What is the The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a huge network of networked objects with embedded sensors that can transmit data and, in some situations, be controlled through the Internet. Many home automation devices, such as smart thermostats and remotely controllable lighting fixtures, are common examples, but there are numerous others, ranging from traffic sensors to water quality metres to smart electric grid components to tracking manufactured goods and vehicle fleets around the world.
Due to the IoT’s rapid growth, a slew of competing standards, technologies, projects, rules, frameworks, and organisations are vying to define how linked devices communicate in the modern era. Open source and open standards will become increasingly vital for ensuring that devices can correctly interconnect, as well as for processing the massive amounts of big data that all of these devices will generate on the back end.
What are the applications for IoT devices?
How you use IoT linked devices will vary depending on whether you’re more interested in collecting data or automating operations, as well as the scale at which you’re using them.
There are a variety of consumer products that function right out of the box for folks. As previously said, many of these gadgets fit under the umbrella of home automation. Here are a few examples:
- Sensors, timers, and remote apps can control indoor and outdoor lighting and electrical outlets.
Thermostats and other devices that change your home climate based on where you are, the outside temperature, and your energy-saving goals.
- Access control devices such as cameras, motion sensors, automatic locks, and other devices that can be integrated into advanced security and monitoring systems.
- Water leak sensors, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide sensors, and other devices that safeguard people and property from danger are all available.
- Appliances with specific features and the ability to remotely alert you to their status, such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, and others.
- Chargers for electric cars, battery banks, and other devices that can charge intelligently during off-peak hours to save money and reduce peak energy usage.
Other gadgets, such as wearable heart rate sensors, baby monitors, and sleep sensors, are available to assist you with daily duties or keep track of critical (or not-so-vital) information. Automobiles, for example, are gradually becoming their own sensor network, recording dozens of sorts of data regarding their performance and safety while also offering new functions and entertainment alternatives.
IoT devices are a little different for a government, enterprise, or institution, and they often focus more on collecting data that can be analysed and visualised, frequently in real-time. Here are a few examples:
- Utility firms can better predict energy and water consumption, resulting in less waste.
- Water, noise, and air quality monitors are examples of advanced environmental sensors that can help understand pollution causes and consequences before they have a severe influence on ecosystems and human health.
- Public safety agencies can build more advanced early warning systems for natural catastrophes such as earthquakes and floods, and have better data with which to perform essential services such as firefighting and humanitarian relief.
- Everything from vehicle fleets to parts and products to health care specimens and medicines can be tracked by businesses and governments.
- To better provide services and plan for the future, local governments can watch real-time parking, transit use, and even know when garbage cans are exceeding capacity.
There are, of course, several additional examples, and countless more are likely to emerge in the future years.
What are the benefits of open standards for the Internet of Things?
Your devices may not be able to communicate with one another unless they use open standards and protocols. While many IoT devices eventually connect to the Internet, the communication protocols they employ to communicate with one another and with local control hubs are frequently proprietary or poorly documented. You might be trapped to a single vendor for all of your devices if you don’t have a common communication base, and you might end up with a pile of non-functional gear if the company that makes your devices goes out of business or decides to stop supporting them.
Organizations such as the Linux Foundation’s AllSeen Alliance are striving to develop standard frameworks enabling devices to communicate with one another regardless of manufacturer.
What role does big data play?
There are enormous numbers of new sensors collecting data about the world around us, and organisations using sensor networks need a way to process all of the new data points they are receiving and storing, with billions of Internet-connected devices currently in use and tens of billions more expected to come online in the next few years.
Not only does all of this data necessitate a different size of storage and processing, but it also necessitates new approaches. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data mining advancements are helping us to uncover patterns in data that traditional analytics methods would miss. This investigation is possible because to open source big data tools.
What about safety and security?
Security and privacy are understandably key issues as more technologies enter the home that may collect data on every aspect of our life. While many privacy issues are decided on a governmental level, the technology that underpins security is critical. One of the reasons why open source will be crucial to the Internet of Things is because of this.
Every device capable of connecting to a network runs at least a basic operating system, as well as the code that allows it to function, and having an open source code base allows device security to be tested, inspected, and patched as needed to keep attackers out. To help keep data and devices safe, secure operating systems such as the Linux kernel and other open source operating systems can be customised for embedded devices.
How can I get started with the Internet of Things?
It’s surprisingly simple to get started making your own Internet of Things devices and apps. There are a variety of hardware systems aimed at novices and hobbyists that have strong communities behind them, including many that are partially or completely open hardware.
The Arduino, which is ideal for low-power operations and can connect via add-on boards across many common communications protocols, and the Raspberry Pi, which includes an on-board Ethernet port, make network communications a breeze, are two of the more popular hardware platforms for creating IoT connected devices.
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