The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a microchip transponder, a car that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address and can transfer data over a network.
Increasingly, organisations in a variety of industries are using IoT to operate more efficiently, better understand customers to deliver enhanced customer service, improve decision-making and increase the value of the business.
How Does IoT Work?
Some IoT applications may permit the user to trigger and execute an action and alter the system remotely. Each application and example of IoT highlights four different integrations of elements: Sensors/devices, Connectivity, Data Processing, and User Interface.
For example, one may use an app on their screen to adjust temperatures in a test lab or storage room. Also, some artificial intelligence IoT devices may complete actions automatically, minus waiting for the user to trigger them.
What Are The 4 Components of IoT?
The Internet of Things leverages Sensors or Devices to gather data from connected environments for real-time processing, and the sensors and devices can be chosen or modified based on the requirement. Targeted sensors like smoke detectors or temperature detectors are used for specific purposes, whereas devices like beacons and QR codes can be used for multiple applications. Sensors are essential in the smooth running of IoT processes because multiple sensors can get installed on a connected device and collect different aspects of necessary data. For instance, a mobile phone has a camera, fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, GPS, weather forecast, etc. Sensors and IoT devices collect data and deposit it into the cloud.
Common sensors are:
Temperature sensors and thermostats
Humidity / Moisture level
Light intensity detectors
Next, that data is sent to the cloud, but it needs a way to get there. The sensors/devices can be connected to the cloud through a variety of methods including cellular, satellite, WiFi, Bluetooth, low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN), connecting via a gateway/router or connecting directly to the internet. Each option has tradeoffs between power consumption, range, and bandwidth. Choosing which connectivity option is best comes down to the specific IoT application, but they all accomplish the same task: getting data to the cloud.
3. Data Processing
After data successfully uploads to the cloud, computing software, and big-data analytics process it for the end-user. For instance, night vision and motion sensors can detect unauthorised activity within a defined parameter. Still, the signals get sent to the user via an alert or video footage. But what happens when the temperature is too high or if there is an intruder on the property? That’s where the user comes in.
4. User Interface
IoT leverages a user interface to make the data and information ready and practical for consumption by an end-user in some way. This could be by displaying the processed information on a dashboard or alerting the user via any set and viable notification, as real-time system monitoring occurs. IoT enables provisions for live system monitoring using a mobile phone or a web browser app. For example, an operator may get a text alert or email notification when there is a fault in a production line. The user possesses an interface that enables them to review the ongoing processes within their operations.
However, depending on the IoT application, the user may also be able to perform an action and affect the system. For example, the user might remotely adjust the temperature in the cold storage via an app on their phone.
And some actions are performed automatically. Rather than waiting for you to adjust the temperature, the system could do it automatically via predefined rules. Rather than just call you to alert you of an intruder, the IoT system could also automatically notify security teams or relevant authorities.
As the Internet of Things continues to grow in the days to come, there are many IoT benefits to look forward to. Knowing that there are numerous ways in which the IoT will emerge in our lives, however, makes the need to secure the Internet of Things even more important.