Semantics for the internet of things: Early progress and back to the future

Payam Barnaghi*, Wei Wang, Cory Henson, Kerry Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

436 Citations (Scopus)


The Internet of Things (IoT) has recently received considerable interest from both academia and industry that are working on technologies to develop the future Internet. It is a joint and complex discipline that requires synergetic efforts from several communities such as telecommunication industry, device manufacturers, semantic Web, and informatics and engineering. Much of the IoT initiative is supported by the capabilities of manufacturing low-cost and energy-efficient hardware for devices with communication capacities, the maturity of wireless sensor network technologies, and the interests in integrating the physical and cyber worlds. However, the heterogeneity of the "Things" makes interoperability among them a challenging problem, which prevents generic solutions from being adopted on a global scale. Furthermore, the volume, velocity and volatility of the IoT data impose significant challenges to existing information systems. Semantic technologies based on machine-interpretable representation formalism have shown promise for describing objects, sharing and integrating information, and inferring new knowledge together with other intelligent processing techniques. However, the dynamic and resource-constrained nature of the IoT requires special design considerations to be taken into account to effectively apply the semantic technologies on the real world data. In this article the authors review some of the recent developments on applying the semantic technologies to IoT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyber Worlds
  • Future Internet
  • Information Modeling
  • Internet of Things
  • Web Community

Cite this