Internet of Things (IoT) Explained

What is IoT? Internet of Things (IoT) Explained

Internet of Things (IoT) is the focus of every industry now. It’s going to bring in efficiency, quality, speed and enhanced performance in every sector. We’ll discuss everything about IoT here starting from its definition to the real time applications. With 5G in place there’s even greater potential for IoT.

IoT is the network of physical objects or devices—‘things’— that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet. These devices can range from household objects to sophisticated industrial equipments and tools.

Need of IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) is intended to make the life smarter and better by gathering data from the devices or things, analysing it and making decisions to help us improve efficiency. It makes both consumers and business smarter, faster and efficient. 

Think of the car you are driving. If it breaks down, you check the indicators available but may not be able to correlate all the indicators to reach the exact fault. In confused state of mind you have no option but to open your mobile and search over the internet to fix the problem. If it doesn’t work, you search for the nearest service center over the internet again. The whole process will take a lot of time and energy.

Now, if the car is IoT enabled, it will do all those manual processes which you did above in no time. IoT enabled car will get the fault signals, send these to the cloud analytics and report the most probable fault back to you. In addition, it’ll also suggest the nearest service centers available and this all will happen in faction of seconds without you manually putting your thought process and efforts to reach to the conclusion or a solution. This is what IoT can do help you make smarter moves, save your time and energy. There can be such uncountable applications in real life for consumers and businesses both.

How IoT works?

Let’s understand it in the most simplistic manner. Devices with built in sensors are connected to an IoT platform, which integrates data from the various devices under consideration and applies analytics to come up with the most valuable information and decisions with the applications built to address specific needs.

These intelligent and powerful IoT platforms can exactly pinpoint what information is useful and what can safely be ignored. This information can be used to detect patterns, make recommendations, and detect possible problems before they occur.

For example, if I am a car manufacturer, I might want to know which optional components (leather upholstery, alloy wheels or other interior items, for example) are the most popular. Using IoT, I can:

  • Use sensors to detect areas in a showroom which are the most popular, and where customers hang around the longest;
  • Deep dive into the available sales data to identify which components are selling the fastest;
  • And, automatically align sales data with supply chain, so that popular items never go out of stock.

The information gathered by connected devices enables me to make smart decisions about which components to stock up on, based on real-time information, to save my time, energy and money.

The insight provided by advanced analytics brings power to make processes more efficient. Smart objects, devices and systems help you automate specific tasks, especially those are repetitive in nature, mundane, and time-consuming or even dangerous.

Major Components of IoT

IoT Components
  • Thing or Device (Sensors enabled)

Devices and sensors are the components of the device connectivity layer which captures data and transmit the information to the next layer.

These sensors code be Temperature sensors and thermostats, Humidity / Moisture sensors, Light intensity detectors, Pressure sensors, Proximity detection, RFID and many more.

The sensors are connected to a device or a part of the device via a wireless network. This could be Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular or such others.

  • Gateway

IoT Gateway manages data traffic between different networks and protocols. It translates different network protocols and ensures interoperability of the connected devices and sensors.

Gateways can be also be provisioned to perform pre-processing of the gathered data from various sensors locally before transmitting it to the next stage. IoT gateway also offers security of data and network with adequate encryption mechanisms. It acts as a middle layer between devices and cloud to protect the system from malicious attacks and unauthorised access.

  • Cloud

IoT creates massive data from devices, applications and users and it’s required to be handled efficiently. Cloud offers to collect, store, process and manage this data in real time. Services can easily access and work with this dats remotely to perform necessary actions.

IoT cloud is a complex high performance bank or network of servers optimized to perform high speed data processing of billions of devices, traffic management and deliver accurate analytics. Cloud system integrates billions of devices, sensors, gateways, data storage protocols, and provides predictive analytics. This analytics data is used by companies for improvement of products and services, preventive measures, build and improve their business model.

  • Analytics

This is the most important part of the whole intention. Analytics uses the data from billions of devices and sensors into useful insights. One of the major advantages of an efficient IoT system is real time smart analytics which helps engineers to find out anomalies in the gathered data and take corrective measures to prevent an undesired outcome. Service providers can prepare for further steps if the information is collected accurately at the right time.

Enterprises use this huge data gathered from the IoT devices to drive insights for future business modelling. This becomes a very important part of business success in the competitive market today.

  • User Interface

As the name suggests, it’s tangible part of IoT system provided to users. A user friendly and feature rich and interactive interface is the need of the time. All the intended decision making, preventive measures and other desired actions and notification appear here.

Technologies which made IoT possible

As technologies are improving, IoT is becoming more feasible, efficient and in demand. Let’s have a look at a few below:

  • Low-cost, low-power sensor technology- Think about connecting billions of devices over internet and investment in it. This is possible today due to affordable and reliable sensors.
  • Connectivity- A host of network protocols for the internet has made it easy to connect sensors to the cloud and to other things or devices for efficient data transfer.
  • Cloud computing platforms- The increase in the availability of affordable and feature rich cloud platforms enables both businesses and consumers to access the infrastructure they need to scale up without actually having to manage it all on their own. Users can choose among Private, Public and Hybrid cloud.
  • Machine learning and analytics- Advances in machine learning and analytics, along with access to varied and vast amounts of data stored in the cloud have led businesses gather great insights faster and easier. The emergence of these allied technologies continues to push the boundaries of IoT and the data produced by IoT also feeds these technologies.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI). Advances in neural networks have brought natural-language processing (NLP) to IoT devices (such as digital personal assistants Alexa, Cortana, and Siri) and made them appealing, affordable, and viable for home use. There’s a big advancement and work going on in the AI to support and transform businesses as well.

IoT Applications

In reality listing of applications in IOT space is impossible. It’s about think what you need. There’s always a way to implement and realise the same. However let’s have a look at some of areas in which IoT has started being used:

  • IoT Smart Homes
  • IoT in Transport and Logistics
  • IoT in Manufacturing
  • IoT in Infrastructure Maintenance
  • IoT in Smart Grids
  • IoT in Asset Tracking
  • IoT in Automotive 
  • IoT in Healthcare
  • IoT in Public Safety 
  • IoT in Retail
  • IoT in connected Cars
  • and many more

Explore more articles to learn more about detailed IoT applications.



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