Revisiting IoT definitions: A framework towards comprehensive use

Krista Sorri, Navonil Mustafee, Marko Seppänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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New technologies constantly change the paradigm of how businesses will be run in the future. The Internet of Things (IoT) enables new business opportunities for data-driven transformation in organisations. The emergence of the IoT concept has resulted in numerous definitions, with earlier references primarily focussed on the technological aspects. This has hindered the broader diffusion of the term IoT as, arguably, the definitions do not integrate other non-technological elements of IoT and focus more on business and service provisions. To resolve this, our research identifies the most significant building blocks required in designing an IoT system. This is accomplished through a methodological review of 122 definitions and their consolidation into a novel definitional framework. The definitional framework unifies the traditional technology focus of the earlier definitions and integrates additional elements that are likely to increase the adoption of a comprehensive definition to support the development of future business applications. Furthermore, the framework serves as a reference set for scholarly societies and standards organisations who, in the future, can be tasked with formulating a definition of IoT, as has been the case with the NIST definition of Cloud Computing, which was preceded by several academic studies on defining the term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121623
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Category
  • Definition
  • Framework
  • Internet of things
  • IoT
  • Literature review

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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