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August 2013, Volume 2, Number 8

Explained: What is the Internet of Things?

What is the Internet of Things, exactly? It is an ambiguous term, but it is fast becoming a tangible technology that can be applied in data centers to collect information on just about anything that IT wants to control. The Internet of Things (IoT) is essentially a system of machines or objects outfitted with data-collecting technologies so that those objects can communicate with one another. The machine-to-machine (M2M) data that is generated has a wide range of uses, but is commonly seen as a way to determine the health and status of things -- inanimate or living. IT administrators can use the IoT for anything in their physical environment that they want information about. In fact, they already do. In one case, IoT is being used to stymie deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. A Brazilian location-services company called Cargo Tracck places M2M sensors from security company Gemalto in trees in protected areas. When a tree is cut or moved, law enforcement receives a message with its GPS location, allowing authorities to track ...

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