The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and the Internet. Using the iPhone as an analogy, disconnected third-party applications that are hosted in the cloud can be connected, and users can access all sorts of data from the device.
A thing, in the Internet of Things, can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low -- or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network. So far, the Internet of Things has been most closely associated with machine-to-machine (M2M) communication in manufacturing and power, oil and gas utilities. Products built with M2M communication capabilities are often referred to as being smart.
The true IoT is where different applications are deployed for specific reasons and the data collected from the machines and objects being monitored are made available to third-party applications. The expectation is that true IoT will provide more value than what can be derived from secluded islands of information
Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
The resources in the definition of Cloud to be limited to data centers, or for the list of Cloud resources to be exhaustive, for that matter. We could add, say, mobile phones, automobiles, factory equipment, and the proverbial fridge to the list, and as long as we have the convenient, on demand network access as well as the automated provisioning and de-provisioning, then this entire "Internet of Things" is part of the Cloud.
Since Cloud-Oriented Architecture (COA, natch) extends past the data center to the ubiquitous resources of the Internet of Things, we must expand our definition of resource beyond the list in the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) definition of Cloud Computing.
In COA, where we free the Cloud from the data center, anything we can give a Uniform Resource Indicator (URI) to can be a resource. And of course, with IPV6 we have plenty of IP addresses to go around, where anything might have one—and if a thing has an IP address, it can certainly have one (or more) URIs.
COA is really more about Hypermedia-Oriented Architecture (HOA) than ROA (Rest-Oriented Architecture). The point to assigning URIs to resources, after all, is to build distributed hypermedia applications, which are the point of REST. This is where we need to make a conceptual leap: while the traditional notion of a hypermedia app is a Web site, with COA, applications consist of hyperlinked resources of any type, from mobile apps to traffic signals.
For the IoT to work in data centers, platforms from competing vendors need to be able to communicate with one another. This requires standard APIs that all vendors and equipment can plug into, for both the systems interfaces as well as various devices.
Example, energy monitoring which might use closed, vendor-specific systems. We can create a secondary system to monitor heating and cooling and control energy use across multiple locations.
Creating a unified system which talks to multiple Vendor APIs and provides a single API to access, control and monitor all the systems from anywhere in the world, securely and ubiquitously is one of the goals of IoT.