Internet of Things (D100)

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system that is connecting the internet with the world of all physical objects. By providing each and every physical object with a unique identifier and using the internet to transfer data over a network, IoT avoids the use of a human-to-human interaction and human-to-computer interaction [1]. The internet is a global communication network that connects computer networks using standard TCP/IP protocol. The operation of collaborating an internet networks infrastructure and transferring the same network within physical objects (defined as literally anything and everything), creates an IoT system. IoT connects two interdisciplinary fields which aid to advance the scope of a connected world far beyond what is currently imaginable

"How it Works" IoT described by (IBM)



Starting from (1974) with the beginning of TCP/IP it led to many revolutionary creations like the World Wide Web and overall interconnected computing on different facets. In (1999) is when the term Internet of Things (IoT) had finally arose. The term being coined by Kevin Ashton as he pitched the idea of an RFID to be enlisted in Proctor & Gambles supply chain. In 1999 began the attempt to replace UPC codes with the help of IoT by producing a global RFID system [2]. In early (2000) IoT saw its first movement into consumer product application as Samsung announced its plans to develop internet refrigerator. Following the plans for fame, in (2004) the IoT concept started to gain traction as RFID is deployed on a massive scale. In (2006) the first ever European IoT Conference was held which brought professionals and enthusiasts together. In (2008) large tech giants began to form unions to develop internet protocol networks for “smart objects” these companies included SAP, Cisco, Intel, Google and many more. In (2009) the Internet of Things was officially born when there were more ‘things or objects’ connected to the internet than people. From (2011) and onwards IoT propels as one of the most important industries in tech with not only corporations investing but also governmental bodies to help build out infrastructure and product for mass consumers.

How IoT Works

Consisting of a variety of web enabled devices, IoT devices receive, export and react on their own external environment by using sensors, pressure monitors, barometers and other forms of communication hardware in order to detect anything and everything surrounding that device. These same devices can not only interact with their environment but can interact with each other in a machine-to-machine (M2M) communication base. As these related devices connect together they become an intelligent system of systems. With the use of sensors, devices collect large sums of data and share that data over the cloud, which will need to be analyzed and send back a response to the device in some cases these responses will be in real-time. As similar devices collect data, they send this data to a gateway that is also collecting data from other like-minded devices, this gateway then sends all this data through the cloud to a system that can process and analyze all the content.


Popular Product Sectors

As the expansion around IoT continues to grow rapidly, there are several sectors that are welcoming in new players daily the most popular sectors include [3]:
1. Smart Home
2. Wearables
3. Smart City
4. Smart Grid
5. Industrial Internet
6. Connected Car
7. Connected Health
8. Smart Retail
9. Smart Supply Chain
10. Smart Farming

Ranked from 1-10 these are the most talked about spaces with the most activity currently within the product sector.

Retail Applications

For retail purposes, the use of information gathering is fundamental towards gathering the proper marketing materials and analytics for business decisions. With IoT tracking customer interactions is much easier and more accurate than requesting customers fill out surveys or interviewing focus groups.

“The store is no longer just a store, but instead a space where opinions, reviews, social media, mobile, expectations, experience, technology and attitude combine to create connections.” [4]

The Internet of Things enables retailers to make business processes and data collection simpler especially in inventory management processes, customer monitoring, and consumer relations by tracking how many store visits are made, which areas have large amounts of foot-traffic and why. The interconnectivity dispersed by IoT can improve accuracies when marketing to an audience since all connected devices can send promotions through social media to smartphones.

'Retail Technologies'

There a several ways in which the retail industry can use IoT. The main sensors and their functions can be found in the following table provided by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada[5]:

Technology Description
Cellular • Cellular radio provides very wide signal coverage, typically at the scale of neighbourhoods.

• Devices have unique identifiers that identify them to the telecommunications network.

• Wi-Fi generally involves medium-range communications, for example within or around a building.

• If a device has Wi-Fi turned on, it is always looking for a Wi-Fi network to connect with.
• When that device comes in range of a Wi-Fi network that a store (or third-party) has placed in a physical establishment, the Media Access Control (MAC) address, which is a unique number associated to that device, can be captured.
• Therefore, if a device is Wi-Fi enabled, observations can be made that reveal which devices are in a store.
• Wi-Fi networks can also be located in more public spaces such as streets or malls and can be used to analyze which stores a device is near or often frequents. Information about a device gathered from a number of Wi-Fi networks could offer detailed observations or patterns related to geolocation, date and time.

