Internet of things: Everything basic you need to know
A lot of buzz has been there about IoT, popularly shortened as the Internet of Things. At first, it was just purely futuristic and people found themselves comparing the theory to the one projected by many Hollywood flicks, where much of the faith was put in AI, Artificial Intelligence. The idea got toyed, tested, imagined and woven into many stories. However, now the things have started taking shape in a much more palpable form. We have live examples. Olli, the self-driving car is the one. Nest Learning Thermostats, Smartwatches like iWatch, fitness bands, Automatic inventory management systems and many other things involve a range of IoT devices to improve their function and performance of the process and aid businesses as well as individuals.
This blog tries to cover how IoT has achieved what it achieved till now of the futuristic image visualized a few decades earlier and what are the theories, technologies and ecosystems that make IoT a real-life experience bettering human life.
What is IoT
The term is used to define a whole system that comprises devices generally with sensors, connected to platforms that collect data shared by sensors (mostly through the Internet). Based on the data, information gets extracted and a particular action (which is generally predefined) takes place.
Basically, everything is “smart” which is a part of IoT. Smart devices, smart sensors, smart data transmission and analysis, and smart delivery of intended action of a pre-defined condition are all smartly interconnected and functional, resulting in no or minimum human intervention.
Deduction: IoT is “Smart”!
How it works
Major components that form IoT are:
1. Sensors or Devices with sensors
It could be either one sensor or many sensors attached to one device. For example, the Fire alarm goes off just with smoke detection hence one sensor but your phone has many like GPS, Camera, etc.
The main task is data collection.
2. Connecting technology
Now the collected data has to go to a place to be analyzed for some specific function to be performed, but how? This is where connectivity plays a major role. It could be Bluetooth, WiFi LAN, cellular, or just the plain old Ethernet. Selection of the most viable option among these also depends on the IoT application.
Hence through this, the data gets to where it is worked upon.
3. Data Analysis over Cloud
Specifically designed software gets to work to make sense of the received data. And then further send the info to perform the predefined action based on the information deduced.
It could be as simple as detecting the presence or absence of smoke or as complex as sensing virus intrusion in your digital vault. But what after that?
4. Action in Action
Well, far from poetry, it only means that the information received is acted upon, mainly through a user interface so that the end user is the beneficiary (and should ultimately feel good about having this IoT in the first place!)
For example, if the smoke is there and temperature rise is detected, the fire alarm goes off and the nearest fire stations are alerted automatically in addition to the home/business owner.
IoT Ecosystem in Brief
The four components described above come together to form IoT ecosystem and function seamlessly but it’s better to understand the ecosystem as it exists: in layers. Machine-to-machine (M2M) Communication, which is behind this model, has been in our present for a long time now, but we have started addressing it as the Internet of Things or Internet of Everything pretty recently when in 1999 Ashton coined the term for the first time.
Essentially, the ecosystem layers could be understood as:
- Physical Objects (for which any particular IoT service came into existence)
- Sensors (for specific sensing abilities for the physical surroundings)
- Actuators (which are impacting the above surroundings in any way)
- Virtual Objects (e-books, e-tickets, video, etc)
- People (to make adjustments according to their needs through apps)
- Services (essentially cloud services where a major chunk of the whole system takes place)
- Platforms (services are delivered through these IoT platforms)
- Networks (that you get without telling: to provide connectivity and communication between every layer)
How it intends to help/assist humankind
IoT has already made its entry in our homes through very small tiny gadgets and some full-fledged ones until one day we started calling all of these IoT. Commercially, these objects have a much wider presence as of now, and which intends to grow exponentially since every small gadget with a sensor and data transmission facility even with the simplest kind of action to be performed is IoT. Hence the extent of application of IoT could only be imagined: here “sky is the limit” gains new meaning!
Below are just some of the places people are already experiencing and will witness a dramatic shift in applications within only 1-2 years:
- Health & Wellness
- Home / Building automation
- Inventory management
- Productivity management
- Retail & Supply Chain Management
Future is not near but here, as in just now, with IoT and AI going hand in hand with all the privacy and security concerns considered. You just need to know IoT as a concept better and start seeing things as they are getting sci-fi in front of your very own eyes!
To see if your company can make use of our IoT solutions and services in an unprecedented way, do let us know!