Wireless • Last Updated 2/26/2024

IoT explained: the 2024 IoT guide

IoT, short for the internet of things, is a collection of internet connected devices capable of collecting and transmitting data.


By Emily Bowen

IoT, or the Internet of Things, is all about making our stuff smarter by connecting it to the internet. Think of your coffee maker communicating with your alarm clock to have your coffee ready when you wake up. Or factories using smart sensors to save energy and cut costs. But more than just cool tech, IoT is changing how we live, work, and even tackle problems like climate change or health care.

For businesses, using IoT means doing things more efficiently and saving money. For individuals, IoT can make our lives a bit easier or more convenient. And for the world, IoT helps us find new ways to solve tough challenges. So, understanding this technology is important if you want to keep up with how it’s shaping our world.

Knowing how IoT works can help businesses optimize operations, enable people to live more efficient lives and contribute to solving complex societal issues through enhanced data collection and analysis. Whether you're a professional looking to innovate in your field or simply curious about how technology is evolving, grasping the fundamentals of IoT is essential.

This blog post will guide you through the essentials of IoT, from its definition and how it operates to the IoT connectivity technology that powers it and the real-world applications that demonstrate its value. By the end, you'll have a solid understanding of the Internet of Things and how it connects and enhances our world in myriad ways.

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of physical objects embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet. These objects can range from ordinary household items to sophisticated industrial tools, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and economic benefit.

How does IoT work?

At its core, IoT operates on a simple principle: Devices gather and transmit data on their usage and the surrounding environment. This data provides valuable insights we can use to improve and automate processes.

IoT operates on a multi-layered architecture to achieve these outcomes, enabling seamless communication between physical objects and digital networks. Through this framework, IoT devices can communicate with each other and with centralized management systems, offering actionable insights and enhanced control over various environments. Let’s explore some of the main components of IoT architecture:

Sensors and devices

At the core of IoT are sensors and devices—the physical components responsible for collecting data from the environment. These elements range widely in function and design, from temperature sensors in industrial settings to wearable gadgets that monitor physiological parameters. Each sensor is specialized to collect particular types of data, which are then relayed across the network for subsequent processing.

Explore real examples of IoT devices and their practical applications.


Connectivity is the critical link that allows IoT devices to send data to cloud analytics platforms or communicate with other devices. This function relies on various technologies, including Wi-Fi, cellular networks, and Bluetooth, to provide efficient and dependable data transmission.

Understanding connectivity technologies

Different IoT projects require different types of connectivity to ensure devices can communicate reliably. For example, Wi-Fi is commonly used in home IoT applications for its high speed and range, while cellular networks are preferred for their extensive coverage, supporting devices that are mobile or located in remote areas. Low-power wide area networks (LPWAN) offer another option, providing long-range communication at a lower power consumption, ideal for sensors that only need to send small amounts of data over long distances.

Set up your IoT backend with our guide to connectivity best practices.

Selecting the right SIM form factor

The choice of SIM card is crucial for the design and connectivity of IoT devices. Options range from traditional, micro, and nano SIMs to embedded SIMs (eSIMs), each designed for specific device requirements. This decision affects the device's size and design and its ability to connect seamlessly. Choosing the right SIM form factor is a key step in developing IoT devices that are both functional and efficient.

Get more details on SIM form factors and choose the best SIM form factor for your IoT device.

Embedded MFF2 vs. traditional SIM cards

Choosing between an Embedded MFF2 SIM and traditional SIM cards is an important decision in IoT device development. This choice influences the device's design, durability, and flexibility in network connectivity. Embedded MFF2 SIMs offer a compact, tamper-resistant solution ideal for devices in harsh environments, while traditional SIMs provide the flexibility to change networks or plans as needed.

Learn about the advantages of Embedded MFF2 versus traditional SIM cards and how to make the right choice for your IoT project.

Data processing

Data processing is where the magic happens in IoT. After devices collect data, it's sent through the network to be processed and analyzed. This processing and analysis can happen in the cloud or directly on the devices through edge computing. The goal is to turn raw data into useful insights that can automate processes or help with decision-making. For example, a smart thermostat learns your schedule to adjust the temperature automatically, saving energy and money.

User interface

The user interface (UI) is your gateway to the IoT world. It's how you interact with the IoT system, whether through a dashboard that shows data analytics, notifications on your smartphone, or commands you send to your devices. The UI makes the benefits of IoT tangible, allowing you to see and act on the information your devices collect. From controlling smart home devices with a few taps on your phone to receiving alerts when your business's IoT sensors detect inefficiencies, the UI brings the power of IoT to your fingertips.

Integrating IoT technologies can significantly enhance operational efficiencies and personal convenience. Next, we’ll look at how you can apply IoT devices in your business and personal life.

