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Unfortunately, being somewhat of a buzzword, the Internet of Things is subject to nebulous definitions (including this definition), and honestly, until the field matures, standards are created, and opinions converge, we will likely need to tolerate some ambiguity in the meantime. However, I propose any IoT device should meet the following criteria:

  • It must have a connection to an internet (either the Internet, or a local intranet), either directly (via WiFi or Ethernet) or via a proxy device (eg. mobile phone). Therefore, questions about a Raspbery Pi in general would be off topic, but questions about a project involving a Raspberry Pi connected to the Internet might be on topic.
  • It must have a physical component. After all, it is the Internet of Things.
  • It must have the ability to be communicated with from a remote location. (i.e. bi-directional communication is necessary)
  • It must be a stand-alone device. Therefore, while a Ford assembly plant is both connected to the Internet and consists of physical components, it is not an IoT device, but rather a connected system.

My post is essentially an expansion of this definition:

Internet of Things device: Any stand-alone internet-connected device that can be monitored and/or controlled from a remote location.

It is also intentionally broad as I believe the term currently connotes many different devices. While we could make the term more specific to this site, I believe we would stray from popular opinion and introduce confusion.