Internet of Things (IoT) applications — whether for city infrastructures, factories, or wearable devices — use large arrays of sensors collecting data for transmission over the Internet to a central, cloud-based computing resource. Analytics software running on the cloud computers reduces the huge volumes of generated data into actionable information for users, and commands to actuators back out in the field.

Sensors are one key factor in IoT success, but these are not conventional types that simply convert physical variables into electrical signals. They have needed to evolve into something more sophisticated to perform a technically and economically viable role within the IoT environment.