What is IOT

IOT stands for “Internet of things” which means to create an intelligent world where the physical, the digital and the virtual are converging to create smart environments that provide more intelligence to the energy, health, transport, cities, industry, buildings and many other areas of our daily life.

The expectation is that of interconnecting millions of islands of smart networks enabling access to the information not only “anytime” and “anywhere” but also using “anything” and “anyone” ideally through any “path”, “network” and “any service”. This will be achieved by having the objects that we manipulate daily to be outfitted with sensing, identification and positioning devices and endowed with an IP address to become smart objects, capable of communicating with not only other smart objects but also with humans with the expectation of reaching areas that we could never reach without the advances made in the sensing, identification and positioning technologies.

What is IOT

While being globally discoverable and queried, these smart objects can similarly discover and interact with external entities by querying humans, computers and other smart objects. The intelligent items can also obtain intelligence by making or enabling context related decisions taking advantage of the available communication channels to provide information about themselves while also accessing information that has been aggregated by other smart objects.

For example, an Air Conditioner’s sensor can gather the data regarding the outside temperatures, and accordingly adjust its temperature to increase or decrease it concerning the outdoor climate. Similarly, your refrigerators can also change its temperature accordingly. This is how devices can interact with a network.

What is IOT

As per the above figure, the IoT is the new essential infrastructure which is predicted to connect 50 billion of smart objects in 2020 when the world population reaches 7.6 billion. (Source by cisco).

History of IoT

First IOT device

The first IoT device was a Coke machine that let students at Carnegie Mellon University find out from a distance whether there were any cold sodas available.

In 1999, a presentation at Proctor & Gamble first used the term “The Internet of Things.”

Cisco defined the official beginning of IoT (admittedly arbitrarily) as the point when there were more machines than people, which occurred sometime in 2008 or 2009.

The first well-known IoT consumer device was the Nest, a thermostat released in 2011 that allowed users to change their home’s temperature from their smartphone.

Nowdays, IoT has already bypassed the peak of the hype cycle, which Gartner describes as happening in late 2014.

Now in the year 2020, many IoT applications are hitting maturity, most famously Amazon Echo and Google Home. By one estimation, there are currently over 7 Billion IoT devices, including IoT lighting, security cameras, and home and bike locks.

As consumer IoT devices become increasingly common, mapping and indoor positioning are two of the first novel applications being tackled. Additionally, tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Apple are all clambering to provide services for the growing IoT industry.

Architecture of IoT

As below in figure, the IoT can be perceived as an infrastructure driving several applications services which are enabled by several technologies. Its application services expand across many domains such as smart cities, smart transport, smart buildings, smart energy, smart industry and smart health. At the same time, it is enabled by different technologies such as sensing, nanoelectronics, wireless sensor network (WSN), radio frequency identification (RFID), localization, storage and cloud. The IoT systems and applications are designed to provide security, privacy, safety, integrity, trust, dependability, transparency, anonymity and are bound by ethics constraints.

What is IOT
How IoT works

Most IoT devices share a similar set of processes. The order of these steps isn’t necessarily fixed, and some tools even may skip a step or two, but to a first approximation, this is a standard data flow:

  1. Sense

    The IoT device filters information, gathering and processing relevant data.

  2. Transport

    The device transmits this data to the Internet over networks, which may include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular, mesh radio, satellite or fixed line connections like Ethernet.

  3. Store

    Information from the IoT network is gathered and stored, most commonly in a company’s cloud database.

  4. Analyze

    By processing the IoT data from a distributed network of devices, an individual or company extracts insights about the system as a whole and its constituent nodes.

  5. Control

    Those insights affect the behaviour of people, companies, and IoT devices, typically through the sharing of information or commands.

  6. Share

    IoT data is exchanged with other systems, monetizing it or enriching it with third-party data.

Example of IoT devices

TRACKER

TrackR and Bird are two already-popular consumer devices that showcase possible implementations of IoT technology.

TrackR sells small discs that help its users find their objects. A user could attach a TrackR to their keyring, wallet, or pet’s collar, and then view the TrackR’s location from their phone or tablet, which also includes the ability to make the TrackR play a sound.

Let’s walk through that standard data flow to see how an individual TrackR gathers and transmits information:

  1. Sense

    TrackR learns its location through Bluetooth communication with nearby local devices, typically mobile phones or tablets.

  2. Transport

    The local devices relay data of nearby TrackRs up to TrackR’s database.

    Note: Since TrackR can only communicate through Bluetooth, it doesn’t form a direct connection to the Internet but rather communicates to the Internet through a mobile “gateway”. The Bluetooth protocol also caps TrackR’s range at a few hundred feet or so. The company has improved on this limitation by creating a crowdsourced tracking network that they call “TrackR Crowd Locate,” which allows each TrackR device to communicate to the Internet through the mobile device of any TrackR owner. Through TrackR Crowd Locate, each TrackR user benefits from the network as a whole.

  3. Store

    TrackR’s cloud storage holds onto this information.

  4. Analyze

    TrackR knows the location of every TrackR device on its network, including the TrackRs that are currently out of range.

  5. Control

    Each user can view a map of their TrackRs on their mobile device. Through TrackR’s mobile app, they can also request that their TrackR make a sound to help them locate it.

  6. Share

    TrackR can use its information to improve its services or sell this data to other companies. Just as a company made this comically large remote control, other companies could design new products with findability in mind. For example, TrackR has a “Works with TrackR” program where they integrate TrackR technology into products made by other companies.

BIRD SCOOTER

Bird Electric Scooter data example.

Another successful consumer IoT device, year-old scooter rental company Bird was recently valued at over a billion dollars.

If a user wants to ride a Bird, they just download the app and find the nearest one. In many big cities, Birds are everywhere (so common that locals are getting annoyed). From Bird’s side, however, here’s how the process works:

  1. Sense

    Each Bird scooter has a sensor to measures battery level and knows its location through GPS.

  2. Transport

    Through cellular networks, it passes that data back to Bird HQ.

  3. Store

    Bird amalgamates all the information in its cloud…

  4. Analyze

    … and therefore keeps tabs on all its scooters.

  5. Control

    By knowing the status of each scooter, Bird can:

    Remove an out-of-battery scooter from the map that its customers see

    Rally teams to collect and recharge scooters overnight

    Move scooter hubs from unused areas to more popular places

  6. Share

    Other transportation companies would value Bird’s information. Uber, for example, recently bought bike-sharing company Jump. They’d likely be interested in information on scooter usage, or perhaps even a partnership to achieve better horizontal integration.

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