Up until 2012, the undisputed hottest topic in IT for several years in a row had been cloud computing. Then, big data stepped in and arguably stole the crown last year. For 2013, there’s likely to be a new top dog: The Internet of Things.

Also known as IoT or machine-to-machine (M2M), The Internet of Things is all about sensors that can connect lots of formerly-mundane objects to the Internet and automatically send their data to IT systems for analysis. The objects can be everything from health care monitors to traffic lights to thermostats to trains.

To help you get up to speed on what M2M is, why it’s important, and how it can potentially help your organization, TechRepublic and ZDNet have collaborated to create a special feature on the Internet of Things. We’ve drawn on expertise from the four regions where we have teams of journalists: the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Asia.

We’ve kicked it off with a series of articles that are highly practical and take you on a deep dive of the topic. Some of what you’ll find in the series includes:

  • A technology primer
  • A look at the business benefits
  • An executive’s guide
  • A research survey on what your peers are doing and planning for M2M
  • A look at the security implications
  • Multiple case studies
  • Vendor directories (for U.S., EMEA, Asia, and Australia)

A lot of today’s technology journalism has become hyper, unstructured, ephemeral, and ranting. (And we’re pointing the finger at ourselves as well). However, you can look at this joint ZDNet-TechRepublic series as our counter-point to that. We’re serving the business technology audience with a package of content that is actionable, resourceful, and grounded in the real world. We are doing one of these deep dives every month in 2013 and our global team of over 35 journalists is dedicating an important chunk of their time to making sure we do it right.

Access our special feature on IoT by following the link below. The package is published on ZDNet, but again, it is a collaboration between ZDNet and TechRepublic editors across the globe.