The interconnection of physical devices with embedded sensing and communication possibilities, including sensors and actuators, is not new. However, in the Internet of Things, physical endpoints are connected through uniquely identifiable IP addresses; whereby data can be gathered and communicated via embedded electronics and software, additional connectivity technologies and the cloud, networks or IoT platforms.
Pretty much any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the internet and controlled that way.
A lightbulb that can be switched on using a smartphone app is an IoT device, as is a motion sensor or a smart thermostat in your office or a connected streetlight. An IoT device could be as fluffy as a child's toy or as serious as a driverless truck, or as complicated as a jet engine that's now filled with thousands of sensors collecting and transmitting data. At an even bigger scale, smart cities projects are filling entire regions with sensors to help us understand and control the environment.