What Is the Internet of Everything? Meaning, Examples, and Uses


Internet of Everything (IoE) is defined as a network of connections between people, things, data, and processes that provide general intelligence and improved cognition across the networked environment. This article explains the fundamentals of the internet of everything, its examples, and its applications.

What Is the Internet of Everything?

Internet of Everything (IoE) refers to a network of connections between people, things, data, and processes that provide general intelligence and improved cognition across the networked environment. IoE is a cohesive system that enhances the capabilities of the participating entities and brings in network intelligence to facilitate smarter-decision making and easy data exchange.

With IoE, any ordinary object can be equipped with digital features. As such, internet connections are not limited to laptops or smartphones but are extended to real-time objects, people, and activities. It creates a distributed ecosystem capable of generating valuable information and turning it into actions for businesses, industries, and individuals. 

Fundamentally, IoE is an interconnected system of objects, devices, appliances, and machines where all contributing units are fitted with sensors that expand networking capabilities. Moreover, these units are connected over a public or private network that uses TCP/IP protocols.

Key features of IoE

Let’s understand the key features of IoE:

1. Decentralized data processing

In an IoE environment, data is not processed in a single system or center but in a decentralized manner where several distributed nodes play a key role.

2. Data input / output

As IoE refers to a networked environment, devices can use external data as input and exchange it with other network components as and when required.

3. Interconnection with other technologies

IoE works in sync with other technologies such as AI, ML, IoT, big data, cloud, fog, and edge computing. Moreover, advancements in IoE are interconnected to these technologies that companies use for digital transformation processes.

IoE elements

IoE has four key features: people, things, data, and process. Let’s understand each one in detail:

Elements of IoE

1. People

People in the IoE environment are connected to the internet through smartphones, tablets, computers, and fitness trackers. Data is generated when users interact with these devices, social networks, websites, and applications. Moreover, skin sensors, smart tattoos, and smart clothes also generate data that provide crucial personal insights into the people using them. Thus, people act as a node on the IoE-enabled network, which helps businesses solve critical matters or make decisions by understanding ‘human issues’.

For example, the wearable fitness bands of various companies such as Nike, Fitbit, Samsung, etc., along with smart sports apparel and gear, have chips that collect vital user data to track their key health parameters. Such data is used by businesses to promote relevant offers or products to users.

2. Things

Things refer to physical items such as devices, consumer products, gadgets, enterprise machines, or assets implanted with sensors and actuators to communicate across the network. These devices generate their data and also fetch information from their surroundings. This makes things more context-aware, intelligent, and cognitive. Internet of things is a term used to refer to such physical things.

According to a May 2022 report by IoT Analytics, global IoT connections in 2021 were around 12.2 billion. This number is expected to rise in 2022, estimated at approximately 14.4 billion connections. These devices are expected to generate their data and send it to servers for analysis, which can help make intelligent business decisions.

3. Data

Each device under IoE generates raw data. Such data from standalone devices is of no real value. However, when this data is collected from all devices, analyzed, classified, and summarized, it becomes processed data. This processed data is of immense importance as one can use the information to control several IoE systems and empower them.

Thus, IoE-connected devices regularly send their respective data to servers for data analysis, evaluation, and processing. The processed data provides insightful information about the various IoE systems, helping businesses.

4. Processes

Several industries use artificial intelligence, machine learningOpens a new window , or IoT-based processes to analyze the data generated by the IoE network. These processes ensure that the correct information is relayed to the right destination across the network. It allows businesses to advance their workflows and fine-tune their strategies to leverage data faster than their competitors. As a result, technology-based processes speed up the decision-making process for businesses.

Key differences between Internet of Everything and Internet of Things

Although IoE and IoT are interrelated, subtle differences exist between the two. Let’s understand how the two differ:

Internet of everything adds network intelligence to people, things, data, and processes. It is an extension or superset of the internet of things (IoT). IoE has two components: ‘internet,’ which is essential for network connectivity, and ‘everything,’ which refers to four elements of IoE.

On the other hand, the internet of things is primarily about the interconnection between physical objects capable of sending and receiving data. IoT has two components: ‘internet’, which denotes connectivity, and ‘things’, referring to physical devices.