Talk to a Telnyx expert to construct and deploy an IoT device connectivity system that suits your needs and scales with you.

Examples of IoT devices in action

IoT devices have many versatile applications, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing operational processes.

PoS systems

Point of sale (PoS) systems equipped with IoT technology do more than just process payments at a terminal. They unlock valuable insights into customer behavior, inventory management, and sales trends, empowering businesses to make data-driven decisions.

Examples of how IoT powers PoS systems:

  • In retail stores, IoT simplifies checkout processes, manages inventory in real-time, and analyzes customer purchase patterns to tailor marketing strategies.
  • In restaurants, IoT improves order accuracy, facilitates tableside payments, and monitors inventory levels for efficient kitchen management.
  • In event venues, IoT allows mobile ordering and payments to reduce queues and leverage sales data for event planning and inventory control.


Wearables, including fitness trackers and smartwatches, are versatile IoT devices that go beyond monitoring health metrics. They offer a wide range of functions such as enhancing connectivity, facilitating mobile payments, providing navigation assistance, controlling smart home devices, and enabling virtual and augmented reality experiences.

Examples of IoT wearables:

  • Fitness trackers track daily activity, heart rate, and sleep patterns, offering insights for personal health improvement.
  • Smartwatches provide notifications, track fitness activities, and even manage smart home devices, all from your wrist.
  • Health monitors specialized wearables monitor specific health conditions, alerting users and doctors to potential health issues.


IoT devices play a role in sustainability efforts by optimizing resource management and contributing to environmental conservation.

Here are a few examples of how IoT devices enable sustainability initiatives:

  • Smart meters monitor and manage energy, water, and gas usage in homes and buildings to reduce waste.
  • Agricultural sensors control water usage and optimize fertilization, improving crop yields with fewer resources.
  • Building automation automates lighting, heating, and cooling systems for energy efficiency.

Traffic monitoring

IoT devices provide innovative solutions for traffic monitoring, enhancing road safety and efficiency in urban environments.

Examples of IoT traffic monitoring devices:

  • Smart traffic lights adjust traffic signals based on real-time traffic conditions to ease congestion.
  • Vehicle tracking systems offer real-time data on public transportation vehicles to improve route planning and passenger information.
  • Parking solutions guide drivers to available parking spaces, reducing time spent searching and associated emissions.

Smart agriculture

Smart agriculture leverages IoT to increase efficiency and sustainability in farming practices.

Examples of IoT-powered devices used in smart agriculture:

  • Soil moisture sensors automate irrigation to apply water precisely when and where it's needed.
  • Agricultural drones provide aerial imagery for crop monitoring, planting, and irrigation planning.
  • Livestock monitoring tracks health and location, optimizing herd management and health care.

Asset tracking

IoT enhances asset tracking, offering businesses real-time visibility into the whereabouts and condition of their assets.

Examples of how IoT devices are used to improve asset tracking:

  • Logistics and supply chain: Track goods throughout the supply chain for improved logistics management.
  • Equipment monitoring: Monitor the condition and usage of machinery to optimize maintenance schedules.
  • Personal item tracking: Locate personal belongings like keys or wallets through IoT-enabled devices.

Security solutions

IoT technology allows for advanced security solutions, offering increased surveillance and access control systems for enhanced safety.

Examples of IoT devices for security solutions include:

  • Smart cameras: Provide real-time surveillance with motion detection, facial recognition, and alerting capabilities.
  • Intelligent locks: Control and monitor building access remotely, enhancing security and convenience.
  • Alarm systems: Detect unauthorized entry, fire, or other hazards, immediately notifying property owners or authorities.

These real-world examples illustrate the diverse potential of IoT technology across various sectors. Now that you’ve seen how IoT works, let’s dive into its benefits.

Benefits of IoT

IoT enhances our daily lives and efficiency, affecting personal convenience and macroeconomic performance. Over 50% of North American and European organizations use IoT within their operations, and 41% of American homes have at least one smart home device. Here are some specific benefits we see as a result:

Efficiency and productivity

IoT boosts efficiency and productivity by automating and optimizing tasks. Smart homes control energy use, matching homeowners' habits to cut waste and improve comfort. In industry, IoT streamlines operations with real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, and inventory automation, increasing production and operational smoothness.

Cost reduction

IoT offers significant cost savings through predictive maintenance, preventing downtime and machinery wear by monitoring equipment health. It also reduces resource consumption in agriculture through precision farming and in buildings through energy-efficient systems, lowering expenses across sectors.

Safety and security

IoT improves safety and security, offering real-time monitoring to prevent accidents and protect health, such as wearable devices for health monitoring and IoT systems in industries to ensure safety compliance. It also secures assets through integrated surveillance and access controls, offering immediate alerts and improved protection.

