Pockets of industry are taking items we normally use and improving them or they are creating new ones that capitalize on new/smaller/cheaper sensors and compute models that interact and add value to day-to-day business and lives.  Just having a compute device that utilizes the internet maybe even captures some interesting big-data in itself does not fall into the category of Internet of Things.

A recent TechRepublic top 10 posting augmenting their Internet of Things editorial focus is only 50% accurate if you agree with my definition above.  10 ways to make the Internet of Things pay-off could be a better article. See what I would add and my rating of the 10 areas of focus.

1: POS (point of sales) systems

A lot more comes through these systems than mere transactions for goods and services. Enterprises can also study associated Big Data that can be gleaned from these transactions, such as where sales took place and which products were sold. Analyzing this input can help with the design of correct product mixes that are targeted to the buying patterns at particular locations.

Not IoT : Yes this is a great use case for big data but the POS device is not providing any more relevant data than the details of the transaction. IoT would be identifying a customer  and be able to track their steps throughout the store and what merchandise they glanced at along the way through 3d sensors and heat mapping. This data then can feed into promotions or customized shopping services for that individual automatically (damn straight I want paper over plastic) at the point of transaction. Device connecting to other devices that influence or enhance the experience that’s the pay-off of Internet of Things.

2: Mechanical IoT readings

If your company uses mechanical devices to measure consumer consumption (e.g., utility companies), you can collect data from these devices over the Internet. Your customer relationship management can go a long way if you start monitoring usage and then presenting online reports and suggestions for optimizing usage that can save customers money. Many electrical and gas utilities have already begun doing this.

Simple IoT: Changing and enhancing the energy delivery process and feedback mechanisms  to optimize resources is one of the key areas of promise for IoT.  IoT advanced is going to the next level where conditions can set triggers to control the flow of limited resources.  PG&E has SmartAC program where a  device enables a home-owners air-conditioners to operate in a slightly lower power through the command from PG&E in times of high energy utilization.  Pay-off to the environment.

3: Web user intelligence

Third-party Web data aggregators use IoT automation to help you better understand your customers by monitoring their activities on your Web site and in social media channels like Facebook. By monitoring individual customers’ online activities across the Web, e-tailers are now getting a better sense of who their top customers are, what goods they prefer, and whether they influence others to buy.

Not IoT: This is just Internet intelligence or big data. IoT would be an eye tracking device like one being developed by Fujistu that coordinated with what was being displayed to collect where one was focused on the page. With so many scrollable and aggregated feed services now upon -click throughs alone are not enough to understand what content or celements have captured a readers attention.

4: Remote IT fixes

Secure IoT tunneling over Internet to remote devices allows IT to remotely fix many PC and mobile device problems for end users, thereby saving the time and expense of travel to remote sites.

Not IoT: The description is missing a point. If the remote device auto-triggers a problem and ‘phones home’ for assistance then this would be a use case for IoT.  Kiosks can now phone or alert home when dispensing merchandise is low or a mechanical components in distress

5: Surveillance

M2M hookups over Internet enable security alarm and camera integration with central IT systems. They can immediately notify IT or facilities management whenever there is a potential security breach or a machine failure problem.

Simple IoT: In this case having the devices auto-notify adds value to alert to unauthorized or suspicious behavior. Conventionally these systems collectively can provide a richer remote diagnostic of the situation.

6: Robotics

IoT now enables high-speed, high-quality Internet to connect experts with distant situations in the field. The technology is being used in medicine, where a surgeon in Toronto can perform a procedure on an individual in the Arctic by directing a robot at the remote location (via Internet) to perform the operation.

Yes IoT: Telemedicine is a great growth field and could help with providing care for low-resourced areas. Even better use case is when things will provide richer data to provide for personalized care like this hard pill to swallow that integrates with an app and helps to manage medicine intake.

7: Carbon mapping

Researchers in Arizona are using street-level sensors connected over the Internet to map carbon emissions in cities — a capability that could identify the greatest sources of carbon emissions and help combat global warming. The technology could be used by government agencies to monitor for carbon emissions compliance or by enterprises themselves in their environmental sustainability initiatives.

Yes IoT:There is a whole growth industry in urban management with IoT. Intellistreets supposedly backed by DHS is a good example, read a Huff post on the possibilities.

8: Transportation effectiveness

The transportation industry is wiring delivery trucks with sensors that monitor driving distances and times, track truck locations, and even assess driving habits. Activity is reported over the Internet and then collected into reports that are used to evaluate driver performance and the effectiveness of routes. The same technology is used to redirect trucks to new delivery routes if there is a coverage problem.

Yes IoT: A much closer to home use case is Progressive SnapShot providing customized insurance based on tracked driving habits.

9: Network traffic routing

Network router failures can be auto-detected for failover to keep the network up and running. Network traffic can also be load-leveled and auto-routed to the best Internet channel to facilitate traffic flow.

Not IoT: Just Internet Infrastructure.

10: GPS (global positioning systems) and lost mobile devices

Thirty million cell phones were lost or stolen in 2011 alone. Being able to auto-detect a missing device and to totally shut it down protects information assets and gives IT security managers welcome headache relief.

Not IoT: Just mobile device management. But if a device could assist in tracking mobile phones, or any other thing that tends to wander off  (young children) and trigger and alert the amount of lost items would dramatically decrease. Check out hipkey for enabling tracking and an IOS app to that helps to find these devices.  Smartphones giving humans access to the internet vs. devices utilizing the internet to interact with their humans.

Things on the Internet vs. Internet of Things – what’s your definition?