Searching for the Internet of Things: Where It Is and What It Looks Like

Yongrui Qin, Ali Shemshadi, Quan Z. Sheng, Aixin Sun, Wei Emma Zhang, Lina Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The Internet of Things (IoT), in general, is a compelling paradigm that aims to connect everyday objects to the Internet. Nowadays, IoT is considered as one of the main technologies which contribute towards reshaping our daily lives in the next decade. IoT unlocks many exciting new opportunities in a variety of applications in research and industry domains. However, many have complained about the absence of the real-world IoT data. Unsurprisingly, a common question that arises regularly nowadays is “Does the IoT already exist?”. So far, little has been known about the real-world situation on IoT, its attributes, the presentation of data, and user interests. To answer this question, in this work, we conduct an in-depth analytical investigation on real IoT data. More specifically, we identify IoT data sources over the Web and develop a crawler engine to collect large-scale real-world IoT data for the first time. We make the results of our work available to the public in order to assist the community in the future research. In particular, we collect the data of nearly two million Internet connected objects and study trends in IoT using a real-world query set from an IoT search engine. Based on the collected data and our analysis, we identify the typical characteristics of IoT data. The most intriguing finding of our study is that IoT data is mainly disseminated using Web Mapping while the emerging IoT solutions such as the Web of Things are currently not well adopted. On top of our findings, we further discuss future challenges and open research problems in the IoT area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1112
Number of pages16
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Issue number6
Early online date4 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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