Serial No. Characteristics Internet of Everything (IoE) Internet of Things (IoT)
1. Term coined by? CISCO coined the term IoE. During his tenure at Procter & Gamble in 1999, Kevin Ashton coined the term IoT.
2. Definition IoE is the intelligent network connection between four elements: people, things, data, and process. IoT is about physical devices that communicate without human intervention.
3. Goal IoE has four primary goals: collect data and convert that data into actions, facilitate data-based decisions, enhance the capabilities of participating units, and provide advanced networking opportunities. IoT aims to develop an ecosystem where physical objects are connected to each other.
4. Communication IoE facilitates machine-to-machine (M2M), machine-to-people (M2P), and people-to-people (P2P using tech) communication. IoT supports machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.
5. Hierarchy IoE is a superset that gives IoT a bigger picture. IoT is a subset or a part of IoE.
6. Examples Smart city environments, smart supply chains, and fitness bands that use heartbeats to pay health insurance premiums. Home surveillance systems, autonomous irrigation systems, connected home appliances, and smart energy grids.

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Examples of Internet of Everything

IoE has the potential to serve different fields. Owing to its reliability, robustness, utility, and all-around connectivity, several industry verticals are adopting IoE to speed up their daily operations.

Let’s look at some of the use cases and real-life examples of IoE:

1. Manufacturing sector

In the manufacturing sector, IoE is enabled by deploying sensors across production machinery and equipment. These sensors help detect physical damage (breakdown, erosion) in the machinery and calculate the monetary loss due to the damage. The sensors can send prior notifications and help companies in preemptive repairs where a decision can be taken on the maintenance of the equipment before the situation gets critical.

One can thereby predict the life of any equipment as IoE-based sensors continuously monitor the equipment parts. Moreover, early notifications significantly reduce equipment downtime and repair costs.

For example, companies such as General Motors and Dundee Precious Metals faced problems that hampered their manufacturing capacity. Specifically, Dundee needed to employ automation for mining operations to improve product quality and ensure miners’ safety. On the other hand, General Motors faced the challenge of enhancing product quality without incurring a monetary loss.

Both companies integrated IoE into their framework, intending to find solutions to their problems. With IoE implementation, Dundee was able to enhance the quality of its products along with the safety of its miners. Similarly, General Motors could reduce its money inflow into the production process with the help of IoE and achieve improved product quality.

2. Public sector

When it comes to the public sector, medical services have successfully exploited IoE for their benefit. For example, the Miami Children’s Hospital has been using IoE in its daily operations for a while now. IoE enables medical professionals to provide medical services at a faster pace. This includes generating medical reports, getting real-time updates on a patient’s health, or keeping track of a patient’s response to certain medications.

Moreover, IoE brought TelePresence to light in recent times. With such a facility, medical staff and doctors can offer easy consultations, conduct regular rounds, and do checkups without being physically present with the patient. This has several advantages. Primarily, it saves time for a doctor while attending to a patient. The doctor can carry out his tasks instantly from any physical location. It may prove even more helpful when the doctor has to save the life of a patient in a critical condition since the time to reach the patient’s location is brought down to zero with IoE-enabled TelePresence.

3. Wearable devices

Different wearable devices such as fitness bands, smart watches, smart clothing, shoes, etc., can offer IoE benefits to people using their products. For example, in 2019, self-lacing shoes were introduced by Nike. These shoes had sensors that could sense the wearer’s blood pressure in real-time and loosen or tighten the laces on their own, based on the detected blood pressure.

4. Municipality systems

Municipality systems can deploy smart meters to check residents’ and commercial units’ electricity and water usage. Such meters would allow municipalities to track consumption and decide whether to impose or cut additional costs on certain consumers based on dynamic usage patterns.

For example, Tel-Aviv municipality in Israel has deployed a water monitoring system that uses camera chips placed in water pipes. Cisco designs these chips to transmit data from the pipes to the cloud and help control leaks, drains, and water pressure. This IoE-enabled technology reduces regular maintenance costs and sends warnings before any possibility of water shortage.

5. Retail industry

Today, the retail industry has a great online presence, be it in any form–an independent website, mobile application, or social media handle. Most retail businesses are already using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to understand consumers’ preferences and choices and offer products that align with their needs.

However, IoE goes a step further. For example, consider a user who goes to the supermarket to purchase some baby products and a few dairy products. All his activities are being tracked by the wearable device that he uses. As the user continues to use the products, he can keep track of all the products and know which one deteriorates faster. It allows him to choose better quality products or brands the next time he visits the supermarket.

