012], p. 1.)

The Internet of Things is “an infrastructure of interconnected objects, people, systems and information resources together with intelligent services to allow them to process information of the physical and the virtual world and react.”
(Source: ISO/IEC JTC1/SWG 5  
[2014], p. 3.)

The Internet of Things when everything is said and done

At CDAIT, the "Internet of Things" (IoT) concept refers to the interconnection of intelligent things (*).

While interconnection (and its related and yet different concepts such as interoperability and interdependence) is axiomatic to IoT and a non-trivial building block, the intelligence of things (as a matter of course) is what makes the IoT paradigm “game-changing”.

It follows that the expression "Internet of Things" (IoT) is best understood as a metaphor that encapsulates the immersion of almost anything and everything (previously "out of scope") into the communications space thanks to the timely convergence of scientific, technological and societal advances and trends. Through embedded intelligence, it will transform the dimensions of the economy and society on a scale not experienced before; nothing will be forever fixed. Inert will become active; delayed, instantaneous; offline, online; and static, dynamic. The IoT will give rise to a world in constant change, i.e., a "pulsating world" (emerging from things sending and receiving data). 

In June 2017, the IoT European Research Cluster (IERC) published the 8th edition of the Cluster book "Cognitive Hyperconnected Digital Transformation - Internet of Things Intelligence Evolution" [the Cluster book is printed by River Publishers, DK, June 2017 (ISBN: 978-87-93609-10-5)] in which the following IoT definition, in line with CDAIT's, is proposed: "The Internet of Things (IoT) is a multidimensional and multi-faceted paradigm. It describes how many fixed and mobile “things” with various levels of “intelligence” are interconnected, sensing/actuating, interpreting, communicating and processing information and exchanging knowledge over the hyperconnected IoT space by using different types of platforms. IoT will force business transformation and bring fundamental changes to individuals’ and society’s perspectives on how technologies and applications work in the world."

The above views echo an earlier IoT definition from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which describes the Internet of Things as "a self-configuring and adaptive system consisting of networks of sensors and smart objects whose purpose is to interconnect "all" things, including everyday and industrial objects, in such a way as to make them intelligent, programmable, and more capable of interacting with humans." (Source:

(*) For the purpose of this definition, an intelligent thing is a physical interface that has the ability to detect and monitor conditions of and changes in its environment and to generate, receive, collect, send, exchange, process, measure, analyze, and interpret data in order to act and adapt, and/or cause other things to act and adapt without immediate human intervention. Of course, such things may have various degrees of intelligence. Note that the concept of "Interconnection of Intelligent Things" belongs to the "Grand Vision of IoT" mentioned in Paul Kominers, Interoperability Case Study: Internet of Things (IoT) (April 1, 2012), Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Research Publication No. 2012-10, available at SSRN: or, p. 3, i.e., "The grand vision of the Internet of Things (IoT) is a world of networked intelligent objects." It is also in consonance with the emerging perspective in the telecom industry related to the anticipated large-scale IoT deployments, i.e., "Massive IoT" or "MIoT", which "refers to the tens of billions of devices, objects, and machines that require ubiquitous connectivity even in the most remote locations, like sensors buried deep in the ground, and that report their sensing data to the cloud on a regular basis." See. 5G Americas, LTE Progress Leading to the 5G Massive Internet of Things (December 2017) available at