What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Have you ever think about a network where all the electronic devices are connected with internet with a unique ID? It may be your coffee machine, Television, washing machine, your office printer, your alarm clock or wearable devices. With that network you will get a lot of live information and if you allow and program these devices, it will automatically take further action. For example if your washing machine detects some problem in self-diagnosis it will automatically call maintenance person. If your car is facing a lot of traffic, it will text a message to destination that you are late. This concept is called Internet of Things (IoT).
Internet of Things (IoT) definition
Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical devices that can communicate with each other. These devices can collect and exchange data from other IoT devices. In IoT system any object or device can be sense and control remotely over IoT network.
History of Internet of Things (IoT) concept:
Early in 1982 concept of “Smart device`s Network” was discussed. First Internet connected appliances was a Coke machine. At that time temperature of coke was accessible on internet. After that in 1999 a white paper on “Device to device (D2D) communication” represented by “Bill Joy”. It was a part of “Six Webs” frame works.
IoT became popular when “Radio frequency Identifier (RFID)” came in to picture. In fact that we are living in the era of many electronic devices and many of them is connected to internet. So the concept of IoT is not new. On the other words we can say it started from the beginning of Internet.
The Solution of “Basket of remotes” problem
If we talk about the control of electronic devices, it was predicted that near in future we are going to face a problem called “Basket of Remotes” because each and every electronic device has its own control mechanism and it has its own remote. Suppose if you are using a smart fan and Television, you have to keep two remotes one for your smart fan and other for your Television. But it you are using Television, Air Conditioner, Smart Lights, Fans and other remote controlled devices then probably you have to keep a basket of remotes. And day by day this basket will be bigger. To solve this problem “Internet of Things” is a very good option. By using Internet of Things all devices will be on same platform and can be control easily.
How Internet of Things (IoT) works and its application
Before evolution of IoT all available data on internet was captured by human beings by typing or pressing record button. Till now on Internet around 50 petabytes (1 petabyte = 1024 terabyte) data are available which was created and captured by humans. But the problem with available data is that it is not accurate because humans have limited time and they are not efficient in data capturing for real world. But these devices are capable to capture data efficiently. And this accurate data can be used in decision making. IoT working is based on its data capturing mechanism and further taking action which was programed by user. IoT devices can capture real time data with help different technologies and protocols.
Internet of Things (IoT) Technology
Internet of things (IoT) frame work is more or less similar to distributed computing. It is also focused on real time data logging like “Jasper Technology”
Future development of “Internet of things (IoT)” depends on software technology and platform where all available devises could communicate with each other and perform a better element of a network. No doubt its architecture and protocols always play an important role in this. Now newer platforms are more intelligent. Recently IBM has launched a new platform, called “cognitive IoT”. It combines traditional IoT devices and also covers Industrial IoT machines and even it supports a simple natural language processing. Similarly XMPP is providing an open source framework which can be used to develop IoT system.
Internet of Things (IoT) Architecture
IoT Architecture is similar to Event driven Architecture (EDA). Event Driven Architecture (EDA) is used in software development. To understand EDA the best example is an online shopping application. Consider that same with IoT, when in online shopping any user purchases any material, status of that material change from “for sale” to “sold” and it will update to all connected user. It is also called “bottom to top approach” means purchasing of material is nothing but an event for system and it generates a message to all connected user.
Internet of Things (IoT) Network
Think about the network of 100 billion devices. Really it will be the data burst on internet. So it is clear that IoT more scalability in Network. IPv6 is going to play a major role for IoT because IPv6 is capable for network space scalability over its application layer. But it will work only on upper layer of IoT system or you can say it will work on “web of things”. On the device level there are many other network protocol which will work together for communication.
Internet of Things (IoT) devices Protocols
Protocol is important for device to device communication. They are basic bricks of Internet of things (IoT). Some well-known protocol like wifi, Zig-Bee, cellular and even more are frequently used to develop these devices. Here I will share some well-known protocols which are used in many IoT devices.
Bluetooth Smart or BLE Protocol
Everyone is familiar with Bluetooth. It is used as a essential communication part of mobile phones. Now a day it is common in wearable devices. But Bluetooth Smart or BLE is a new version of this well-known protocol. It is specially develop for IoT devices. It is a low power consumption protocol and design for small data transfer.
- Standard: Bluetooth 4.2 core specification
- Frequency: 2.4GHz (ISM)
- Range: 50-150m (Smart/BLE)
- Data Rates: 1Mbps (Smart/BLE)
ZigBee PRO Protocol
ZigBee is also a well-known protocol and its module installed in many IoT devices. It I based on IEEE802.15.4 standard. ZigBee PRO or ZigBee/RF4CE is low power variant and design for IoT devices. It is used in industry for machine to machine (m2m) communication.
- Standard: ZigBee 3.0 based on IEEE802.15.4
- Frequency: 2.4GHz
- Range: 10-100m
- Data Rates: 250kbps
Z-Wave Protocol is primary designed for small appliances or you can say it was designed for home Automation but it is also used for IoT devices. It is a low power short range data transfer protocol.
- Standard: Z-Wave Alliance ZAD12837 / ITU-T G.9959
- Frequency: 900MHz (ISM)
- Range: 30m
- Data Rates: 9.6/40/100kbit/s
Related Article: What is Z-Wave Protocol?
