The Internet of Things (IoT) or Internet of Everything (IoE) represents physical objects, generally in the "non-laptop/personal device" category, accessed through the Internet, as defined by technology analysts and visionaries. These objects contain embedded technology to sense and communicate to central controllers or data repositories. Think of the sensors on roads that send data to a collection point on the Internet. That becomes data that is processed so we can see traffic congestion when we connect our Thing - mobile deice or GPS - to the Internet.
Our mobile app pulls that data down from a server for our viewing pleasure so we know how long the little red line is that represents the traffic jam in which we are currently stuck. Or think of your house alarm that can be turned on or off from a location other than the physical property being protected. How about a surveillance camera that snaps a photo of a perpetrator in a break-in and the local surveillance system can upload that photo to the local police department.
Yes the Internet of Things has been around for some years, it's just that in 2011 devices connected to the Internet outnumbered humans on the planet so a trend of that magnitude demands its own name, a technology community, some standards, etc. to help everyone going after the estimated $14.4 Trillion 'Value at Stake' between now and 2022.