• Bluetooth generally involves short-range communications at the level of rooms. While Bluetooth’s range is smaller than Wi-Fi and it requires less hardware than Wi-Fi tracking, it also uses less bandwidth and can transmit data faster than Wi-Fi.

• Similar to Wi-Fi tracking, beacons (which are sensors) can be placed in a store or in public spaces and can gather observations via Bluetooth about a device within or outside of the store.
• In order for a business to engage in 2-way communication with a device via Bluetooth, an individual must have undertaken an action, such as downloading a store’s app.
• Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) uses Bluetooth connectivity, but it can connect faster and is more energy efficient than Bluetooth. BLE is only active when a connection to a device is made and is therefore optimal for sending small amounts of data periodically. BLE devices can be powered for long periods of time, so devices do not have to be charged for up to a year.
• This type of low-energy transmission can be used in equipment, appliances, and fixtures. Near Field Communication (NFC) and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)
• RFID uses radio signals to transmit information from a tag on a device to a RFID reader.
• NFC evolved from RFID to provide a low-power method to transfer small amounts of data between devices.
• Both NFC and RFID require close proximity to communicate.
• NFC can be used for a number of applications, including receiving coupons or deals by tapping a device at a digital sign/kiosk. It is also used for mobile payments, where an individual with an NFC enabled device can simply tap their device at a merchant’s point of sale system to complete a payment transaction.

Near Field Communication (NFC) and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)
• RFID uses radio signals to transmit information from a tag on a device to a RFID reader.

• NFC evolved from RFID to provide a low-power method to transfer small amounts of data between devices.
• Both NFC and RFID require close proximity to communicate.
• NFC can be used for a number of applications, including receiving coupons or deals by tapping a device at a digital sign/kiosk. It is also used for mobile payments, where an individual with an NFC enabled device can simply tap their device at a merchant’s point of sale system to complete a payment transaction.

'Passive Tracking'

With the installation of sensors, businesses are more incentivized to track user smartphones, gather information about popular items in store and popular locations of stores to improve their consumers experience. This is a one-way connection since some users may not even know they’re being monitored. [6]

'Interactive Tracking'

This can be done through the installation of the organizations mobile application and even through connections of “Guest Wi-Fi” servers. Through the use of sensors again, the organization can see which locations users frequently visit and even what they are searching for online. [7]

In Home Applications

IoT is making its way into the day-to-day lives of individuals around the world and at home. Interconnectivity between the simplest of devices in the home can supplement the growth of considering a home a “Smart-Home.” Brand new developments in in-home technologies like the Smart Fridge, Smart Meters, Smart TV’s, Smart Entertainment Systems and Home Security Systems can significantly revolutionize the at-home experience.

A “Smart-Home” is fitted or equipped with a range of interconnected sensors to read external elements such as light, temperature, motion, moisture of systems such as heating, lighting, security; and of devices such as media devices and appliances, which can be automated, monitored and controlled through a computer or smart phone, including from outside the home, or via the Internet.[8]

Several home technologies can be used to create a smart home including smart meters, smart entertainment and home monitoring devices.

'Smart Meters'

An activity such as turning on the heat or A/C can be a costly process if not done efficiently. With a Smart Meter, the interconnectivity between the meter and its user’s allows for smart energy use. Smart Meters replace the standard home thermostat; communicate with the user devices via the internet, adjusting the temperate when someone is home and when someone isn’t. The applications also provide analytics of the data collected to show best practices and high usage times. [9]

'Smart Entertainment'

Smart TV’s have grown more and more popular as price points start to become more affordable to the mass market. These televisions are interconnected with other devices and programs via the Internet. A user is able to interact with their television through their mobile phone, share music and upload videos. These televisions also contain features, which allow you to control volume and channels from your mobile device.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth equipped home audio systems have also become popular. Install the system in one or several rooms and play audio directly off your mobile device through the Internet. These devices also feature mobile Applications, which allow you to create a home grid, seeing which system is on and what is playing.

'Home Monitoring'

Home monitoring has significantly developed over recent years. Motion and fire detectors along with several other sensors can be placed around your home to operate with the safety of your home as its mission. Interconnected with other devices in the house including the cellular device consumers are now able to arm, disarm and monitor their home while they are away. Home surveillance systems are also available to be installed and viewed directly over the internet, from any location.


“Information collected by sensors within objects that are connected to each other can yield a tremendous amount of data that can be combined, analyzed and acted upon, all potentially without adequate accountability, transparency, security or meaningful consent.”[10]

In a research paper prepared by the Policy and Research Group of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, privacy implications of IoT have been outlined. As detailed above, this technology has a wide range of practices but as it seems, private information is most vulnerable. transmit “non-identifiable”[11] data, whereas other data sets are identifiable in some sorts.

