Would you believe if I tell you that I switched on my air conditioning system before reaching home or switched off the lights after I leave my office? If your answer is a “no,” you probably haven’t heard of the IoT concept. The last decade has exhibited dynamic and noteworthy developments in the digital and technological areas of human existence. IoT or what we normally call it – Internet of Things – is one of them!
At Two Runs, our core focus lies in enlightening our team members and our clients with the latest technological advancements and anything that amazes you to the extent that you wish to have tangible proof of it. Hence, it is just a humble step to guide you about the concept of the “Internet of Things.”
- 1 What is the Internet of Things?
- 2 IoT Standards and Frameworks
- 2.1 Wondering How Does IoT Benefit Businesses or Organizations?
- 2.2 Real life Internet of Things (IoT) Applications
- 2.3 Internet of Things – Security and Privacy Concerns
What is the Internet of Things?
Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that connects any devices on and off switch to the Internet, including cell phones, washing machines, lamps, coffee makers, toaster and literally anything you can think of. The Internet of Things is a mesh that makes the world around us smarter and digitally responsive, merging the two domains – digital and physical – into one network. This makes these devices more exciting and fun to use that would be otherwise drab and dumb.
The architecture of the Internet of Things consists of Sensors, Gateways and Cloud Servers.
The Sensors in the IoT ecosystem sense any change in temperature, humidity, pressure, motion, light intensity or any other parameter. They might range anything from temperature sensors, humidity sensors, proximity sensors, level sensors, accelerometers to gyroscopes and many others.
IoT Gateway or IoT hub is basically the framework that receives the sensors’ digital signals and sends them over the wireless network to the cloud server. It acts as a connecting point between the sensors and devices, thereby enhancing the security of the overall IoT Network.
The IoT sensors generate a large amount of data on a per-second basis. To store that infinitely extensive data, standard systems cannot help. Therefore, a cloud server is employed, which helps storing and analyzing the data and making it available whenever required.
Mobile Phone or Computer
To access the data and to carry out any changes, a mobile phone or computer is connected in the IoT architecture.
The Network of IoT Working
The nexus of IoT comprises specific devices that use sensors or processors that collect data acquiring from the changes in the setpoint parameters. The IoT collecting device can be a thermostat, a sensor, a microcontroller or an antenna. These devices share the acquired data over an IoT hub or gateway where it is sent to the cloud for the thorough analysis and action. However, in some cases, different related devices are connected externally to communicate and start a feedback mechanism that automatically operates the subsequent tools. This makes the working smooth and seamless without human intervention.
You must be considering IoT as a luxury that you cannot afford. But that’s not right. Internet of Things is not a luxury anymore – it is the need of the hour. It helps the people live and work in a rather smart and organized way, gaining control over the small things in their lives. In addition to automating the home operation, IoT has also strived really hard to improve your working conditions. It connects and integrates different things such as machine’s performance to supply and the logistics, thereby, enabling companies to automate the processes that otherwise needed extensive human labor and its costs.
IoT Standards and Frameworks
The protocols and standards are classified according to the role that they play within the meshwork of IoT. Following are a few examples:
- 6LowPAN standard for connectivity infrastructure
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for Communication infrastructure
- MQTT, CoAP, XMPP standards can help with data transmission
- DTLS standards are for security infrastructure
- LwM2M is used for device management and telemetry
IoT framework is the software on which the entire ecosystem of IoT is built or developed. Different IoT frameworks include:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Arm Mbed
- Azure IoT Suite
- Google’s Brillo
- Calvin by Ericsson
Wondering How Does IoT Benefit Businesses or Organizations?
It’s an essential question because everyone is sparing no effort to take their businesses to heights of success, both physically and digitally. To find the answer, let’s talk on the technical level.
- IoT monitors different business processes and notifies any bugs or issues in any of the operations.
- It helps to save your time by automating the manual processes and those that needed human intervention
- It reduces the cost of manual human labor
- It increases the productivity of working conditions and generates better results
- IoT enables you to make better business decisions
- It helps to generate a significant amount of revenue, thereby improving your profit ratio.
Thus, the Internet of Things is encouraging and strongly emphasizing reconsidering the old orthodox ways and coming up with improved tools to enhance business strategies.
Real life Internet of Things (IoT) Applications
IoT is getting popularity day by day in carrying out certain automatic operations in homes, health care systems, agriculture, businesses, communities and even cities.
A smart home is actually a remarkable addition of IoT to the consumer section. These homes are known as “Smart Homes” because, just as your Smartphone, they are equipped with specific automatic systems such as smart appliances. Even the heating, lighting and electronic devices can be controlled with your computer or mobile phone.
Health Care Systems
Health Care Systems, particularly pharmacies, manage their inventory with IoT. It is an effective way of keeping your stock full in case of any lockdowns or shortage. In Hospitals, the doctors are better able to monitor the patients by analyzing the data that the IoT system generates.
It is incredible how the Internet of Things is helping even the farmers. Introducing digitization into farming, isn’t it exciting? The smart farming techniques monitor light, temperature, moisture and humidity levels with the help of different sensors. It also assists in automating the irrigation of agricultural lands.
Wearables such as Smartwatches are remarkable for collecting and analyzing different information and data. It aims to make life easier and comfortable by providing safety in times of emergency or giving different routes to a particular location in case of too much traffic.
In smart buildings, the air conditioners and heating systems are mostly automated; hence, reducing the energy costs. For example, the sensors in your offices can detect the number of members in your conference room and would adjust your air conditioner accordingly.
The IoT sensors in a smart city include streetlights and smart meters. It helps to tone down the traffic during the rush hours, monitor environmental fluctuations, improve sanitation and, most importantly, conserve energy. The IoT approach is also striving to find a way to monitor the infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways and other things.
Internet of Things – Security and Privacy Concerns
Can you comprehend someone entering your house just because he had access to your toaster? It might sound weird, but with all of your systems being connected with each other can put the security in jeopardy. Any slightest loophole in the meshwork can risk the safety of the whole workplace or home. Every year, we come across several thefts in which the hacker gains access to the user’s smartwatch and locates his position, eavesdrop his conversations and even communicates with the user.
Since the IoT devices are very closely connected, any slight vulnerability in any connection can lead to manipulation of your stored data. Thus, it is quite crucial that manufacturers update their devices regularly. Apart from security concerns, privacy is another major issue. It may ask your name, date of birth, schedule, daily life patterns, and other stuff to operate correctly, but again, all the information you provide is not very safe and private!
Pros and Cons of Internet of Things
Some of the advantages of IoT systems include:
- Remote access to information stored in the cloud
- Improved coordination between different devices
- Automation of tasks leading to enhanced productivity
- Minimal human intervention
- Ability to save both time and money
The disadvantages of IoT include the following points:
- It is complicated for different devices from different manufacturers to collaborate and coordinate with each other effectively.
- IoT system is not secure enough, and any vulnerability can pose a threat to the whole network. As the number of devices increase, the system becomes more and more susceptible.
- Sometimes, it becomes challenging to manage all the data that IoT systems gather.
- In case of any issue or bug in one device, the whole network will get corrupted and useless.
Conversations are taking place all over the world about IoT and its impacts on our everyday lives and businesses. We seek to understand the opportunities and challenges that we can encounter if we dive in more into the ecosystem of IoT. In this regard, our experts at Two Runs strongly suggest that we work on the security parameters before we finally unable ourselves to rely on the IoT systems.