Written By Lloyd Harris | 07/21/2020
For many, the Internet of Things (IoT) is just one of several over-blown technology hypes meant to influence people’s lifestyles, career choices, or to be used as a tool by global powers in their quests for world dominance. It is understandable why people’s initial reactions to break-through technology are one of fear, caution, sometimes anger, and rejection.
Frankly, who wouldn’t be cautious of technological advancements that threaten to overtake jobs through automation, invade privacy, pose danger to healthcare systems, or even go as far as eroding the very basis upon which our industrial civilization was built?
In contrast to politics and other fields, science has a way of presenting facts in a stubborn manner that just won’t go away because people have differentiating opinions. Simply put, you should care about gaining some insight into the Internet of Things (IoT) and it’s technology because it is transforming the way the world does business, interacts, and improve lifestyle.
Internet Of Things (IoT) Defined
The internet of things or (IoT) is a system of connected devices, computers, and digital machines with unique identifiers that transfer data over a network. To put this into perspective, devices such as smartphones, laptops, wearables, traffic light, and almost everything you’re likely to come across daily, are all part of the internet of things as long as they are sharing data.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is indeed a network of billions of connected devices that is globally accessible through the internet. IoT is making the fabric of the world around us smarter and more responsive, converging the digital and physical world. The successful convergence of a digital platform owes its success to the underlying smart devices in the world of IoT.
What Is An IoT Device
An IoT compatible device is a piece of hardware that is equipped with a sensor(s), and have the ability to send data using an internet connection. In order to paint a mind-picture of what IoT devices are, think of wireless sensors, actuators, pacemakers, and computer devices.
An IoT enabled device contains sensors that are usually embedded in the chipset. Some of these embedded sensors come in mobile phones, industrial equipment, environmental sensors, and medical equipment. Essentially, IoT devices contain sensors and mini-computer processors that utilize machine learning to act on a set of collected data.
Why Are IoT Devices Called Smart Devices?
As previously stated, the Internet of Things (IoT) involves stretching the internet connections beyond our regular devices that everyone knows. These devices could be desktops, laptops, smartphones, and other hand-held devices, to any range of dumb terminals.
Existing chipsets in dumb devices are embedded with technology that can be used to communicate and interact over the internet. The great thing about IoT is how these devices can be leveraged and configured to accomplish projects of complex nature such as remote monitoring, and sensor-driven operations.
The Internet of Things (IoT) devices are called smart devices because their embedded sensors, communication interfaces, and machine learning complements drive their autonomous behavior. Smart devices are able to connect, share, and interact with their users and other smart devices via the internet with full automation.
How Do I Know If A Device Is IoT Compatible?
Generally, transforming a regular device into an IoT enabled device requires that the device has some form of connection interface to the internet and that the device has an integrated sensor technology with inbuilt or embedded software that supports network connections.
To emphasize, a sensor device is a key component of an IoT implementation that helps in the collection of live data from surrounding environments. Data collection can range from simple to complex operations.
When both (network and sensor) capabilities are combined, what you have is a fully functional smart IoT device. The next step to understanding the operation of an IoT device is part of its life cycle.
Regardless of the deployment platform, an IoT implementation is likely to utilize devices or sensors, communication interfaces, data processing activities, and user interface (UI) as part of its operating framework.
How IoT Implementation Works
The consistency behind the Internet of Things (IoT) system is perhaps one of the cool characteristics that makes it an easy-to-implement technology. A non-technical user can literally memorize the four (4) distinct components (sensors/devices, connectivity, data processing, and the user interface) and explain the whole idea of IoT without having to perform a google search.
4 IoT Components Explained in a Nutshell
With an increase in bandwidth availability and affordable hardware cost, IoT is redefining industries landscapes on par with 5G and other trending technologies through a simple 4-components architecture. We explore these in the following paragraphs.
Devices or Sensors: Considered as the first process in an IoT ecosystem, sensors are key components that help in the collection of live data. Devices may have various types of sensors for different tasks other than sense. A light sensor, fitness tracker, GPS, and smart door locks are all good examples of devices with multiple sensors.
Connectivity: As the next step in a sequence of an IoT system function, data is usually collected and uploaded to a cloud infrastructure. By now, I am sure you are aware that connection to a cloud service will require some form of wireless/wired, Bluetooth, or a cellular network communication interface.
Regardless of the mode of connectivity, an IoT application will require a means of getting data to the cloud.
Data Processing: After the previous connectivity stage that involves the upload of data to a cloud infrastructure, a specialized software performs processing on the acquired data.
Specialized software operations can range from something as simple as temperature reading on an AC or heater unit to a more complex operation such as analyzing heart monitor data, or a video surveillance system for home security systems.
User Interface: A data is only usable if the consumer is able to interpret the result. This is where the user interface component becomes important in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.
The processed information needs to be available to the end-user in some way which can be achieved by activating alerts on wearables or texting out notifications through some form of messaging service. A good example of this is a home survlience system with an alerting feature that sends feed via a web server for live viewing.
The IoT Revolution And Plaguing Challenges
Many companies are able to reduce costs by using data shared by IoT enabled devices. These connected devices have the ability to provide potential insights into productivity gains and open up new business opportunities.
Nevertheless, these new opportunities come with their own challenges such as security. Because of its limited intelligence, IoT enabled devices are usually unsecured and serve as attractive backdoors for hackers to leverage and access secured networks.
To mitigate possible exploitation and effectively deploy a wide range of IoT devices can seem a somewhat daunting and overwhelming task that could potentially require a company to invest in an IoT device management platform.
As of recent, the top five challenges associated with designing and deploying an IoT infrastructure are connectivity, continuity, compliance, coexistence, and cyber-security.
On a positive note, IoT does open doors to exciting new opportunities for the world and business industries. It is therefore incumbent upon organizations to acknowledge the unprecedented challenges that come with an IoT platform and develop strategies to support the technology while meeting core business requirements.
In essence, rolling out a successful Internet of Things (IoT) platform requires a review and deep understanding of the challenges and knowing how they are designed, tested, and implemented across the ecosystem. In short, the benefits should be justified by the positive outcomes throughout the IoT life cycle. This will help ensure that IoT delivers on its promise.
The trendy 5G technology is set to make inroads and complement the reliability and performance of the Internet of Things (IoT). Despite its many positive outcomes, the fear of the unknown seems to count as a prime factor behind consumers’ concerns.
Fears such as potentially fatal consequences for IoT powered vehicles, home privacy, and possible medical overdose are all legitimate concerns worth considering when evaluating the pros and cons of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
Looking ahead, the high-speed connectivity and low latency that will arrive with the next-generation network will be key for IoT connected devices. With the ability of a 5G network to handle an expansive network of connected devices, consumers will benefit from greater readability and security within the IoT ecosystem.
IoT: number of connected devices worldwide 2012-2025Department & 27 https://www.statista.com/statistics/471264/iot-number-of-connected-devices-worldwide/ | AUTOTEL GmbH https://www.auto-tel.ch/ | 18 Most Popular IoT Devices in 2020 (Only Noteworthy IoT Products)https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/iot-devices/ | https://channellife.com.au/story/idc-forecasts-smart-city-spending-reach-158-billion-2022