Internet of Things
Over the years appliances around the house have become smart. From the days of mechanical control to device running multiple programs. Your Air conditioner or refrigerator may run in a different setting depending on the ambient temperature and load put on it. Pretty much every house hold appliance is now capable of handling complex logic.
The way devices present and function has changed a lot largely due to the advances in electronics like embed systems and control systems. No where is this more evident than in industrial and enterprise settings. Production, Inventory, supply chain all run on electronic devices capable of running minute pieces of code. In face the scale of production in our era wouldn’t have been possible without the such technologies – devices being collectively in sync with each other.
What is IoT?
The collective ensemble of all interconnected electronic devices sharing data and or responding to instructions. The scope of interconnected devices though includes devices of all sizes, the intent of IoT is to connect to devices around us, things we use and have an actionable end point.
The concept is pretty simple – devices, ranging from fitness and medical devices, wearable tech, electrical, electronic appliances have a lot of data to offer should we be interested. As we have learnt from experience, any data from any source is invaluable. It makes sense to accumulate the data generated from such sensors to generate information and eventually pertinent knowledge to improve the application. IoT also includes devices which can respond to requests delegated to them remotely form a human master or a human like server master.
This isn’t some thing new. The idea of devices like refrigerators and TVs connected and controlled by devices like mobiles and computers is common place. What’s new is the scale and the impact of the implementation.
How it works?
A typical Iot application has devices submitting data to a central server via the internet over wifi, wired network or even a bluetooth tethering device. (There’s loads of research on new low powered low range low bandwidth networking devices especially for devices with IoT capability.) Each device is provided with a unique Id to address and target it to receive and send data. The mechanics of the way it handle the network part, reaches to the server, authenticates itself, submits data vary from vendor to vendor.
The application server receiving the data processes based on its logic like any other server based application. There exists a cause and effect matrix which may trigger a response – an adjustment in setting or a signal to an actuator or a notification in the mobile application.
IoT application is essentially an event based application with the triggers being human or data from a sensor. For some part the application is like any other server based application. But the interface that manages the devices – i.e the data, metadata, of the different kinds and versions of devices, connecting, working, troubleshooting etc. is, as evident, fairly complicated and intrinsic to IoT.
IoT has already begun the revolution in the way we interact with devices and we are loving it.
Smarter greener, more energy efficient homes are already here. There is tons of research and development in the field with funding for start ups exceeding $2.5bn. Wearables are the latest tech gadgets for fitness and healthcare monitoring. Cities are investing heavily in to IoT for more efficient smart grids, roads and public transport, water distribution, to waste management, urban security and environmental monitoring.
The market for IoT is huge. There isn’t a single industry or segment set to benefit from it. It has the potential to impact us all. This will be one of the fastest growing technologies in days to come.