FAQs on the Internet of Things

The »Internet of Things« is more than just a catchy phrase. And it is by no means only a vision either, it is a new way of perceiving things – here are the most important questions and answers.

Where does the term »Internet of Things« actually come from?
The term goes back to the Auto-ID Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that developed an inter-company RFID infrastructure for the first time in 1999. They stated that computers should be capable of gathering information independent of any human input. Computers would have to understand the real world – without being operated by people.

What is the Internet of Things?
Objects become intelligent in the Internet of Things and they can exchange information with each other via the internet. The virtual world is merged with the real world. This is based on the development of RFID technology which not only gives goods and devices their own identity in the form of a code, but also enables them to record and share their own statuses with each other and to act upon this information.

What is the basis of the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things is based on the following principles: 1. individual information is stored on or in the object, 2. objects are networked, 3. individual decision-making is carried out on the basis of locally-analyzed information and 4. individual services are available on demand to control event-driven processes in near real-time.

How can logistics benefit from the Internet of Things?
When it comes to the Internet of Things, the most important points for logistics are that objects can control themselves by making autonomous decisions and that they have decentralized decision-making structures. Each container, pallet and package is equipped with a digital memory. This provides information and priorities for the objects, so that they can make simple decisions on their own, enabling them to find their own way to the correct destination.  Developments are heading towards decentralized, autonomous and interactive entities: All devices, packages and goods interact closely with each other from the moment when an order is placed until when delivery is completed. This form of the Internet of Things is an answer to the increasing complexity we find in logistics coupled with the demand for more flexibility.

What is the status of the Internet of Things today?
Today, the Internet of Things provides the infrastructure behind networked cyber physical systems (CPS) and forms the basis for Industry 4.0.
In Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things links technical processes together with their respective resources and (commercial) business processes in companies across various company levels as well as with information, communications, control and management systems.