Key Mechanisms of IoT

May 26, 2016
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Contributor: Laila Afreen

The concept of IoT is not a new one. Rather it existed as far back as 1982 when Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science Department came up with the internet – connected Coke vending machine. The machine allowed incumbents to view its inventory and to check whether the drinks were cold enough to consume.

Despite the presence, the concept started to gather momentum only in 2011 with the Nest Thermostat which witnessed some bang on sales with over 1 million units sold so far. While in the intervening decades, the concept of IoT made appearances in the form of the internet – connected toaster, a stock market volume and price trends mimicking fountain and then finally with the RFID tags in 1999 when the term  ‘Internet of Things’ was coined by Kevin Ashton of Auto – ID Centre. With all this talk about IoT, let us wrap our heads around the core elements that makes it functional.

Sensing

To kick start the activity process of IoT devices, information needs to be gathered from the various devices via sensors.These devices can be wearable, wall mounted or common household appliances. Information ‘sensed’ can be motion, biometric, temperature, pressure, optical, proximity etc.The sensing technology employed here needs to match the type of information the device is intended to gather.

Communication

The ball starts to roll when the information gathered is transmitted to a cloud platform, by way of gateways. Gateways, in essence,translates protocol into a singular protocol and manages various interoperability tasks. These devices bridge data from those devices which lack:

  • Routable internet connectivity.
  • Sufficient electric power to transmit data onto the cloud.
  • Processing capabilities that hinders interaction with the various Application Process Interfaces (API).

Data Collection and Amalgamation

The data collected is further processed into relevant, meaningful and manageable data (generally Big data) and stored over a cloud platform.Vendors such as Microsoft, Dell, Oracle, Intel and Cisco are already dabbling into use case specific projects to provide customized cloud services. IoT data management on cloud platform is illustrated below.

IoT data management on cloud platform

Data Delivery

The final step is the delivery of comprehensible information to the end user.The data disseminated, must be done in a simple, transparent manner. This can be achieved by some cleverly designed user interface that is easy to use and understand while ensuring enhanced interoperability over multiple devices and operating systems.

If one is able to patch together the above components, the result is a harmonious entity that grows more intelligent over time as it learns more. This has drastically transformed the way businesses are currently run. To know more on this, please look up my previous write up on IoT: The Next Frontier for Businesses.

I hope that helps. Please check some other blogs on web and mobile app development.

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