We have already heard of the word called internet. It is the connection of all computers to share information with each other. This connection is spread across the world. But, for now we know that only Personal Computers (PC) and smartphones can only be connected.
This is because, whenever we see people working on internet, they use either PC or smartphones. But as internet has improved, the scene is changing. The changing scene is that, not only PC and smartphones can be connected, but other things can also be a part of internet.
Other things include sound, camera, motion sensors, wrist watches, home stuffs etc. Home stuffs include lights, fridge, AC, TV, vehicles, etc. All these are called IoT devices.
The role of these IoT devices is to collect information from surroundings. Then, send these information to some systems for processing. These systems does some calculations, makes some decisions and show the results to user.
Therefore to collect information from IoT devices and send it to the systems, they must be connected to each other. So, to make this possible, internet is needed. But there can be a number of IoT devices involved. Hence, a method is needed to make these devices unique from each other.
So every IoT Device has a unique address called object address. It is like an IP address or physical address. Object Naming Service (ONS) handles the addresses of all IoT devices. ONS manages to create new unique address if a new device gets added.
Characteristics of Internet of Things
Without connection, IoT does not survive. Therefore for IoT system to exist, all IoT devices and processing systems must be connected to each other. Then only sensors can send data to systems to check and give results accordingly.
The connection can be wired or wireless. Wired connection uses cables, power lines, etc. Whereas, wireless connection can use Bluetooth, WiFi, etc. Bluetooth and WiFi chips and modules are available for this.
The IoT devices not only collects information and shares it to system. It also communicates with each other by exchanging information. This is needed where data of one IoT device depends on data of other IoT device.
For example, a camera sensor wants to check some activities happening in the surroundings. For that it communicates with sound sensor by checking its data. If camera sensor finds non-zero value in sound sensor, then it starts moving to check the place.
IoT devices from time to time are also getting improved. In the beginning, these devices can only collect the data and send it to processing systems. But since processing system receives data from other sensors also, therefore it becomes busy. So, sometimes it makes some devices to wait for some time.
As a result, the speed of entire IoT systems slows down. To avoid this, sensors are also made smart. Now the sensors not only can collect and send data, but also can make decisions on it.
Though, it cannot process to the level of systems, but can check whether data is correct or not based on system requirements.
4. Hybrid Nature
When compared to internet of computers, internet of things proves to be hybrid. Because in internet of computers only one kind of device is involved. But in internet of things, the devices which are involved are completely different from each other.
For example, take camera sensor and sound sensor. Both these devices deals with entirely different kind of data. Still they are involved in IoT network and are coordinating with each other.
Another example are home stuffs. Take AC and TV. Both have completely different objectives. One’s objective is to cool the room and other’s is to entertain people. Still they are involved in internet to share their power consumption.
5. Adjusting Capability
Camera and sound sensors are usually placed outside buildings like doors, roofs, poles etc. So this environment changes in summer, winter and rainy season. Temperature, pressure and humidity changes due to this.
Therefore these sensors, being a machine can malfunction due to moisture, heat and rust. So devices are especially made to be immune from these changes. Therefore they adjust themselves according to changing environment and work continuously.
Where is IoT Applied?
1. Home Automation (HA)
Home Automation means controlling all home equipment using one device. You can control lights, TV, AC, washing machines, etc using a smartphone. Not only you can control, but HA can also detect whether there is a need to switch on home appliances or not.
Suppose, in a summer, you are outside and reaching home within 5 minutes. Using HA, you can send a message to switch AC on. So, when you reach home, the room becomes cool.
Also, using HA, you find whether home resources are available or not. For example, if your fridge has no milk and you are outside, then through HA, you get a message that milk is not available. Therefore, you can purchase it without having to remember.
HA is especially beneficial to senior citizens. Old people who find difficulty to walk can use smartphones to switch on or off fans, lights, TV, etc.
2. Monitoring Factory Machines
IoT can help to check whether machines are working properly or not. This is possible by embedding sensors to each machine. These include sound, camera, thermal, motion sensors, etc. These sensors continuously checks whether machines are running or not.
Sound sensors can find noises in machines. Camera sensors can find whether fittings are tight or not. Thermal sensors can take care that machine is not overheating. Motion sensors can find whether machine is running smoothly or not.
Based on the data collected by each sensors, actions can be taken accordingly. These sensors can either send notifications or alarms to computers or can take corrective actions.
To take corrective actions, it sends data to some big systems. These systems can take complex decisions to come up with some most accurate actions.
3. Smart Cities
Smart Cities are one of the biggest application. IoT helps to check traffic conditions, find emergency situations, accidents, etc. Smart sensors like smart CCTV cameras are embedded at poles, ATM, shop doors, traffic signals etc to check city conditions.
For example if any accident occurs, smart camera will find it and sends a message to nearest ambulance and police points.
Let us take another case. If someone breaks traffic rules by breaking traffic signals, then smart cameras will come into play. This camera records the vehicle, extracts image of number plate and sends to police station.
Systems in police station will read this number plate, identifies the owner’s address and sends fine to pay.
4. Weather Prediction
With the help of pressure, thermal and moisture sensors, etc, IoT can do the prediction. For that, it continuously reads pressure, temperature, humidity, etc. These sensor sends the data to a special weather system.
The special weather system then makes a pattern. Using this pattern, it detects future data to some extent. Then after processing this future data, it gives a message whether there will be rain, storms or not in the coming days.
If pattern prediction is strong and accurate, it can predict weather for large coming days.
In this some special sensors are used in the soil. These sensors find the fertility, moisture contents, pesticide contents in the soil. Accordingly, the system notifies whether the land is cultivable or not.
Not only this, these sensors are connected with a special system which again collects data continuously. Using this data, the system creates a pattern and checks it. By studying the pattern, the system identifies the time taken by soil to become fertile.
Accordingly using current date and time taken by the soil to become fertile, the system can tell the right time in which the land could be cultivated.
This sensor can also be installed in the drip system. The sensor continuously checks the moisture contents of the soil. If it is below a threshold value, then drip system activates and soil is watered.
The main advantage the water getting saved from unnecessary feeding to the soil even if it is perfectly moisturized.