Government Position on IoT

The IoT technology has capabilities to capture and store private information without consent, which is an enormous issue. The technology is fairly transparent. As the Privacy Commissioner details, the tech is generally designed to “operate quietly in its environment.[12]” Therefore, this again raises some red flags as to who can view the information collected and for what purpose.

'Asking the Pertinent Questions'

Several Important Questions the Government is trying to regulate:

• Who is collecting personal information?
• How is information stored?
• How is information used?
• For what purpose was the information collected?
• Who can see the information?

The Government of Canada has introduced some form data protection law with the PIPEDA. This was initially done in 2000 for users to gain confidence in c-commerce, but as technology has grown incrementally in the past 16 years, it can be hard to believe it still fully protects information.


“The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)[13] is the federal privacy law for private-sector organizations. It sets out the ground rules for how businesses must handle personal information in the course of commercial activity.”

As described in the act, “PIPEDA requires private-sector organizations to collect, use or disclose your personal information by fair and lawful means[14]” along with this, it must only be done with your consent. The organizations must also destroy the information once it has completed its purpose, while also being able to securely hold the information in the first place. Similar to as the Government collects private information, individuals have the right to request to view all private information collected by private-organizations.

PIPEDA Principles

PIPEDA [15]also sets out principles of fair information practices, they are:
Accountability - Organizations should appoint someone to be responsible for privacy issues. They should make information about their privacy policies and procedures to available to customers.
Identifying purposes - Organization must identify the reasons for collecting your personal information before or at the time of collection.
Consent - Organizations should clearly inform you of the purposes for the collection, use or disclosure of personal information.
Limiting collection - Organizations should limit the amount and type of the information gathered to what is necessary.
Limiting use, disclosure and retention - In general, organizations should use or disclose your personal information only for the purpose for which it was collected, unless you consent. They should keep your personal information only as long as necessary.
Accuracy - Organizations should keep your personal information as accurate, complete and up to date as necessary.
Safeguards - Organizations need to protect your personal information against loss or theft by using appropriate security safeguards.
Openness - An organization’s privacy policies and practices must be understandable and easily available.
Individual access - Generally speaking, you have a right to access the personal information that an organization holds about you.
Recourse (Challenging compliance) - Organizations must develop simple and easily accessible complaint procedures. When you contact an organization about a privacy concern, you should be informed about avenues of recourse.

For more information, please visit:

Business on Privacy

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has made a guide available to complying with the PIPEDA[16]. This guide was created to aid organizations in complying with Canada’s data protection laws. Under the PIPEDA, “collection, use or disclosure of personal information in the course of a commercial activity” is protected. As the Internet of Things collects, compiles and analyzes information, it is extremely important for businesses to know the regulation. Before implementing any new data collection technology in a corporation, understanding the laws is important.

Identifying Personal Information

Personal information can be looked at as “any factual or subjective information, recorded or not, about an identifiable individual.[17]” With the IoT technology, it can be extremely hard to filter what information is collected and what is not.

Personal ID Guide

The guide[18] includes information in any form, such as:
• age, name, ID numbers, income, ethnic origin, or blood type;
• opinions, evaluations, comments, social status, or disciplinary actions; and employee files, credit records, loan records, medical records, existence of a dispute between a consumer and a merchant, intentions (for example, to acquire goods or services, or change jobs).

IoT User Policy

The Internet of Things has unlimited capabilities now and in the time to come. Private information of the average smartphone user could also be effected. Mobile devices such as the Apple iPhone are able to track and record long-term patterns of location, routes and times. In a recent update, many Apple users have begun to notice notifications advising them on current traffic, preferred routes and parked car locations. This may be alarming to some, but smartphones have the ability to track your location and record its pattern. Apple, on their “About privacy and Location Services in iOS 8 and later” webpage have provided the following information:

“With your permission, Location Services allows apps and websites (including Maps, Camera, Weather, and other apps) to use information from cellular1, Wi-Fi2, Global Positioning System (GPS)3 networks, and Bluetooth4 to determine your approximate location5”[19]

This may be alarming for some users, but Apple provides encryption technology to protect your information. Specifically, with regards to maps and location services, Apple uses its technology to separate data about where you’re going and how. Increasing the difficulty for anyone to gather the information and put it all together to figure out where you’re going. This is a prime example of IoT in your daily lives if you use a smartphone. The technology, when used right can be very beneficial, but it is also clear that without the right protection, it can be very dangerous.