6LoWPAN stands for IPv6 Low Power Personal Area Network. It is a network protocol. It is used for encapsulation of data over Network in Application layer.
- Standard: RFC6282
- Frequency: (adapted and used over a variety of other networking media including Bluetooth Smart (2.4GHz) or ZigBee or low-power RF (sub-1GHz)
- Range: N/A
- Data Rates: N/A
It is a royalty free protocol launched in May 2014. Basically it is a variant of IPv6 Protocol. It is primarily designed for IoT devices.
- Standard: Thread, based on IEEE802.15.4 and 6LowPAN
- Frequency: 2.4GHz (ISM)
- Range: N/A
- Data Rates: N/A
Wifi is used in many devices but it consumes a lot of power. That’s the reason it is not suitable for battery operated IoT devices. It is good for file transfer. Basically it was designed for short range and huge data transfer. But it is used in wearable devices and mobile phones.
- Standard: Based on 802.11n (most common usage in homes today)
- Frequencies: 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
- Range: Approximately 50m
- Data Rates: 600 Mbps maximum, but 150-200Mbps is more typical, depending on channel frequency used and number of antennas (latest 802.11-ac standard should offer 500Mbps to 1Gbps)
Cellular Protocol is used when IoT device need to send data over GSM /3G or 4G network. It helps to communicate over long distance. Cellular Protocol is not design for IoT devices it was design for mobile communication but it is supporting IoT devices.
- Standard: GSM/GPRS/EDGE (2G), UMTS/HSPA (3G), LTE (4G)
- Frequencies: 900/1800/1900/2100MHz
- Range: 35km max for GSM; 200km max for HSPA
- Data Rates (typical download): 35-170kps (GPRS), 120-384kbps (EDGE), 384Kbps-2Mbps (UMTS), 600kbps-10Mbps (HSPA), 3-10Mbps (LTE)
NFC (Near Field Communication) Protocol
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a protocol which is used to communicate between any digital devices to a smartphone or any other device. It is a very short range protocol (communication distance <10cm). It was designed for contact less communication. It also called contact less card technology.
- Standard: ISO/IEC 18000-3
- Frequency: 13.56MHz (ISM)
- Range: 10cm
- Data Rates: 100–420kbps
Sigfox is the solution between WiFi and cellular protocol. It is used to communicate data between machine to machine (m2m). It works on ISM bands and for this band no need to acquire license. Sigfox used Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) technology. This is designed for handling very low data transfer speed (max 1000 bit per second) and for very less consumption of power (50microwatts).
- Standard: Sigfox
- Frequency: 900MHz
- Range: 30-50km (rural environments), 3-10km (urban environments)
- Data Rates: 10-1000bps
Neul Protocol is designed as a replacement of GSM/3G/4G for IoT devices. Its main criteria was long range and low power consumption, so that it can be used in IoT devices. Its concept is similar as Sigfox but it is used a technology called “Weightless”. This “Weightless” technology is new in Wireless Area Network.
- Standard: Neul
- Frequency: 900MHz (ISM), 458MHz (UK), 470-790MHz (White Space)
- Range: 10km
- Data Rates: Few bps up to 100kbps
It is also similar to Sigfox and Neul.but it was designed with a Low Cost Factor and security in bidirectional data transfer.
- Standard: LoRaWAN
- Frequency: Various
- Range: 2-5km (urban environment), 15km (suburban environment)
- Data Rates: 0.3-50 kbps.
Internet of Things (IoT) application and functionality with example
IoT Specialist and Tech guru already predicted that till 2020 more than 30 billion devices will be on IoT system. So the question is how these IoT device`s network will help us? And the answer is, IoT system will work for Environmental monitoring, Infrastructure management, Manufacturing segment, Energy management (Smart Grid), Medical and healthcare systems (Health monitoring), Home automation segment, Transportation and Logistics etc. It has a long list.
To understand the functionality of IoT system, let’s take an example of Environmental Monitoring, here IoT system will collect all data such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, air pollution level, radiation and other data. That data will process and compared with historical data. And it will generate a clear picture of current scenario. It also helps to predict future possibilities.
How to Implement Internet of Things (IoT) in your working Model
This is a very genuine part of IoT. How to implement IoT? Before understanding “How to?” first you should know “Where to implement IoT?” Basically IoT is a communication platform where you can transfer some data with other device at slow speed. If we talk about Robotic, IoT can be used in communicate between two robots. Both Robot will send information of current location and can work as a team or both robot can find each other or can avoid collision to each other. For electronic project you can use IoT for showing some sensor data on your smart phone. Best use of IoT can be in Hoe Automation project.
Implementation of IoT in basic project is not a big deal. It required a microcontroller and IoT module. Here microprocessor is used to convert raw data to Packet Data and vice versa. And IoT module will work as transceiver. In market many modules are available for IoT. After using IoT module you have to program your device as requirement.
Read More: Robotic Programming Language
Other Internet of Things (IoT) resources
For detail information of IoT research can be access from European Research Cluster
TED Talks about Internet of Things (IoT)
Here I will strongly recommend a 17 min video of Dr. John Barrett. He is a Head of Academic Studies at the Nimbus Centre for Embedded Systems Research at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Group Director of the Centre’s Smart Systems Integration Research Group. This video is about Internet of Things (IoT).