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Introduction to Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects or people called “things” that are embedded with software, electronics, network, and sensors that allows these objects to collect and exchange data. Things communicate directly with each other — Machine to Machine (M2M). The goal is to extend to internet connectivity from standard devices like computer, mobile, tablet to relatively dumb devices like a toaster. In other words, transformation to make physical environments accessible to digital computers.

IoT makes virtually everything “smart”, by improving aspects of our life with the power of data collection, AI algorithm, and networks.

How it works?

The entire IoT process starts with the devices themselves like smartphones. smartwatches, electronic appliances like refrigerator, TV, washing machine etc.., which helps you to communicate with the IoT platform. Let’s now learn about the main four fundamental components of an IoT systems :

1. Sensors /Devices

Sensors or devices are a key components that helps you to collect live data from the surrounding environment. All this data may have various level of complexities. It could be a simple temperature monitoring sensor or int may be in the form of the video feed.

A device may have various types of sensors which performs multiple tasks apart from sensing. Example, A mobile phone is a device which has multiple sensors like GPS, camera but your smartphone is not able to sense these things.

2. Connectivity

All the collected data is sent to a cloud infrastructure. The sensors should be connected to the cloud using various mediums of communications. These communication mediums include mobile or satellite networks, Bluetooth, WIFI, WAN etc..,

3. Data Processing

Once the data is collected, and it gets to the cloud, the software performs processing on the gathered data. This process can be just checking the temperature, reading on devices like AC or heaters. However, it can sometimes also be very complex like identifying objects, using computer vision on video.

4. User Interface

The information needs to be available to the end user in some way which can be achieved by triggering alarms on their phones or sending them notification through or text message. The user sometimes might need an interface which actively checks their IoT system. The user has a camera in home and access video recording with the helps all the feeds from web server.

It’s not always one-way communication. Depending on the IoT and complexity of the system, the user may also be able to perform an action which may create cascading effects.

Challenges of Internet of Things (IoT)

  1. Insufficient testing and updating

  2. Concern regarding data security and privacy

  3. Software complexity

  4. Data volumes and interpretation

  5. Integration with AI and automation

  6. Devices require a constant power supply which is difficult

  7. Interaction and short-range communication

Advantages of IoT

  1. Technical Optimization : It helps a lot in improving technologies and making them better. A Manufacturer is able to collect data from various car sensors. The manufacturer analyzes them to improve its design and make them more efficient.

  2. Improved Data Collection : It facilitates immediate action on data whereas traditional data collection has its limitations and its design for passive use.

  3. Reduced Waste : Its offers real-time information leading to effective decision making and management of resources. A manufacturer finds an issue in multiple car engines, can track the manufacturing plan for those engines and solve this issue with the manufacturing belt.

  4. Improved Customer Engagement : IoT allows you to improve customer experience by detecting problems and improving the process.

Disadvantages of IoT

  1. Security : It creates an ecosystem of connected devices. During the process, the system may also offer little authentication control despite sufficient security measures.

  2. Privacy : The use of IoT, exposes a substantial amount of personal data without the user’s active participation. this creates lots of privacy issues.

  3. Flexibility : There is a huge concern regarding the flexibility of an IoT system. It is mainly regarding integrating with another system as there are many diverse systems involved in the process.

  4. Complexity : The design of the IoT system is also quite complicated. It’s deployment and maintenance also not very easy.

  5. Compliance : IoT has its own set of rules and regulations. Because of its complexity, the task of compliance is quite challenging.

IoT Best Practices

  1. Design products for reliability and security

  2. Use strong authentication and security protocols

  3. Disable non-essentials services

  4. Ensure Internet-managed, and IoT management hubs & services are secured

  5. Energy efficient algorithms should be designed for the system to be active longer

Summary : IoT as a tool for the future

  1. In the IoT, devices communicate directly with each other over the Internet (M2M); this allows tasks and processes to be automated without the interventions of humans

  2. The applications of IoT ranges from smart homes and fully automated industrial plants to self-care autonomous vehicles.

  3. Different technological standards, expandable online security and lack of data protection and privacy regulations are some areas on which our lawmakers and modern IoT should focus.

  4. IoT works hand in hand with a variety of different new technologies such as AI, blockchain or cloud & Edge computing as they complement each other.

  5. Applications of IoT will change almost all areas of our lives. Be it in Smart Cities, mobility or Industry

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