Privacy in the Future

As products such as the June Intelligent Oven, the Samsung Smart Fridge and Kevin Plank’s Smart Shirt (where integrated medical reporting starts to become reality), there will be increased privacy issues as data collection grows more rapidly.

Collecting Data in the Kitchen

As the Intelligent Oven [20] uses its network to track excellent recipes, cook times and what meals you may like, it is still collecting data on its users and being extrapolated by June’s business. Vulnerability to privacy disclosures, infringement or data dumps can occur if information is not securely collected, analyzed and stored. Linking June’s information with identity can allow others to know what you’re eating. This is also similar to the Smart Fridge[21], a “thing” in the network of objects, which are interconnected. The Fridge’s features such as the camera also pose a similar risk if not collected and stored securely.

'Implications of Dietary Data'

By collecting the data through June’s Intelligent Oven the accuracies of your nutrition become analyzed and can be sold to grocery chains looking to get eating habits in particular areas or even go as far as to be sold to insurance companies who may be looking at increasing your monthly payments on your life insurance policy [22].

Collecting Data on the Body

"Kevin Plank on the Future of UA Wearables"


Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour describes a world with IoT and Medicare integration in a recent interview. Plank envisions a society with each individual holstering data on their daily physical activity, sleep, sickness etc. through sensors collected and made available to doctors through a simple t-shirt or wearable item. Enabling doctors to actually know what’s going on within the human body by measuring everything. Examining a data set showing the bodies full framework at different times of the day, week, month or year to find patterns.

'Implications of Health Data'

This technology, if implemented correctly could provide life saving results while also being an enormous privacy risk[2]. There are times in which individuals would rather not have some information easily available such as if they smoke, drink or have the occasional sweet tooth. This information could possibly create conflict between individuals and insurance companies, raising premiums.


Data Dependency

As IoT continues to evolve it is generating an unprecedented level of data flow which is already concerning as IoT devices are predicted to nearly triple over the next 10-15 years. With multiples at these forecasted rates it will increase the burden on the overall internet infrastructure. Resultantly finding solutions to solve this problem has led to the transition of data moving towards cloud computing. Cloud computing will not only support data storage but also play role in the interconnectivity between devices as that is vital to support the IoT infrastructure.

IoT vs. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing directs all forms of data received over the internet to data centers. IBM dissected cloud computing into six different categories: [3]
- Software as a Service (SaaS): Cloud-based applications typically ran through web browser owned by companies or people.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): Cloud houses all tools needed to build and deliver cloud-based applications. No requirement to maintain hardware, software or hosting.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Provides companies with storage, servers, networks and data centers.
- Public Cloud: Quick access on public networks owned by companies.
- Private Cloud: Limited access to the cloud.
- Hybrid Cloud: Uses private cloud features for public use.

IoT on the other hand focuses on interconnectivity between devices and both cloud computing and IoT will play a big role with data (3). Cloud computing will act as a pathway for all the accumulated IoT data to travel to its destination.

FOG Computing

As IoT does not have the capability to store data, perform analytics and teach its devices (machine learning) it will require the help of an external entity. Cloud computing servers can handle the traffic and volume of data however, these servers are located to far away from the device to perform on receiving data and respond in real-time. This is where Fog Computing comes in to play as it has the power to compute, store and respond, basically mimicking cloud computing but is positioned closer to where the data is generated [4]. Fog Computing has a decentralized architectural structure compared to a cloud which remains in one general hub.


One of the most popular cloud based platforms that supports IoT today is Amazon Web Services (AWS)[5]. With AWS, data centres are no longer needed and expenses are dramatically different due to the variable payment method (pay for what you use), which can really help ease developers onto the platform and integrate this technology with a variety of projects. For a growing industry this is a great incentivize as developers can achieve greater economies of scale.

Future Forecasts

With ever growing popularity in the market in an unpredictable future IoT remains as one of the sure industries that will impact all lifestyles whether that be for business or home.


The Internet of Everything is the connection of people, data, processes and things. IoE is predicted to grow to a $19 trillion [6] global opportunity over the next decade. Capturing this growth with almost 80% of the market share that is predicted to be created by private-sector firms and the remaining 20% [7] to be created by governments and other public-sector organizations. The mass impact with a technology of this magnitude really has been put into scale with these numbers as the world’s efficiency will surely rise causing a large demand in products created as a bi-product of this technology.

