What is the Internet of Things or IoT for short?
In this article we’ll look at IoT or Internet of Things in the following contexts:
For many years people have been using the internet to communicate and share with other people. With advances in computers making them so small and cost effective, now we are seeing more and more machines joining the internet to communicate with each other and interacting with people. While not new, the Internet of Things is fast growing in popularity with many new opportunities to have machine to machine collaboration improve how things work.
Both in and around the home, in manufacturing, in freight and logistics, aerospace, and many more industries IoT (Internet of Things) or M2M (Machine to Machine) communication using the Internet is opening doors.
Imagine driving home in your car. Your car is telling your house where it is and who’s in the car. Your about 15 minutes away and the house starts getting ready for your arrival. It’s cold so it turns on the heating. It turns on the oven to start cooking the roast. All the time sending back messages to the car which in a Siri like manner lets you know what the house is doing.
When your about 50 meters away the garage doors open ready for your arrival. As you pull into the garage, the house alarm turns off and the doors unlock.
This is made possible because the car has a GPS and is connected to the Internet via the 4G phone network. Many of the appliances in the house have small computers in them that communicate to the main controller in the house. All these Things are using the Internet to communicate with each other to make your life more enjoyable.
A hotel has sensors that show how much beer is flowing and when. These sensors send the information to the cloud where it’s stored and matched with the sales data from the cash registers. At the same time it’s taking in information from temperature and humidity sensors that also send information to the cloud.
Over time it learns that the weather impacts on what customers buy and can start to predict what will be needed. Along with stock levels, the information is sent through to the brewers and the freight logistics systems so enough stock can be sent to the hotel in anticipation.
Physical security is another area of growth with IoT. Remote camera’s that sense people and regognise the faces they see is now achievable with simple of the shelf products like the Raspberry Pi with a camera module attached. When added to a home or office automation system brings even more benifit. Add some movement sensing to a camera it only needs to operate when something is there to check.
This is an area of significant size in the whole of the IoT industry. For us the most exiting part is the ability to see more detail of in home and in office electricity useage. As one of the bigest costs, electricity is something most people have an interest in reducing. The more data that can be collected the better the decissions are.
I don’t think anyone can really work out how many things are already connected to the Internet today, however many experts in the field like Gartner have suggested in 2020 there will be some 5.8 billion devices connected to the Internet. Our small team has already connected thousands of things to this Internet of Things.
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