Understand What is Internet of Things and How Does It Work through real examplesJuly 6, 2019
Wouldn’t it be amazing if everything was connected to the internet? How about we could put a little device on anything and it would get connected to the internet. Think about what would happen if we put that devices on our front doors? We would be notified every time it opened. Or put it in the bedrooms to monitor the temperature at all times. Or maybe put it on the window stills to notify us if anyone tried to sneak in. Or maybe you could place it in the refrigerator for it would notify you the next time your sibling tried to steal your chocolate. All of this is possible due to IoT. Lets dive into the practical understanding of what is internet of things?
The Cubic is the answer for above question. It will help you control and monitor everything in your life with your phone.
Next tech on our list would sound like something straight out of Sci-Fi movies. The sixth sense technology. Sixth sense is a wearable device that helps us interact with the digital world in the same way as we interact with the physical world.
In United States alone there are over 357,000 house fires each year that’s about 7 deaths per day just because someone left the stove on or due to gas leak. So isn’t there anything that can be done to avoid such tragedies? Of course there is, inirvreact, a device that attaches to the existing knob of your stove and turns it off whenever it detects a hazardous situation.
IoT devices and applications are the heart of the 4th industrial revolution. Yet what exactly is IoT is unknown to majority of people. The internet is melting with all sorts of technical definitions of the internet of things but these are mere jargons to those not deeply invested into computer science.
With the advent of IoT, the way we interact with technology has radically changed. It has also dramatically influenced our lifestyle. And naturally people are curious as to what is IoT, its uses, how IoT works and how has it influences our lives? We will try and answer all these questions flooding the internet in simple terms.
What is Internet of Things(IoT)?
But before we dive deeper into the mahoosive ocean of Internet of Things and why it stands eminent today and is escalating exponentially day by day, let us first off answet the impending question.
So here’s internet of things explained in simple terms : Just as Internet of People connect humans together like via social media platforms, similarly Internet of Things or IoT in simple words is a giant network that connects devices together. It involves connecting not only desktops and smartphones but also dumb-devices such as cars, AC, lights, watches, fans etc to the internet. So how does internet of things (IoT) work? Here’s what happens, you take “things” and add the ability to sense, communicate and control. Thus, “things” interact and collaborate with other things.
These devices or things constantly gather data on how and in which environment they are being used and exchange these data with other connected devices, which is used to provide customised services.
For instance, you are on your way back from work and you want your home to be pre-cooled at 20 degrees before you reach. Or suppose you are getting late for work but you have to do the laundry or maybe you are just too tired to switch off the lights before going to bed.
So what do we do now? Just a click on your smartphone is one stop solution to all these woes. It is at these moments that we can fully appreciate the benefits of the Internet of Things.
From the above discussion of what is IOT, one thing that can be inferred is that it requires tremendous volumes of data for training and optimisation, i.e., to function. After knowing what is internet of things another question arises: data
How is such tremendous volumes of data collected ?
Okay so if I asked you how do we humans collect data, that is, how do we sense the world? Your answer would be: through our sense organs, i.e., our eyes, ears, skin etc.
Now the query is that what can act as eyes and ears to a machine? An obvious answer would be sensors. Today we have a plethora of sensors surrounding us right from our smartphones which knows where you are, what are you saying to it, how much light is there in the room and also has the ability to communicate on a wireless network; to smart wearable devices to our cars. These sensors are constantly emitting data.
IoT works by providing a common platform for these sensors to dump their data securely and also a common language for these devices to communicate with each other.
In the next step the IoT platform combines the collected data as a whole and analyses it. After which valuable information is extracted and then result is shared with other devices for optimisation.
What is an IoT device?
All those devices that are embedded with technology like sensors and are connected over a network such that they can be remotely accessed and controlled are termed as IoT devices.
Now there are a lot of things that were manufacture before the advent of IoT. So how do we add sensing and communications capabilities to existing things ? Luckily we have me modules that could be used to serve such purposes.
