Internet of Things is the next big thing after the World Wide Web and mobile apps revolution. The world now has a growing appetite for connected things. People need their everyday objects like washing machines, remote control, rooms, furniture and cutlery to be “smart” and connected. There are activity and health trackers which help people in achieving their fitness goals. There are smart alarm clocks and assistants which help you in your everyday tasks. These are all the marvels of Internet of Things. Ever wondered how this amazing technology works? In this article we will talk about the technology behind Internet of Things.
Connectivity powers the Internet of Things technology and its whole ecosystem. Most of the IOT devices are based on IPv6 enabled protocols which communicate via sensors. Every IOT device has sensors, to take and communicate data with different outlets. There are various protocols used for IOT commutation, including XMPP and Data Distribution Service (DDS).These protocols are based on data-centric middleware standards and embedded applications to deliver millions of data packets in seconds.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is used to identify the signals for data from radio waves. These waves pack information which are then decoded using soft QR codes and digitized tokens. RFID is a two-way radio transmitter device which is installed in almost every IOT device so that the device could efficiently take data, process it and save it in RFID middle ware from where further processing takes place.
This technology is used mostly in home automation systems. This technology consists of different modules loaded with convertors for efficient energy consumption and gated communications.
NFC(Near Field Communication)
NFC is a pretty famous technology that is also used in mobile phones, payment gateways and security systems. NFC is used in IOT devices for security, identification and data transfer. NFC works on two things: imitator and end targets. An active RF field is generated by initiator and the communication is done to the target based on P2P communicating mode.
Bluetooth is used in IOT to transfer data via short-wavelength transmissions in between different devices. IOT Bluetooth works mostly on ISM band from 2400–2480 MHz.
Wireless SoC (system on chip)
Internet of Things devices are based on a hardware technology known as ‘System on Chip’, which could work as a standalone computer and all in one device, having transmissions protocols such as TCP, UDP and IP powered on the chip for security and microcontroller-based data communication.
Riot OS is a special operating system software made for Internet of Things (IOT) devices. This OS is a specially designed software suite that is able to work on microkernel with increased modularity and delegation power. It supports RDP, UDP, TCP and many other technologies and communication modes.
Data Brokers play a key role in IOT devices these days. One such data broker software is ThingWorx. This software gives design, runtime limits, and intelligence environment to IOT and provides M2M applications and hierarchy to the connections between different data layers in IOT.
Sense of a complete platform for IOT-based development. All IOT enthusiasts who want to design and test their own devices and software can test and use this platform. It supports IOT installation, testing and scope-based programs. This platform is completely free.
MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport)
This protocol lies at the center of the high-end IOT devices, and is mainly used for telemetry, or remote monitoring of devices in the industry. This protocol makes sure that information from all the devices connection via D2D platform is gathered and funneled to the IOT central server for processing.
Sensors are the centerpiece of any IOT device. A sensor is a device that communicates via signals based on electrical, optical, or digital data and waves. Sensors transfer data to other devices or services. Sensor has a device called “actuator” which converts electrical signal into actionable data. Another device in sensor is “transducer” which converts energy of multiple forms into different types.
This is a new concept in IOT domain, and involves doing analysis based on data. Augmented Reality is at work at this stage of IOT. The system incorporates multiple variants of the connected ecosystem to come up with the best possible outcome. There are different kinds of tools used at this level of data process. For example, descriptive analytics are used to process data at a detailed level with data visualization. Tools such as Tableau and SAS Visual Analytics are used to cull huge data sets and transform them to chunks that could be used for actionable information. Predictive analytics is used to predict the system outcomes by making correlations with related or apparently unrelated data variables. This is where disruptive technologies like Machine Learning are used. This real of technology is basically the pathway of Artificial Intelligence.
Speech Recognition is an amazing technology that is exploited to its fullest potentialities in IOT. The real challenge is to cut through diverse accents, background noise, homophones and make the system reach to the actionable information. IOT devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo are based on the speech recognition mechanics.
How IOT Works?
There are complex algorithms and technical dynamics working beneath the user layers of IOT, but simply put, IOT things works mainly on embedded sensors, processors, communication hardware and software. The “connected” devices convey data to humans or machines (machine to machine) using sensors. Connections are made via Wi-Fi, mobile data or wired Ethernet cables. Tagging technologies including RFID tags, QR codes and barcodes to obtain data and identify objects in the connected system. So imagine you are sitting in your office, without knowing that the flood or seepage water is silently making its way through your basement. But you are smart, and have a moisture detector in your basement. This detector will have a sensor, which collaborate with the on-system OS or service that is keeping an eye on temperature. The sensor will also take into account the level of water flow through pipes. If there is a massive influx on water through pipes, the sensor will signal a valve shut sign to the hardware device of the IOT system. But in our case, the system will generate a message to the app to alert you, or perform other actions that are programmed in the system.
Application of IOT in the modern times
Here is a chart detailing the famous IOT devices and technologies being used in the industry at the moment:
Examples of IOT in Action
In a previous post we mentioned some of the best Internet of Things technologies that you could actually buy right now. Just to re-plug and give you an idea of the examples of all the IOT technologies in real life, here are 3 of the best devices and systems to see IOT in action in different realms of life like home, fitness and life.
Canary is the best, hands down IOT security system which combines audio, motion detection, night vision, a siren, humidity and minute factors you could possibly imagine to keep an eye on your premises.
This is perhaps the most famous IOT device which people actually use in the US. Amazon Echo has become a household name. It is basically your assistant, which helps you in tasks like booking a flight, controlling home temperature, changing songs and playlists, searching the internet and much more. Just say “Alexa, search the cheapest flights to Miami” and it will be done. Alexa is the name of the assistant app that works with Echo.
It’s an IOT fitness tracker that tracks your activity and gives information in the form of data and graphs, showing how many steps you took, how many miles you ran.