Overall, IoT makes environments more efficient, affordable, and safe, with its impact expected to increase as it becomes more embedded in our lives and industries.

Telnyx IoT SIMs offer flexible, seamless data coverage in 180+ countries on 650+ networks, with a portal and APIs to manage SIMs over the air. Sign up today to start building.

The impact of IoT on industries

IoT solutions enable new business models, enhance efficiency, and create better customer experiences across industries.


IoT makes agriculture more sustainable and productive through precision farming techniques that optimize resource use and increase crop yields.

Telnyx customers see a 20% increase in profit through effective yield management with IoT. They save 1000kwh per hectare per year using IoT-controlled environmental systems. And they reduce water usage by 30% with precision agriculture.


In healthcare, IoT devices are revolutionizing patient care through remote monitoring, personalized treatment plans, and improved management of chronic conditions, leading to better health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.

Transportation and logistics

In transportation and logistics, IoT is improving efficiency and reliability through fleet management solutions, route optimization, telematics, and real-time tracking of goods, reducing operational costs and improving delivery times.

Fleet vehicles using telematics—powered by IoT—experience 20–25% fewer collisions. Changing driver behavior through real-time tracking can reduce annual fuel costs by up to 30%. Using IoT to back gamification strategies can reduce dangerous driving behaviors by up to 34%.


The retail industry is leveraging IoT to enhance customer experiences through personalized marketing, efficient inventory management, and seamless omnichannel services, driving sales and customer loyalty.

But even though these industries (and many others) see tangible positive impacts from IoT, IoT isn’t a perfect solution.

Challenges of IoT

Despite its potential, IoT faces several challenges that need to be addressed to realize its full benefits.

Coverage and redundancy

One major challenge is ensuring continuous connectivity—especially in remote locations—and providing built-in redundancy. Redundancy means networks can switch between multiple carriers to prevent downtime, ensuring critical applications always stay online. Such connectivity and redundancy are vital for real-time applications that rely on constant data flow for decision-making and operations.

Security and privacy

With IoT devices collecting and transmitting large amounts of data, there's a heightened need for strong security measures and privacy protections to prevent unauthorized access and protect sensitive information.

Using a private LTE network is one of the best ways to secure your IoT devices. Learn more about IoT security standards and their capabilities.

Interoperability and standards

The absence of common deployment standards across different IoT platforms makes it difficult for systems to work together seamlessly. Achieving interoperability is essential for the scalable and efficient deployment of IoT solutions. The best way to ensure interoperability is to talk to a knowledgeable IoT solution provider about their product.

Data management and analytics

Managing the vast data from IoT devices requires sophisticated analytics and the right data storage solutions. Choosing the optimal storage tailored to your needs is crucial for efficiently harnessing this data, ensuring its security, and making it accessible for analysis.

There are many types of data storage options. Find the optimal storage solution for your needs.

If you want an effective and secure implementation of IoT technologies, it’s important to read up on the challenges you may encounter and the trends you’ll see in the future.

As IoT technology evolves, several trends are shaping its future, offering new opportunities and challenges.


eSIMs are gaining popularity in IoT for their ability to switch networks without physical SIM cards, offering flexibility and reducing logistical challenges. This trend will facilitate global IoT deployments, simplifying connectivity management across regions and networks, thereby enhancing international applications like supply chain monitoring.


AI's integration into IoT is propelled by the vast data IoT devices generate, requiring real-time, accurate analysis. AI will expand the capabilities of IoT, enabling more autonomous systems and revolutionizing predictive maintenance and personalized customer experiences through advanced data analysis.

AI and machine learning (ML) make it possible to embed your stored data easily for fast inference.

Edge connectivity

The shift toward edge connectivity addresses the need for reduced latency and secure data processing by handling data closer to its source. This innovation will lead to more responsive IoT applications—crucial for autonomous vehicles and smart city technologies—by enabling faster decision-making and reducing data exposure risks.

Edge computing helps organizations process and store data quickly and locally. Learn about the edge, its benefits, and use cases to see if it’s worth integrating into your IoT deployment.

Wearable tech

Advances in technology have expanded wearable tech, driven by consumer interest in health and wellness. This trend will integrate wearables more deeply into healthcare, offering earlier health issue detection and personalized care, and will also explore new applications like augmented reality.

Companies like COSMO are pioneering intuitive communication via smartwatches, allowing even young children to stay connected and secure.

Smart homes

Consumer desires for convenience, security, and energy efficiency are pushing smart home technology forward. Future smart homes will be more integrated and autonomous, predicting and responding to residents' needs, leading to enhanced security, convenience, and energy conservation.

