IoT 101: The Four Basics

By’s Jimmy Schaeffler 

(July 1, 2014; Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA)

Everything in life, from the most basic to most complicated, starts with just one of those two elements: The Basics.

The Internet of Things (IoT), as incredibly complex as it is and will become, is the same animal. It is made up of basics.

Having spent many a presentation in the last year or so, and having read thousands of articles, scores of books, and having spoken to thousands of people on the topic of IoT, I can comfortably say that I have found those IoT basics, and can confidently advance them here.

That said, I would welcome every reader’s comments as to what I got right and what I didn’t, per the blog posting section below (or other Contact page).

The Four IoT Basics

With an understanding of these 4 basic foundational blocks for what makes IoT, a reader/observer can instantly jump to new levels of understanding the Internet of Things, and even the personal and/or business implementation of IoT.

These 4 IoT Basics track the actual hardware and equipment infrastructure that represents IoT. Those are 1) the device itself, 2) the sensor or other monitor on or in the device, 3) the network of wires or cellular or satellite that today distributes or delivers that sensor’s information from the device to the fourth item, which is 4) the server or other computer that processes and applies the data collected from the device.

# 1 Dynamic Devices 

Just what qualifies as a “device” these days, to start the application of IoT?

Honestly, that is a limitless answer, because it is conceivable that the most fundamental of objects could one day be tied to the IoT. Thus, for example, the asphalt on a heavily driven freeway might one day be equipped with a sensor that reads and conveys for subsequent human and/or machine reaction the elements of wear and tear, moisture, temperature, etc. Or, just looking at what is out there in the IoT world today, there are hundreds of sensors in vehicles that measure use and other patterns, conveying that data into the parts of that IoT ecosystem outlined above, and detailed below. These are but tiny examples of how  how dynamic the range of devices is and will be. Indeed, human beings will qualify under the definition of “devices.”

# 2 Sensors and Other Things of Measurement

Attaching or embedding that sensor, which often essentially is a “mini mini-computer,” starts the action chain that frequently starts the Internet of Things.

The real work often turns on a determination of just what size and sophistication that mini computer will take.

# 3 Network

Wireless is going to be the best and most used network for the Internet of Things.

That is because, for now at least, a typical cellular Internet connection is more practical technically, and more affordable construction-wise, between more actual and potential devices and end-servers, than that of a fiber- or a satellite-based set-up.

What will be interested to see in the future, however, will be how that network distribution will change…and it will, immensely (but that is fodder for a future Article by IoTComplete predicts huge shifts toward hybrid infrastructures, converging satellite, cellular, and fiber.

# 4 Server 

The final part of the IoT Basics is the server. This is usually going to be a much more complex computer that receives the data input from the sensor attached to the device and processes it.

In most instances, that processing will be automatic. That is, the program within the IoT server will handle the data input in such a way that less or no human intervention is needed in order to create a reaction to that data. Indeed, that is a great deal of the rationale behind the IoT, i.e., to make the quality of life and of business and personal interactions better, cheaper, safer, and/or more efficient.


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Jimmy Schaeffler is the principal behind the burgeoning new IoT service-provider,, a Northern California-based entity, focused on the development of and strategies involving future global personal and business technologies…for more information, visit our site at cordially and professionally invites you, our Viewer, our Reader, our Constituent to reach out to, in order to best implement the steps and considerations described above.