Part 3 : A walk through Internet of Things (IoT) basics.


Topics covered :

  • Devices that make IoT
  • IoT Technologies

DEVICES THAT MAKE IoT :

When it comes to devices of the IoT, most of us wonder, are smartphones, tablets IoT devices! Well –

  • Smart phones and tablets have sensors, accelerometer, gyroscope etc.
  • Are embedded devices with displays and keypad
  • Can be connected to the internet
  • Has IP address

In a way fits every requirement of IoT devices !!

So, can we call smartphones or tablets as IoT devices ?

This doubt was clarified at a keynote event during Sept 2011’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by Qualcomm Chairman and CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs.

Paul Jacobs talked about how mobile technology could be used to connect non‐phone, non‐tablet devices called IoT devices and objects to the Internet. In the future where everything is going to be Web‐connected, mobile phones will serve as the hub, or the remote control, for Internet of Things.

So IoT is internet connectivity of smart objects and embedded system other than mobile phones which can be connected with external hardware and Mobiles, Tablets, Laptops and PCs are remote control/access center of IoT.

Let’s have a look, how –

Today, smartphones or tablets are equipped with sensors which data from anything from location to the device orientation to light conditions. Altogether, these sensors produce a huge amount of data, both in unstructured form (picture or videos) as well as structured, such as GPS or acceleration data. With the rise of the wearables, smartphones increasingly have an additional role. This new role can be considered as the ‘brain’ of your Body Area Network (BAN), given the storage and communication capabilities of the smart phone. Last but not least with technologies such as Near Field Communications (NFC)​, smart phones can function not only as sensors but also as actuators, that is, trigger actions (such as payments) or control other things,including home, parking slots, cars and many more.

Next, Smart Devices –

With IoT, we also get to hear a lot about Smart Devices. What are these Smart Devices – Lets look into the definition –

“A Smart Object is an object that can describe its own possible interactions.”

OR

According to wikipedia – “A smart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, 3G, etc., that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously.

Any device which not only has a state but also has certain data associated with that state and can also determine the nature of connectivity, duration of connectivity and connectivity protocol are called smart objects. Some of the smart devices are smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, smart bands and smart key chains. The term smart device can also refer to a ubiquitous computing device: a device that exhibits some properties of ubiquitous computing.

Characteristics of smart devices :

  • A set of system hardware & software ICT (Information and Communication Technology) resources. This set is usually static fixed at design time.
  • Dynamic component-oriented resource extensions & plug-ins (Plug and Play) of some hardware resources.
  • Remote external service access and execution.
  • Local, internal autonomous service execution.
  • Access to specific external environments: human interaction, physical world interaction and distributed ICT / virtual computing interaction.
  • Ubiquitous computing properties.

Ubiquitous Computing Properties :

  • Devices need to be networked, distributed and transparently accessible.
  • Human – computer interaction with devices is hidden to a degree from its users.
  • Devices exhibit Context awareness of an environment in order to optimise their operation in that environment.
IoT devices and technology - classified
IoT devices and technology – classified

(Image source : codeproject.com)

IoT TECHNOLOGIES :

Now, lets have an understanding of various Technologies of IoT.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) :

  • RFID chip holds information about the ‘thing’
  • RFID chip is attached and transfers data to the reader.
  • Antenna on the RFID module is used to receive energy that is used to operate the RFID device and transmit information back to the reader.
  • RFID enables efficient management, tracking, and monitoring processes – Logistics and supply chain applications.

WSN (Wireless Sensor Networks) :

  • Efficient, low cost, low power devices for use in remote sensing applications.
  • Low power integrated circuits and wireless communications.
  • A large number of intelligent sensors collect raw data, and create valuable services by processing, analyzing, and spreading data.
  • Challenges are related to limited processing capability and storage, and sensor data sharing for multiple device/system cooperation.

IoT Cloud Computing Support :

  • For Advanced IoT services, IoT networks may need to collect, analyze, and process segments of raw data and turn it in into operational control information.
  • Advanced IoT services will need support of cloud computing.
  • Numerous IoT connections will be made to various devices and sensors.
  • Many IoT devices will not have (PC or smartphone level) sufficient data processing capability or interoperability functionality.

Cloud Computing :

  • IoT applications will need support from a reliable, fast, and agile computing platform.
  • IoT devices can overcome lack of Software, Firmware, Memory Storage, Hardware, Data Processing capability through Cloud computing.
  • Cloud service models –
  • SaaS (Software as a Service)
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service)
  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

That’s all for this article. Hope this was helpful !

Thanks a lot for reading 🙂

Up Next – Part 4 : A walk through Internet of Things (IoT) basics.

Stay Tuned !!

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