Supply chain resilience

Recent disruptions have spotlighted the need for resilient supply chains, with IoT providing essential real-time visibility and control. Improved supply chain resilience will allow companies to respond swiftly to disruptions, optimize logistics, and predict risks more accurately, creating more adaptable supply chains.

With all these IoT trends gaining ground, it’s important to partner with an IoT provider that can set you up for success both now and in the future.

Ready to take your IoT projects to the next level? Contact our team to explore our eSIM technology, AI integration, and edge connectivity solutions that can transform your business.

Choosing an IoT provider

Selecting the right IoT provider is crucial for the success of your IoT projects. It impacts your initial deployment and your IoT solutions' long-term viability, cost, and scalability.

Factors to consider

When choosing an IoT provider, you should consider several key factors to ensure your needs are fully met.


Coverage determines where your IoT devices can connect and operate. A provider with extensive global coverage ensures your devices stay connected, regardless of location. This level of coverage is crucial for applications that require mobility or are spread across different geographical areas.


Cost is always a significant consideration, as it affects your IoT projects' overall budget and ROI. Look for a provider that offers competitive pricing without compromising on service quality or features to keep your operational costs in check.


Scalability is critical for future growth. Your chosen IoT provider should be able to scale with your business, accommodating more devices and data as your needs expand. This flexibility ensures you won't need to switch providers as your IoT requirements grow.


Given the sensitive nature of IoT data, security is paramount. Choose a provider with robust security measures, including encryption and secure connectivity, to protect your data from unauthorized access and cyber threats.


High-quality support can significantly impact the success of your IoT projects. A provider that offers comprehensive technical support and customer service can help you navigate challenges quickly, minimize downtime, and ensure your IoT ecosystem runs smoothly.


Finally, future-proofing your IoT investment is essential. Look for a provider that supports the latest technologies, such as over-the-air eSIM capabilities, allowing you to update SIM profiles remotely without physical replacements. This capability ensures your IoT infrastructure remains up-to-date and adaptable to future technology shifts.

Considering these factors carefully will guide you in selecting an IoT provider that best fits your project's needs and future ambitions, ensuring a successful and scalable IoT deployment.

When selecting an IoT solution provider, it's essential to consider how different options stack up against each other. Let's explore how Telnyx stands out from popular providers like Hologram, Emnify, and KORE.


Hologram is known for its global connectivity solutions for IoT devices. However, Telnyx offers more competitive pricing and a more robust network infrastructure, ensuring better reliability and performance.

Learn why Telnyx is the better choice over Hologram here.


While Emnify provides cloud-based services for IoT devices, Telnyx surpasses it with superior scalability, security features, and direct access to a global network. This makes Telnyx a more suitable option for businesses looking to scale.

Discover the advantages of Telnyx over Emnify here.


KORE offers comprehensive IoT solutions, but Telnyx stands out with its fully owned and operated network, offering unmatched control over quality and security. Telnyx provides a more seamless and secure connectivity experience.

Find out why customers prefer Telnyx over KORE here.

These comparisons make it clear why Telnyx is a leading choice for businesses seeking reliable, secure, and scalable IoT solutions.

Choose Telnyx, the better IoT solution provider

For businesses aiming to elevate their IoT deployments and leverage cutting-edge connectivity solutions, Telnyx delivers the tools, technology, and support necessary to ensure your projects not only succeed but excel in the competitive IoT landscape.

With our advanced IoT SIM cards and the flexibility of eSIM technology, managing your IoT devices globally becomes seamless. Thanks to the robust global network coverage and the innovative, secure infrastructure provided by Telnyx's patented mobile network, your IoT applications benefit from unparalleled connectivity. Our private, global IP network ensures more secure and reliable connections, with lower latency and higher quality of service, setting us apart from the competition.

Our competitive and transparent pricing models, designed for both small startups and large enterprises, ensure that you get the most cost-effective solution tailored to your operational scale. Moreover, Telnyx's robust set of APIs enables seamless integration of voice, SMS, and other communications functionalities into your applications, making it easier to build and scale without managing multiple service providers.

Security is paramount in IoT deployments, and Telnyx offers advanced features such as end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and secure SIP connections to protect your data. Our commitment to global coverage—with coverage in 180+ countries—ensures that your IoT solutions comply with regional regulations..

Choosing Telnyx means opting for a provider that emphasizes customer support, service reliability, and a high degree of customization and control over your IoT connectivity. Our award-winning 24/7 support team, equipped with technical expertise and quick response times, is ready to assist you in navigating the complexities of IoT deployment with ease.

Don't let connectivity challenges hold back your IoT ambitions. With Telnyx, you gain a strategic partner equipped with a comprehensive suite of connectivity solutions that offer unmatched network reliability, security, and scalability, ensuring your business can adapt and grow.

Talk to a Telnyx expert today to optimize your IoT connectivity and scale your projects with confidence.

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