6. Logistics industry

Several logistics, supply chain, and delivery companies, such as UPS, Johnson & Johnson, etc., are already using IoE to optimize their delivery operations. Blockchain-based technologies, sensors, and smart devices on trucks and ships are widely used. These sensors can track shipments, determine delivery times, and compile shipment costs based on the respective routes. Such technology gives companies and consumers real-time updates on their delivery items, promoting end-user satisfaction.

These are only a few use cases of IoE; practically every industry significantly benefits from the IoE model.

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Applications of the Internet of Everything

The internet of everything, as a concept, has a variety of applications and has been implemented in several applications.

Let’s have a look at the key application fields of IoE:

1. Environment monitoring

IoE uses a network of sensors to track and collect weather data across seasons. Weather data includes temperature, humidity, wind speed, rainfall, pressure, air quality, soil conditions, water level, etc. Upon collecting these weather parameters, the data is analyzed and processed to record the happenings and changes in the surrounding conditions. It helps in identifying anomalies in real time and allows people to take immediate action before the weather disrupts their activities.

Smart environmental data is further communicated to other applications, such as,

  • Air traffic management
  • Farmers, for agricultural practices
  • Industries, as they need to know the impact their plant has on the environment while ensuring regulatory compliance and worker safety

A network of all these applications constitutes an IoE ecosystem.

2. Smart cities

IoE solutions drive a typical smart city model. The goal of a smart city is to improve the quality of life of its citizens, propel economic growth, and organize processes to facilitate the smooth functioning of cities.

Technologies such as automation, AI, machine learning, and IoT are combined together for a variety of applications such as smart parking systems that aid drivers in managing their parking space and enabling digital payment. Other applications such as smart traffic management help in controlling traffic flow to reduce congestion.

With regards to energy conservation, smart cities use streetlights that reduce their luminosity level when there is no traffic on the road. This helps in the maintenance and optimization of power supplies. Thus, such smart grids work in sync with traffic management systems, thereby establishing a larger IoE network in cities.

Networks are a step-up in cities to fight climate change. Various sensors and systems are installed to track air, water, noise, and light pollution.

Concerning smart waste management, dustbins and trash collecting units are internet-enabled to manage waste better. Moreover, concerning the safety of city dwellers, sensors are planted at specific locations that give an early warning for incidents such as earthquakes, floods, or landslides.

All such systems are interconnected to form one hybrid IoE network in the smart city environment to manage city life better. Singapore and Oslo are among the world’s best smart cities that employ such IoE systems.

3. Energy sector

The application of IoE in the smart energy sector includes monitoring energy consumption by industries, communities, and individual households. IoE networks process the data collected from energy production sources, including renewable and non-renewable ones such as solar, wind, and thermal.

Smart meters are deployed for efficient energy management. Various features are provided to the users of these smart meters. These include instant bill generation for the consumed energy units, an option to show changes in the tariff, an interface showing stats related to the supplied and consumed energy, and a visual alert to show an identified anomaly in the energy system.

Such smart meters help in determining the energy consumption of a locality or city. Administrative bodies and government agencies can use this data to regulate and channel the energy demand and supply. They can also make intelligent decisions on policies relating to the cost/unit of energy.

4. Smart water management

Water management deals with an array of issues, including administration, managing environmental resources in the ecosystem, and maintaining environmental balance and stability.

IoE solutions ease the handling of real-time processes such as monitoring water supply, determining whether the water is fit for consumption, managing water storage systems, tracking water consumption by end consumers (organizations and individuals), and calculating the cost of water supply to remotely-located commercial units.

5. Smart apartments

Smart apartments in smart buildings have several household appliances and devices that are a part of the IoE network. These include refrigerators, thermostats, air-conditioning, televisions, washing machines, cookers, etc., that generate raw data. Data from each device is combined, analyzed, and processed to enable informed decisions on their usage.

Users can also control appliances through a device, a type of IoE solution for the user. The user can remotely control the use of utilities such as light bulbs & thermostats and manage home security by controlling surveillance cameras, burglar alarms, etc.

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IoE is an advanced version of IoT and is not limited to physical devices but extends to people, things, data, and processes as well. According to the April 2022 report by Future Market Insights, the global IoE market stands at $1,074.1 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $3,335.1 billion by the end of 2030.

Looking at this trend, it will be interesting to watch how the IoE economy creates new business opportunities and transforms the healthcare, retail, transportation, education, manufacturing, commerce, and other sectors, globally.

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