The Internet of Things or IoT took the world by surprise and is expected to bring about the next industrial revolution. From automatic lighting systems, sound systems, and surveillance, and anti-theft devices, we now see IoT tools being used everywhere.
It has helped us interact with our surroundings more efficiently and have greater access to them from anywhere in the world. We will explore in this article what are these IoT devices, what are their architectures, building blocks, and finally some real-time examples of where they can be used.
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What is the IoT Architecture?
IoT architecture is in reality the network of several elements: sensors, protocols, actuators, cloud infrastructure, and layers. Despite its sophistication, IoT architecture exists in 4 stages to reliably combine these various kinds of components into an advanced and understandable network.
Sensors and Actuators- are used to share and exchange information between the internet-connected devices sensibly. They process the information and carry out actions based on that information.
Internet getaways and Data Acquisition Systems- convert and aggregate the data in digital form for further processing and analysis.
Edge IT systems- comes in after data acquisition to process the data further and make it ready for entering the data center.
Datacenter and cloud- here the data get more precisely analyzed and is ready for appearance in the physical world by sufficing all the quality standards.
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There are four important components of an IoT system:
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Sensors/Devices- these sensors and devices such as actuators help to detect and read the data from the internet-enabled devices for further processing.
Connectivity- is required so that these IoT devices can be operated, tested, and controlled from any location. Internet connection ensures that the user can manage the device remotely and if any issue arises then take care of it too.
Data Processing- is handled by edge IT systems so that the data received can be transformed into a form that can be analyzed for making intelligent decisions.
User Interface- involves mechanisms through which the user can interact with these devices and access their information such as via notifications, cameras installed, emails, etc.
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IoT Architecture Building Blocks
1. Sensors, Actuators, Devices, etc. (Network Things)- Sensors are essential to read and detect the data needed for processing and forwarding to actuators. Actuators take action or operate IoT devices that imply the physical world.
A device can either have a single sensor or many sensors depending on the amount of information that needs to be collected and processed by its surroundings. They can have varying degrees of complexities for eg: from recording a video to sensing the change in temperature, to detect the lights turned on or off, adjusting the cooling of refrigerators, etc.
2. Internet Gateways & Data Acquisition Systems- Internet gateways operate through Wi-Fi, wired LANs, and perform further processing of the information that has been transmitted via sensors and actuators.
Data acquisition systems work is to collect the large volume of data that is being obtained and then turn it into a more suitable format for further analysis.
3. Edge Information Technology- refers to machine learning and visualization technologies that perform enhanced analytics and pre-processing on the data received, before the stage of entering the data center.
This is the reason why the location of edge IT systems is close to where sensors and actuators are situated leading to the creation of a wiring closet. But at the same time, they can also reside remotely in any other location as well.
4. Cloud Analytics & Data Center- get the data for in-depth analysis and ensure the quality standard is maintained for sharing it to the physical world in an understandable format. The data center collects the data and uses cloud analytics to provide fruitful analysis which can help in efficiently operating the IoT devices.
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Real-time Example of Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is being widely used in many sectors to provide a unique experience to the user and better opportunities to keep track of their devices and operate them remotely. Also, it provides them the ability to prevent any failure that may arise due to non-conformance.
Here are some real-time examples of the Internet of Things being actually employed and used to help you in better understanding the functioning of it.
Air conditioners- With an automated internet-connected air conditioner, the sensors embedded in it can read the data such as the temperature outside, and the temperature inside the room and can analyze and use that data to set the temperature which will make the user comfortable upon entering the room. Also, it can automatically switch off once the user leaves the room and turn it on after entering the room again.
Healthcare - Sensors attached to the wheelchair of a patient can help the doctors and nurses to track their movement anytime. Also, bands can be worn by patients which can raise an alarm if their sugar level, blood pressure, heart rate, etc changes. In time, they can be attended to and prevented from any accident that might have happened due to no unawareness.
Smart farming - A set of sensors embedded into the irrigation system can help in detecting the temperature, humidity, soil condition, light, etc, and continuously monitor the field conditions for better traction. The information received can then help in taking the right actions for better products and adhering to the needs of the farm on time.
Pollution control - To help transform any city into a smart city, controlling pollution and employing ways to contain it is also a significant factor. The IoT platform plays an important role in reading the air quality, temperature, pollutant level, etc. on a continuous basis, so that this data can later be analyzed and the city can be equipped with proper measures for controlling air pollution, water pollution, etc.
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The accessibility and control offered via employing IoT systems in the field of technology, healthcare, security, retail, et al. enable us to make better and more efficient decisions in time. The continuous sharing and exchange of real-time data between IoT devices help to build a network of knowledgeable devices. We can remotely control and operate these devices from any location. The seamless connection that is achieved due to the technology elevates any space into a smart space making it function more precisely. So, it is safe to assume that in the coming future you can expect IoT devices to take over the entire world.