The Internet of Things (IoT) is an extension of the Internet in which large numbers of “things”, including sensors, actuators and processors, in addition to human users, are networked and able to provide high resolution data on their environment and exercise a degree of control over it. It is still at an early stage of development, and many problems/research challenges must be solved before it is widely adopted. Many of these are technical, including interoperability and scalability, as billions of heterogeneous devices will be connected, but deciding on how to invest in the IoT is a challenge for business, and there are also major social, legal and ethical challenges, including security and privacy of data collection, which must be resolved. As the future IoT will be a multi-national, multi-industry, multi-technology infrastructure, the paper reviews the global standardization efforts that are underway to facilitate its worldwide creation and adoption. The main purpose of the paper is to give a broad survey, based on published literature, of the methods of Operations Research (OR), both the mathematical tools and techniques of “hard” OR, and the various approaches of Systems Thinking, including “soft” OR, which may assist in dealing with these problems. A subset of these is described in greater depth to better convey what might be involved in applying OR and Systems Thinking to the IoT. It is suggested that OR has a role to play in balancing the technical and non-technical research challenges which confront the IoT.
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