The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a system of interrelated, internet-connected objects that are able to collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention. The personal or business possibilities are endless.
What is things in IoT?
A thing, in the context of the Internet of things (IoT), is an entity or physical object that has a unique identifier, an embedded system and the ability to transfer data over a network.
“The Internet of Things (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.”
How IoT works
An IoT ecosystem consists of web-enabled smart devices that use embedded systems, such as processors, sensors and communication hardware, to collect, send and act on data they acquire from their environments. IoT devices share the sensor data they collect by connecting to an IoT gateway or other edge device where data is either sent to the cloud to be analyzed or analyzed locally. Sometimes, these devices communicate with other related devices and act on the information they get from one another. The devices do most of the work without human intervention, although people can interact with the devices -- for instance, to set them up, give them instructions or access the data.
The connectivity, networking and communication protocols used with these web-enabled devices largely depend on the specific IoT applications deployed.
IoT can also make use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to aid in making data collecting processes easier and more dynamic.
Why IoT is important
The internet of things helps people live and work smarter, as well as gain complete control over their lives. In addition to offering smart devices to automate homes, IoT is essential to business. IoT provides businesses with a real-time look into how their systems really work, delivering insights into everything from the performance of machines to supply chain and logistics operations.
IoT enables companies to automate processes and reduce labor costs. It also cuts down on waste and improves service delivery, making it less expensive to manufacture and deliver goods, as well as offering transparency into customer transactions.
As such, IoT is one of the most important technologies of everyday life, and it will continue to pick up steam as more businesses realize the potential of connected devices to keep them competitive.
What Technologies Have Made IoT Possible?
While the idea of IoT has been in existence for a long time, a collection of recent advances in a number of different technologies has made it practical.
· Access to low-cost, low-power sensor technology. Affordable and reliable sensors are making IoT technology possible for more manufacturers.
· Connectivity. A host of network protocols for the internet has made it easy to connect sensors to the cloud and to other “things” for efficient data transfer.
· Cloud computing platforms. The increase in the availability of cloud platforms enables both businesses and consumers to access the infrastructure they need to scale up without actually having to manage it all.
· Machine learning and analytics. With advances in machine learning and analytics, along with access to varied and vast amounts of data stored in the cloud, businesses can gather insights faster and more easily. The emergence of these allied technologies continues to push the boundaries of IoT and the data produced by IoT also feeds these technologies.
· Conversational artificial intelligence (AI). Advances in neural networks have brought natural-language processing (NLP) to IoT devices (such as digital personal assistants Alexa, Cortana, and Siri) and made them appealing, affordable, and viable for home use.
What Is Industrial IoT?
Industrial IoT (IIoT) refers to the application of IoT technology in industrial settings, especially with respect to instrumentation and control of sensors and devices that engage cloud technologies. Refer to this Titan use case for a good example of IIoT. Recently, industries have used machine-to-machine communication (M2M) to achieve wireless automation and control. But with the emergence of cloud and allied technologies (such as analytics and machine learning), industries can achieve a new automation layer and with it create new revenue and business models. IIoT is sometimes called the fourth wave of the industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0. The following are some common uses for IIoT:
· Smart manufacturing
· Connected assets and preventive and predictive maintenance
· Smart power grids
· Smart cities
· Connected logistics
· Smart digital supply chains