Internet of Things (IoT) - A brief Idea
- Mar 31, 2016
The IoT is a network of material things (vehicles, buildings, devices and many others) embedded with software, sensors, electronics cum network connectivity which allows these things to collect as well as exchange data. 'Internet of Things' allows these things to be perceived as well as controlled 'remotely' through an existing network framework. A simple example is the GPS system in your car. The GPS system can tell you your exact location, the remaining distance to your destination etc. It can also provide you with directions to your destination and can also tell you whether you are taking the right path or not. So, basically you see that objects like your car have gained the ability to communicate with you using internet connection. There are many other relevant examples.
Elements of IoT
The principal elements of IoT are:
- Sensors that can detect inputs from their surroundings.
- Software that can look at the sensor data as well as follow rules for making decisions as to how to react to that data.
- Software that can manage various operations of a certain device that includes sensor(s).
- Internet connection that can transmit as well as receive data cum instructions from various other devices.
This can be explained best through the working of a smart refrigerator. Smart refrigerators generally have:
- A barcode sensor (scanner) that scans certain food items that are put into the fridge.
- Software that can evaluate data from the scanner and decide about recipes, expiration dates, shopping lists etc.
- An operating system that can operate the barcode sensor (scanner) as well as the software for evaluation of the scanned data.
- Internet connection which helps the software to evaluate data as well as follow rules for making decisions from the scanner data.
Image courtesy- https://recode.net/
How IoT works
There are a number of technicalities involved in the working of IoT but let's not go into that. Let's go into the very basics first. Think about the concealed technology first in each device, a variety of wireless radios which allow the device to get connected to internet and then simultaneously, to other similar devices as well. These include Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth etc. Then comes the object which may be a door lock, light bulb, smart vault etc. Then, there are various cloud services that enable analysis and collection of data for the people to see what's happening and take action accordingly via mobile applications.
Companies working on Internet of Things
Many reputed companies are working on manufacturing IoT related products. Some of the popular and reputed ones are LG, Apple, Samsung, Google, Philips, Lowe's etc. Gartner said, “In 2020, 25 Billion Connected "Things" Will Be in Use.”
The biggest concern regarding IoT is security as well as privacy. Let's take the example of a Nest Thermostat. This thermostat is a smart device that has the ability to know when you're present in your room and when you are absent. When you are present, the thermostat can keep your room cool on a relatively hot day. When you are absent, the thermostat can adjust the temperature of the room to a comparatively higher degree, thereby keeping the room warm. This seems like a good feature on one hand but on the other hand, there are certain security issues. Information about the timings of your presence at home as well as your absence is collected by the thermostat. This information is pretty handy for burglars and other antisocial persons. You don't know whether you have full control over that Nest-collected data. Hence, it's a matter of concern as the security of information of the users cannot be guaranteed.
This short video can show you how the data collected by IoT could get compromised. You'll be astonished to see how easily it can be done as well.
Examples of IoT
The Nest thermostat mentioned above is a good example of IoT. You can regulate the temperature of your room 'remotely' using your mobile device through Nest. The thermostat also has the capability to learn about your behavior, thereby creating a temperature-setting plan. The benefit is that the user can actually save his/her money on electricity bills. If the user has forgotten to switch off the air-conditioner before leaving his/her house, s/he will be able turn the air-conditioner off 'remotely' using the phone.
SmartThings is another company, acquired by Samsung, which manufactures a number of IoT-related products, mainly smart-home kits.
The IoT definitely has a lot of potential in making our routine lives simpler and safer. This routine includes shopping, getting groceries and other household activities. But the security is a big issue. The data collected by the IOT- gadgets needs to be kept secure as much as possible. Only then can these devices be truly useful.
Futurite aims to bring high quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education to school students in India. Our mission is to use cutting-edge technologies such as Robotics and 3D Printing to impart a thorough grounding in STEM subjects and concepts to school students while making their learning experience fun, engaging and hands-on. Futurite has been operating in Dubai successfully (as Premier Genie) since a number of years, working with over 25 of the top international schools and teaching 1000+ students. Futurite has been founded by alumni from IIT, IIM, JU and HEC Paris.
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