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The Internet of Things. What is it and how it works?

Have you ever wondered what will happen if one day all of your electronic devices starts talking to each other? And to you as well? Sounds cool right?

Assume your wake up alarm is connected to your water heater which is connected to your bread toaster and music system, and everything is connected to the internet, working in coordination with each other for your comfort. So that as you wake up in the morning, you will get a warm shower, and soon after that a hot meal while listening to your favorite music. Well that’s just one example of Internet of Things.

Internet of Things is a system of systems, in other words, all the electronic devices will be connected to each other in a local area forming a system. Further these systems connect to each other, they will be forming a bigger network system that is the Building Blocks of IoT.

  • End devices or node, are an essential part of the IoT, they are the things of IoT. Generally, these are active sensing devices and actuators which are responsible of the data collection. Furthermore, they perform ground level processing.
    For examples, the temperature sensors in an apartment, RFID sensors in a common store, or cameras in the highways and so on…
  • Gateways or local processing nodes. It connects the end node to the network or cloud. Ideally it should not only transfer the data collected from the sensors to the clouds. It should process it to some extent, and then forward the relevant data to be cloud for making predictions and inferences when needed. It also provides the intelligence to the end nodes by sending back the data received from the applications or cloud.
  • Connectivity is an essential part of IoT. Lots of providers are suggesting many solutions around IoT to connect the end nodes to the gateways and then to the cloud. As this is a duplex system means the communication works between applications and hardware. Data or signal also flows in reverse. The connectivity could be a combination of wireless and wired technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, radiofrequency, GSM, ZigBee and so on…
  • Cloud-based application and storage. Cloud or the cloud based applications job is to compute the collected data, analyze it and make inferences and prediction.

The various sensors, or the end nodes, collect the data from the field, provided then to the Gateway or the local processing unit for a low-level processing and filtering, and then the Gateway sends the result to the connected cloud for in-depth data analysis and to make interpretations. The inferences can be fed back to the sensors or the end nodes and can also be sent to the business application for continuous improvement. The devices are connected via the Internet all the time and can communicate seamlessly with each other so that they can make any real-time change when needed.

By 2020, it is assumed that approximately 50 billion products will be connected to the internet. That will be more than six objects per person, or in other words, six times more equipment than the world population would be. Very soon all the electronic devices produced will be IoT enabled, therefor, devices will come with sensors and actuators making our life more and more convenient and efficient. The development scenario will depend solely on our need and the creativity of the developers. IoT is going to be big, very big, and very soon, hopefully not, taking all the controls and steer the human race.

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