Kevin Ashton first introduced the term Internet of Things during a presentation for Procter & Gamble back in 1999, though its development took several years of low-power chips and wireless technologies like 2G/3G/4G/5G cellular networks and protocols such as LoRaWAN or LTE-M protocols to make IoT work at scale.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things refers to an interconnected system of physical objects equipped with sensors that monitor and communicate over wired (Ethernet) or wireless (Wi-Fi, cellular and satellite) networks. These sensors collect environmental data and transmit it back to computing systems so that action may be taken, such as turning on lights or tracking packages.
IoT devices can gather and store vast amounts of data, making them attractive to businesses that need to track inventory or assets in remote locations. Furthermore, these devices help businesses ensure worker safety; examples include mines, oil and gas fields and chemical/power plants using IoT to monitor operations around critical infrastructure.
Most IoT communications begin at the device level and flow through an edge gateway before being routed to a network server for processing such as de-duplication and conversion of special protocol formats. Some vendors provide comprehensive IoT platforms that manage connectivity among devices, gateways, and application layers.
How are IoT devices connected?
IoT devices feature sensors that collect data, and actuators that respond accordingly. Sensors may monitor changes to temperature, light or motion levels in their surroundings while actuators perform tasks such as turning on motors or opening doors.
These devices connect via wired (such as Ethernet ) or wireless networks (Wi-Fi or cellular) with computing systems for monitoring and management, giving computers access to this information that may then be collected and utilized for various applications ranging from predictive maintenance in industrial settings to remote monitoring of medical equipment or patient health.
IoT devices also provide real-time data that enables businesses to make better decisions, for instance a smart building can reduce energy costs by automatically adjusting temperature according to occupancy levels, while improving patient outcomes by giving physicians access to more accurate data about patient conditions. Machine learning and analytics techniques also offer businesses additional value from IoT data collected.
What are the benefits of IoT?
IoT devices generate and transmit massive amounts of data, with analyst firm IDC projecting that they will produce 79.4 Zettabytes over five years – from short bursts like alerting a trash bin when its full to continuous monitoring — essential in certain applications like ride sharing services.
Businesses of any size that deploy an IoT network reap benefits in cost reduction, increased productivity and competitive advantages from adopting IoT technologies – according to McKinsey 46% of business leaders who have implemented such technologies have reported efficiency gains as a result of adopting such solutions.
IoT initiatives that focus on outcome-focused and pain point resolution typically see greater returns on investment; for instance, construction firms that deploy IoT sensors to track tunneling progress may complete projects faster and avoid going over budget.
What are the challenges of IoT?
IoT industry is experiencing rapid expansion. Tech analyst firm IDC predicts that connected “things” will generate an astounding 79.4 Zettabytes or 79 Trillion Gigabytes worth of data traffic by 2024; managing such vast amounts of information requires significant processing power.
IoT devices produce data in multiple forms, from numeric values from sensors to video streams from security cameras. Due to this diversity, sophisticated IoT data integration techniques must be put in place so that disparate forms of information can be combined and analyzed effectively.
IoT development requires high bandwidth and low latency connections to allow for continuous monitoring, enabling companies to detect equipment prone to failing quickly, respond promptly, and even create new business models such as product-as-a-service.
No matter the nature of your IoT project or system upgrade, consulting a partner experienced with IoT development and testing will save you from quality issues, project failure, and lengthy completion times.