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Internet of Things - An Introduction

Nilesh Parakh Jun 7, 2019
This is an introductory article on Internet of Things popularly known as IoT for those who are new to this subject. We will learn everything about sensors, cloud computing, programming and application of IoT in different domains in subsequent articles.

What is IoT?

IoT is a network of devices connected to each other or a platform through their in-built ability to communicate over the internet or through a connected communication medium. Data gathered by all such connected entities is collected and stored in a database of choice on the cloud platform to perform activities such as monitoring, control and analysis.

Data collected by the devices fall in following three categories

  • Data obtained or sensed through various electronic sensors attached to the devices
  • Technical information originating from the devices
  • Data obtained as an output of a process or operation

Components of IoT

Sensors

Sensors attached to the devices/machines sense data and parameters such as temperature, vibration, load  or other technical data such as current state of the device, production count etc. The sensors help make sure that all the important information is collected without human supervision required and with maximum efficiency.

Communication

Internet connectivity or long distance radio frequency wavelengths such as LoRaWAN are used for communication between devices and cloud platform. The devices spread across the internet are uniquely identifiable with the help of their IP addresses and secure communication mechanisms such as Public and Privat keys between the devices and platforms.

Cloud Platform

Data collected by the IoT devices needs to be saved in reliable DBs and processed to provide input for various services, monitor & control activities and also serve the purpose of analyzing and understanding various trends either in device functioning or business flows. Cloud platform helps avail all these facilities in one place, under secure environment.

Databases and storage

The cloud platform offers facility to store all types and formats of data in variety of databases. NoSQL, relational databases, info tables and file/object storage are some of the examples of database and storage systems currently available on majority of cloud platforms.

Services and Utilities

One of the most important part of the IoT ecosystem is services and utilities available/developed to support the IoT solutions. Various services are developed to achieve a desired flow of operations needed to be performed on obtained data or based on some event.

Factors leading IoT's inroads in different domains and its success

Connected devices with better control

Connected IoT devices share vital information ensuring effective monitoring, control and analysis of the situations. Real-time visibility of devices and information sharing plays an important role in saving time and currency. The issues can be worked upon as soon as they occur and data patterns can help predict issues and avoid unwanted delays and expenses.

Maximized efficiency and benefits, improved productivity

Its not only about identifying issues and avoiding them, the data collection also can be used to analyze the production, sales and system availability patterns to ensure maximum benefits and efficiency through necessary steps taken such as re-organizing operations and processes, efficient work allocation, tasks scheduling and resource planning etc.

Cost effective solutions and services, increased savings

Due to large scale business, services such as device connectivity, database management, events & subscriptions based programming, alerts & notifications and analytics etc. are provided by various cloud/IoT platforms at very cheaper rates as against the amount of time and currency that would need to be spent on developing such solutions by customers.

More emphasis on business logic development

Availing IoT/Cloud platform services makes it sure that the security, scalability, latency and high availability becomes a part of the offering and hence business can concentrate on implementations of the logic that is most important to it. This helps with faster and more efficient implementation and deployment of solutions.

Application Domains for Internet of Things

  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Warehouse¬†
  • Defence/Security
  • Smart Home
  • Agriculture
  • Utilities
  • Transportation

Most talked about solutions of IoT

  • Smart Cities
  • Smart Homes
  • Smart Grids
  • Smart Hospitals
  • Smart Retail Stores
  • Smart Factories

Thank you!

Stay tuned for more articles in IoT domain...