What is the Internet of Things:
The Internet of Things (IoT), is also referred to as the Internet of Everything (IoE) and consists of all the web-enabled devices which collect, send and act on data they get from their surrounding environments by the use of embedded sensors, processors and communication hardware. These devices are called connected or smart devices, a process called machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. Machine to machine communication is an act on the information they get from one another. Humans can easily interact with the gadgets and set them up, they can also give them instructions or access the data, but the devices perform their operations on their own without human intervention.
Connected devices also generate massive amounts of Internet traffic which are also including loads of data that can be used to make the devices useful and it can also be mined for other purposes. All this new data and the device’s Internet-accessible nature raises both privacy and security concerns for the users. We can monitor our homes and families remotely for their safety, Businesses can improve processes to increase their productivity and reduce wastage.
Working of IoT:
The process begins with devices that have built-in sensors and these devices are connected to IoT platforms. IoT platforms stores the important data from all the connected devices and this important data is used to perform tasks that fulfill the needs of people.
When we talk about the data is which is stored in the IoT platforms, it is not necessary that all the data is useful. Devices select only particular data that is relevant to execute an operation. These pieces of information have the ability to detect patterns, recommendations, and problems. In this way, the IoT application works with smart systems and perform the tasks to address specific needs.
Components of IoT:
An IoT system consists of devices that are having a conversation with the cloud through some kind of connectivity. Once the data gets to the cloud then the software processes the data and devices might decide to perform an action. The devices will perform actions like sending an alert or automatically adjusting the sensors without the need for the user.
But if the user input is required or if the user wants to check in on the system, a user interface allows them to do this. Any actions that the user makes are then sent in the opposite direction through the system that is from the user interface to the cloud, and back to the sensors/devices to perform some changes. To do this there is a requirement of IoT components. These are the 4 components of IoT.
Sensors or devices help in collecting every single data from the surrounding environment. All of this collected data can have several complexities in it which is ranging from a simple temperature monitoring sensor or it can be complex full video feed. IoT sensors pick up even the most sensitive changes and these sensors are built in the devices which collect all the data which can be used later.
A device can have multiple sensors in it that can bundle together to do more than just sense things. Our phone is a device that also has multiple sensors such as GPS, accelerometer, camera but our phone does not sense things. The most necessary step is to pick and collect data from the surrounding environment.
The data which we collect is sent to a cloud infrastructure but it requires a transport medium.
The sensors are connected to the cloud through various mediums of communication and transports. These mediums can be cellular networks, satellite networks, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, wide-area networks (WAN) and low power wide area networks, etc.
Every option we select has some specifications and it also has the trade-offs between power consumption, range, and bandwidth. So, it is important to choose the best connectivity option in the IoT system.
- Data Processing:
Once the data is stored and it gets to the cloud, the software will perform processing on the acquired data.
This can range from simple things such as checking that the temperature reading on devices like AC or heaters is in an acceptable range or not. It can also get complex sometimes, like identifying objects using computer vision on video. But there can be a situation when user interaction is required as if the temperature is too high or too low, that’s where the user requirements come.
- User Interface:
The information is available to the end-user in some ways. This can be done by triggering alarms on their phones or notifying the users through texts or emails.
A user might also have an interface through which they can actively look upon their IoT system. Such as if a user has installed a camera in his house then he wants to check the video recordings and all the feeds sometimes through a web server.
IoT in the Business World:
IoT in healthcare has opened a new opportunity for medical specialists and patients. The technology helps doctors to get real-time access to patient medical data, store that data on the cloud, and share with others. It also reduces the waiting time of the customers and it also helps to check for the availability of hardware and equipment. IoT simplifies the process of identifying chronic diseases and take the right actions to minimize the risk.
IoT is also revolutionizing the education sector by connecting people worldwide so that It can make the process of sharing knowledge easy and reducing the barrier in gaining access to any data, introducing security in the education system, and more.
Retail is another domain that is enjoying a variety of opportunities and facilities after getting an understanding of IoT and how to incorporate it into their processes is Retail.
Internet of Things applications is finding it easier to deliver a personalized experience in retail like to their user base, automate checkout processes, perform maintenance effortlessly, and more.
- Sharing Economy:
The combination of IoT and Blockchain is reshaping the Sharing economy. These dual technologies are helping to build an online marketplace where all the data from the company is getting stored and can be shared securely and effectively using the concept of smart contracts. It is used by others to cut down the efforts required from the user end.
- Real Estate:
IoT technology also helps in reshaping the real estate economy by speeding up the decision-making process, it is offering more energy-efficient options, making smart space, and more.
IoT is empowering travel agencies to deliver real-time information to users, automate most of the processes, and send electronic key cards on the user’s smartphone. IoT helps in adding convenience, ease, and security to their experience.
Benefits of IoT:
The internet of things offers a number of benefits to organizations and the organization can enable them. The organization can monitor their overall business processes and can improve their customer experience by IoT. IoT helps the organizations to save their time and money and to enhance employee productivity. It Integrates and adapts business models and this helps them to make better business decisions and in generating more revenue.
IoT encourages businesses to rethink their approaches for their businesses, industries, and markets and it gives them the tools to improve their business strategies and decision making.
Pros and cons of IoT:
The most common advantage of IoT is that they have the ability to access information from anywhere at any time on any device. The Internet of things also helps in improving communication between connected electronic devices. IoT transfer data packets over a connected network so that it can save time and money. Automating the tasks also helps in improving the quality of a business’s services and it also reduces the need for human intervention.
The common disadvantage of IoT is that the potential that a hacker could steal confidential information also increases when the number of connected devices increases and more information is shared between devices.
Enterprises may have to deal with large numbers, it can be even in millions of IoT devices and collecting and managing the data from all internet of thing devices will be challenging for the businesses.
If there is any bug in the system, there is a possibility that every connected device will become corrupted. Also, there is no international standard of compatibility for IoT because it is very difficult for devices from different manufacturers to communicate with each other.