What is Internet of Things?



Benjamin Fisher

Everything from how we travel and buys to how manufacturers manage inventory is currently being discussed in terms of the Internet of Things definition (IoT). But what is the Internet of Things? How does it all go down, exactly? And is it really that important?

The Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm has long been considered a key incentive to the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the potential to transform the way we live our lives. Yet its impact promises to be enhanced further through the integration of nanotechnology.

Connected physical objects are equipped with sensors and other technologies to enable data sharing via the internet in the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s estimated that by 2025 there will be 75 billion IoT-connected devices, generating tens of zettabytes of data, if not hundreds of zettabytes, of created data.

Related reading: Top 12 IoT Trends and predictions to look out in 2022

Because of the advancements in the internet of things protocols and enabling technology (such as cloud computing and big data analytics), it is now possible to make such bold predictions. Endpoint devices, such as sensors, and the next piece of hardware in the linked environment can communicate data thanks to these protocols. A wide range of technologies is available: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and NFC for short distances, and LPWA and 5G for long distances.

The incorporation of nanotechnology is one of the most intriguing advancements. The Internet of Nano-Things (IoNT) is a new IoT technology derivative that promises to extend the IoT concept to its maximum potential through nanodevices (IoNT).


For IoT devices, the exceptional features of nanoparticles can be used to boost the devices’ functionality, efficiency, and accuracy, while lowering their size. Among the many Internet of things (IoT) nanodevices currently in use or being developed, nanoantennas are the most widely used. Nano processors and batteries also figure prominently.


Nano Sensors for the Internet of Things (IoT) must be able to detect specific phenomena in the settings they operate in. In order to accomplish this, nanosensors employ a wide spectrum of nanomaterials and may measure physical, chemical, and biological properties.

Using a flexible nanowire-based sensor, Tang et al. (2019) were able to track the concentration of ammonia (NH3) in real-time. Due to the nanowires’ high surface area to volume ratio, the sensor had a lower detection limit and a faster response time compared to typical NH3 sensors.

Soft lithography fabrication can be scaled up and uses a low power consumption (as low as 3W) to further support the idea that nanomaterials can be used to improve IoT sensors.

Non-invasive biosensors for continuous blood glucose monitoring and chemical, microbial, and other analyte monitoring in drinking water have shown similar nano-based advantages.


A variety of wave types are used by Nanoantennas Internet of Things (IoT) antennas to broadcast and receive data from connected IoT technology devices. The terahertz frequency band is where nanoantennas, mainly made of graphene, predominantly perform this role.

Since carbon nanotubes can sense and transmit, they’re smaller than typical antennas and can even be combined with nanosensors.

Another potential nano-based advantage could be found in the manufacturing process. It is now possible to turn any object into a smart internet of things device in a single step by spraying a titanium carbide nanoantenna right onto it. This eliminates the need to add additional weight or electronics.

Related reading: How IoT is transforming the Healthcare Industry


It is imperative that an internet of things (IoT) processor execute appropriate computations on the data it receives from IoT technology endpoints. They are built mostly of silicon and contain millions, if not billions, of transistors that work as binary switches within collections of gates that simulate logic functions.

The first programmable carbon nanotube processor was developed only a few years ago in 2019 by an MIT team of engineers. Carbon nanotubes may not be able to realize their full potential for many more years due to the limited number of transistors in this system.


Because of the high energy density and extended life expectancy of rechargeable batteries, a wireless system of smart devices requires a large amount of power. Currently, the most popular battery type is lithium-ion.

Using nanoparticles to reduce self-discharge rates, enhance energy density, and reduce charging periods is a key feature of nanobatteries.

To this end, Soliman et al. (2021) discovered that the nanomaterials lithium titanate oxide and germanium nanoparticles have all been successfully used.

IoT for Nano-Things

The Internet of Nano-Things is thought to be born if all or some of these nanodevices are incorporated into the existing internet of things idea. However, despite the fact that it is often referred to as merely a nanoscale version of the IoT, the IoNT has considerably more ramifications than the basic differentiation suggests.

A new level of sophistication in the internet of things paradigm is possible because of the advantages of nanodevices such as higher sensitivity of nanosensors or increased energy density of nanobatteries.

NT and IoT Issues and Solutions

While there are many benefits to using sensors, privacy and security issues are major roadblocks to wider use. Confidence in IoT and IoNT will not be gained until appropriate encryption, cyber security procedures, and authentication are in place.

Concerns about power supply arise when there are so many sensors, especially when present battery technology relies so heavily on lithium.

In order to meet anticipated IoT and IoNT battery demands, Arm, a UK chipmaker, estimates that the annual global lithium production will have to be tripled.

Related reading: Emerging IoT Technologies

IoNT and IoT Future Research

Extensive research is already ongoing to overcome the remaining issues facing the IoT and IoNT. There is a wide range of research to be done in the future, ranging from multi-layer blockchain security models to graphene-based switched-beam nanoantennas.

Sensor and nanosensor power supply may have found a solution in energy harvesting, where external energy is obtained and then turned into useful electrical energy.

Nanotechnology is once again anticipated to play a major role in this solution’s future. It has been shown that, among other examples, nanowires in piezoelectric nanogenerators and quantum dots in thermoelectric generators might completely replace IoT and IoNT endpoint batteries, allowing for the huge acceptance of the technology while being environmentally and economically sustainable.

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