CTO Guide: Internet of Things

MARYNA DEMCHENKO

Published: 15 Sep 2020

CTO Guide

The growth of The Internet of Things is undeniable, with an increasing number of industries disrupted by connected things. This technology has become ubiquitous over the past few years, and it continues its expansion. If you feel like the concept of IoT is eluding you, let's take a tour into the IoT world.

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things is a network of connected devices, vehicles, and buildings with built-in electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, through which devices exchange data.

In a nutshell, IoT is an overarching term for all things connected to the Internet.

Smartwatches, smart homes, and smart cities are all a part of IoT. Connected things are able to collect information, perform specific actions, and communicate with each other. Refrigerators analyze their contents and order food when necessary. Cameras on the streets take pictures of people and recognize faces. Cars receive data on traffic jams and bypass them via the best route. It's the ecosystem of connected things. 

What are connected things? 

IoT devices are a familiar concept since we all use things that collect and share data via a network. As such, an IoT device (or a smart device) is anything that can send and receive data via the Internet. The most obvious examples are computers, but in fact, any device can connect to the network - a toaster, coffee machine, bed, heating, and cooling systems. 

Several phenomena are associated with connected devices. For one, machine-to-machine interaction encompasses various things that connect to the network and interact with each other. Second, a massive amount of data generated by connected devices. And third, the problem of data collection, analyzing, and leveraging it to improve comfort or make business decisions. The latter presents a challenge for many organizations as they achieve certain levels of connectivity. 

Key concepts of IoT

Machine-to-machine communication is the foundation of the Internet of Things. It refers to communication between machines and devices (as in exchanging data), without human intervention.

Industry 4.0. This term is associated with one of the Fourth Industrial Revolution's main stages, i.e. the complete production automation. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is different from its predecessors by the computers' ability to communicate without bringing humans into the loop. It facilitates the work of smart factories where only a few people work. 

Smart home. It's a general term for an environment where lighting, radiators, and household electrical appliances are networked and controlled through a smartphone. Smart Home works on the principle of input, processing, and output of information.

Smart city. It's an interconnected system of information and communication technologies with the Internet of Things created by humans to simplify internal city processes management and make the lives of residents more comfortable and safe.

Connected car. It's a vehicle equipped with wired or wireless Internet access. Such a vehicle can communicate with other things, be it your smartphone or road infrastructure.

Wearables. In a nutshell, these are connected devices that we can wear. With embedded internal and external sensors, wearables can track motion, temperature, blood pressure, and other physiological functions. It may be equipped with a camera, GPS, thermometer, etc. Examples include watches and fitness tracking bracelets, glasses, contact lenses, smart fabrics, and jewelry.

Examples of IoT devices

Google Home 

A wireless speaker with voice control from Google. It lets you set up alarms, timers, lights, thermostats, remotely control the volume through Google Assistant. 

Amazon Echo Plus 

A hands-free smart speaker that you control using your voice. It connects to Alexa to play music, make calls, check weather and news, set alarms, control smart home devices, etc.

August Doorbell Cam

August Doorbell Cam Pro lets you answer your door from anywhere. With continuous monitoring of your doorstep, the Doorbell Cam Pro will capture the moments leading up to a motion alert. 

August Smart Lock

A smart Wi-Fi lock that works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple Homekit. It uses wireless technology to allow you to lock or unlock any door in your house via your smartphone. It installs directly into any existing deadbolt in your home, and you control it via an app on your phone or via a web application.

Flow by Plume Labs Air Pollution Monitor

A device that measures the air quality, predicts pollution and plans your commutes with your personal air quality sensor and companion app.

Nest Smoke Alarm

A smoke alarm that alerts you about any emergencies in your home via an app. Nest Protect alerts your phone when something's wrong in case you're not home. 

What are IoT platforms?

Connected devices could not exist without IoT platforms. Platforms enable launching IoT applications and support Internet functions for the applications, including maintenance, analytics, data storage, and security measures. IoT platforms are akin to iOS and Android platforms, providing developers with ready-made solutions that allow to crank out apps quickly. Building an IoT solution, developers can choose from a variety of platforms. Here are the popular choices: 

Amazon Web Services is a commercial, public cloud developed and supported by Amazon. AWS Provides clients with services both on an infrastructure model (virtual servers, storage resources) and a platform level (cloud databases, middleware, cloud serverless computing, development tools).

Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform from Microsoft. It provides the ability to develop, run applications, and store data on servers located in distributed data centers.

ThingWorx is a complete, end-to-end technology platform designed for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). It delivers tools and technologies that empower businesses to develop and deploy robust applications rapidly and augmented reality experiences.

Watson IoT Platform is a managed, cloud-hosted service designed to make it simple to derive value from your IoT devices.

Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud Connect is our new mobility-cloud-based software suite. It offers a complete solution for mobile operators to provide exceptional IoT experiences. Cisco IoT Cloud Connect helps you find new ways to make a profit while fully optimizing and utilizing your networks.

Cisco IoT Cloud Connect is a cloud-based software suite that offers a solution for mobile operators.

Salesforce IoT Cloud is an integrated system that connects to an IoT device with its own customers right in the Salesforce fabric.

Oracle Integrated Cloud consists of an extensive library of adapters between Oracle and third-party SaaS and on-premises applications that allow you to quickly and easily integrate and deliver new business services.

GE Predix is ​​a platform for collecting and analyzing data from industrial machines. General Electric plans to support the high-speed industrial Internet services and stores it offers.

Key areas of IoT

Home and IoT 

Various affordable devices are here to make the lives of homeowners more comfortable and secure. They have to do with:

  • Managing devices remotely by voice or using an app
  • Reducing the cost of electricity and heating bills
  • Preventing fires and gas leaks
  • Dealing with an accident 
  • Protecting the house from burglary

With IoT, we can say that long gone times when we had to set up and control house appliances manually. Today we can switch on the lights or thermostats with a smartphone or enjoy upgraded options like smart fridges that order our favorite food. Smart homes are super safe, too, since they can send a push message to your phone if anything goes wrong. Perhaps your doorbell is already part of IoT and broadcasts video to your smartphone in real-time, notifying you when someone is approaching.

IoT in healthcare

The Internet of Things allows moving to a completely different level of diagnosis and treatment. Nanosensors and smart devices help hospitals monitor the condition of patients remotely. In situations when blood sugar rises, such a system can immediately administer the drug. New technologies will prevent heart attacks and strokes, blood clots, and heart attacks. 

Energy

While the gadgets that let control lighting and temperature remotely seem like nice-to-have things, they also help homeowners cut their bills. Heating, which turns on an hour before you arrive home, can save you up to 50%. All this makes our lives more comfortable and makes it possible to use energy resources economically. Connected lights help homeowners save by turning off automatically when no one is around. On a larger scale, IoT connected devices can put an end to unnecessary energy usage in entire cities. 

IoT in heavy industry

IoT at factories and plants reduces the number of personnel, maximizes resources, and increases income. With connected devices, you can correctly distribute orders and make the most of the equipment while avoiding downtime. This technology can help prevent breakdowns by providing up-to-date information about the equipment condition so that the staff doesn't miss any minor hitch.

Connected cars

Today's cars are part of the IoT ecosystem. They connect to the Internet and rely on sensors and microprocessors. Connected vehicles can control the engine, breaks, tire pressure and exhaust fume composition. 

Technology that connects vehicles and infrastructure can assist the drivers in finding and reserving parking spots. They can also send diagnostic data to the car service center. Empowered by computer vision, vehicles can identify each other, prevent accidents, and facilitate smooth traffic. 

Security and IoT

Ironically, the Internet of Things is here to make the world safe, but it can be vulnerable. So far, a completely secure IoT ecosystem is non-existant. HPE research specifies such typical cracks in security as weak passwords, unencrypted wireless traffic that allow devices to collect information without owners' knowledge. All of this puts a smart home system at the risk of hacking. In this situation, hackers may even gain access to a car or home alarm.

Therefore, security is the main priority for IoT developers. A lot of effort goes into strengthening the security of IoT systems on the state level. The amount allocated for security will grow every year. The work is carried out in different directions: the creation of high-quality cloud services, prevention of DDoS attacks, among other measures.

Final word

If you want to develop an IoT system, partner with NCube. We will build a team of highly-skilled IoT specialists, computer vision engineers, and cloud platform experts to provide you a solution that addresses your business needs. Be sure to contact our team via the form below for more information on building your virtual tech team in Ukraine.  

 

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