Growing Interconnectivity

Transitioning from what may seem monotonous in such a short period of time with the technology of connection between the computer and a cellular device now transitions our world into a multitude of interconnectivity with other daily used products. As technological breakthroughs continue to appear at such a rapid rate the idea of transforming this similar relationship that was formed between a computer and cellular device to new platforms seems highly realistic and to be produced shortly. The transitioning phase is already in place but at price points that may not suit the large demographic of the markets. However, as cloud computing storage centres start to be owned by large corporations it will reduce overall cost that the end user will have to pay.

Consumer awareness and consumer acceptance to these products should no longer be a driving factor that triggers push-backs or reduce production of IoT products as the key concept of having a more interconnected world is already accepted and adopted by consumers in today’s day and age.

Pricing the Interconnected World

As more and more technological breakthroughs are made in how to efficiently handle data traffic, analyze data, respond in real time through mechanical computations, and allow the device to learn more through it’s own machine to machine learning price points will be made more reasonable to not only the private sector but also the public consumer. Through different technologies like cloud computing and fog computing, solutions on data traffic will reduce overall costs for server space, devices and servers themselves which will result in reduced costs for consumers. Currently services like Amazon Web Services providing an IoT cloud computing server hosting platform at a variable cost (pay as you use) [8], this is creating for more entry to test out the field by more and more developers.

Day in the Life


- You are five weeks into being in a world where every device you touch is an IoT device that is interconnected
- The only device you held before this time was your smartphone and computer which are now both connected to your other devices.
- You have downloaded a set schedule of your whereabouts onto your smartphone


You’ve just been surprisingly woken by your alarm clock at 7:30AM on a Friday to attend your business lecture up at Simon Fraser Universities, Burnaby Campus which begins at 9:30AM. You didn’t set your alarm clock the night before but now your wondering how did your alarm clock know to wake you up today? Currently your movements on Fridays have become somewhat habitual as you have been following a set pattern every Friday, but that still doesn’t explain why the alarm went of 2 hours before your class starts. So if the alarm is going to set itself, it must need to know a couple things. The alarm must know some information about you, your behaviors and the other devices you use so that it can collect data.

The alarm must ask itself a couple of important questions like, does it even need to ring today? Does this person have anywhere to be? This is where the alarm clock will require the assistance of its IoT counterparts. The alarm will reach out to other connected devices to see if there is any schedule set, and what do you know, on your own smartphone you have entered in your schedule for Friday morning! Now your alarm clock understands that you need to be at Simon Fraser University by 9:30AM.

Now that your alarm clock knows when you have to be at your location, it works backwards to understand when it should ring its alarm. Your alarm then finds the distance from its current position and the location of where there is something scheduled. Your alarm comes to discover it takes roughly 58 minutes to drive to school or 1 hour and 45 minutes by bus. Now, your alarm clock must figure out what mode of transportation you are planning on taking and by communicating with nearby objects it has recognized the presence of your SmartCar and collected data on its driving schedule over the last 4 weeks. It turns out you have turned on your car and traveled to the same location at 8:20AM, 8:22AM, 8:28AM, and 8:25AM the last 4 Fridays. But now the alarm has to confirm it was you and it does so through uniquely identifying you through a common finger print scan. That same fingerprint that was used to push the snooze button on the alarm was the same fingerprint on the “push-to-start” button on the SmartCar. Nevertheless, you are not just going to just wake up jump into your car or hop into the bus and go, and your alarm clock understands that it must do more data analysis and machine-to-machine communication.

The best way for the alarm to distinguish the best time to wake you up is to work backwards from your car ignition, and follow your unique identity (in this case that is your fingerprint). Your alarm finds that right before you pushed the start button on your car, your finger print was scanned on your Smart door handle on your car door, garage door and home door all 1 minute apart. Before that, your alarm detected that you had actually used the SmartMicrowave and before that you had opened the SmartFridge. Now it must be noted, your SmartFridge could’ve been opened by many family members but it was the unique id, that traced the exact time you opened the SmartFridge. Before you opened the SmartFridge, the alarm detected you had put on a new UnderArmour Wearable Tech Pouch on your t-shirt, which you did after you were detected using the Smart Shower Handle and the Smart Toothbrush. It was at this point there was no further presence of your fingerprint on any other known devices to the Alarm.

The Alarm then tracked that the Smart Toothbrush was used on average over the last 4 weeks at times varying around 7:35 and 7:40. So to be safe the alarm decided to ring 5 minutes early at 7:30AM with the help of IoT.


Madhev Menon Jaspreet Rosodi
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada


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