IoT in everyday life :
1.Wearable Devices :
We take a look at some of the innovative wearable devices available out there :
- TAP Strap : A wearable Bluetooth keyboard. It works by detecting finger movements in a 3 dimensional space and you can connect an type on an imaginary keyboard.
- Duo Skin : It can be used to create customised functional devices that can be attached on the skin.
- Dhama Sport : It cools your body down and also reduces fatigue .
- Smart watches
- Smart Rings
2. Home Automation :
Home automation is integration of all the appliances in your home into one user friendly system that makes everything work together automatically. Your smartphone can be used to tune every component, control the lights, stream music or movies , play warnings in case of emergencies , control climate of the home etc. 3.
3. Industrial Internet of Things :
During the second industrial revolution electricity was produces which assisted in mass production. Then came computers and digitisation during third industrial revolution. The fourth industrial or industry 4.0 revolution talks about the use of different sensors, artificial intelligence, machine learning, wireless connectivity, machine-to-machine communication and so on to develop smart factories and smart supply management systems. That is, IoT put together along with industry 4.0 gives us industrial internet of things.
4. Smart cities :
The very existence of humanity depends upon resource optimisation and its sustainable usage. For instance, in the 20th century a solution to traffic congestion would be to add another lane but eventually these new lanes also get filled by more and more cars and cause more congestion. So what could be a smart, 21st century solution to this problem? An answer could be smart cars that would communicate with the traffic lights, lamp-posts and roads to find their own route to destination in order to avoid congestion.
Another daunting issues that need attention are waste management , energy management, Waste water treatment etc. To tackle such problems, smart cities came into picture.
5. IoT in Agriculture :
Autonomous tractors and vertical drones.
AI powered vertical farms: vertical farms are temperature controlled environments where crops are grown
6. Smart Retailers :
Amazon’s Go Glossary Store where you don’t need to queue up for billing and payment stuff . You can just walk out of the store with your purchase and the amount will be automatically deducted from your wallet.
7. Energy Management And Smart Grid :
Our current electric grids were designed in an era when power demand was quite low and power generation was localised. However ,these grids with one way interaction had certain limitations. It made difficult for the grid to respond to the fluctuating needs of power in our communities. The smart-grid introduces a two way communication where electricity information can be exchanged between the utility and its customers. It also allows integration of newer technologies such as wind and solar energy production and electric vehicle charging. Smart Homes communicate with the grid and enables consumers to manage their electricity usage. Home Area Network (HAN) connects all the smart devices to an energy management system that optimises their running schedules to reduce electricity demand on the grid at critical times.
Having discussed what is IoT along with its examples and implementation and how applications of IoT work, we are faced with another important parameter:
Learn what is internet of things with some cool projects at these free educational apps.
Can IoT work without the internet?
Well the answer is yes. IoT works by facilitating communication of devices connected on a network. For a large area, an internet connection is requires, but incase we are talking about small areas say a few hundred metres, the devices can be connected over a Bluetooth network as well. No internet connection is required in such cases. Eg : TAP Strap .
On that note I would like to conclude this article with a stats providing information about revenue that IoT industry would be generating in upcoming years.
Some of the devices used to implement IoT into existing things are :
1. Arduino :
It gives “things ” the ability to communicate.
2. ESP8266 module :
It is used for providing Wi-Fi connectivity in case Arduino board is used as Arduino boards do not have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity module.
3. Bluetooth module :
As the name suggests, it is used to provide Bluetooth connectivity.
4. NodeMCU :
NodeMCU’s are used as a substitute to Arduino boards.
5. Raspberry pi (3) :
Raspberry pi can be used as a mini computer. An Operating system called Raspbian needs to be installed in a SD card and inserted into the Raspberry pi. After which it can be used for programming using its built-in (linux) terminal.
Apart from these modules there are several others that can be used for implementing IoT based on the project.
Let us now have a look at how some of the applications of IoT work along with some examples of the internet of things that impact our daily lives.