The acceptance of IoT applications is growing, both in our private and professional lives. This also increases the demand for smart IoT software. Now the world of IoT has its own dynamic. We will gladly take you into the world of Internet of Things.
Smart coupled devices that monitor the circumstances via sensors and can even intervene where desired. The Internet of Things not only exceeds the number of human-operated devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones, but also creates completely new services.
Essence of applied IoT
We see IoT applications in every industry. One more experimental than the other, but all equally serious. The essence of every application is that it is about learning systems.
- In healthcare, we already see incontinence material in which the nursing staff are alerted from the diaper if it needs to be replaced. Suspicious situations are also signaled by people who live independently in need of help, where the informal caregivers or caregivers are then automatically alerted.
- In agriculture and horticulture, smart sensors measure the conditions of the soil and the condition of the crops. Flying autonomous drones communicate with sensors in the ground and the farmer controls the irrigation and the targeted spraying of the crops from a diagonal control center. Smart coupled devices also play an increasingly important role in monitoring the welfare of animals in intensive livestock.
- Smart lampposts are used in urban areas that only come on when there is traffic where the lighting forms a communicating chain that travels with passers-by.
- Consumer applications, such as smart thermostat that learns from the demand for heat and comfort and automatically organize the weekly program accordingly, or smart refrigerators that can signal that specific products are no longer tenable.
These are just a few examples, the number of applications is infinite.
Building blocks of IoT applications
We use a number of building blocks to develop IoT solutions.
- Communication and collaboration. Devices communicate with the internet, or with each other. They are able to trigger actions based on internet data and online services such as turning a thermostat down or changing a logistics process in which transport robots wait or drive on. We work with techniques such as UMTS and WiFi.
- Addressability. Every device or smart object gets its own unique IP address. With the expectations for the growth of IoT, the need for unique IP addresses has grown explosively. Each device must have a unique 'address'. Something that already provides for the transition from IPv4 to IPv6
- Identification. Each device must be uniquely identifiable. For example, passive objects without an energy source use RFID or bar codes. Mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets can act as a medium. This allows information and intelligence to be linked to objects that are stored in other locations. Consider monitoring food safety from source to preparation.
- Sensors. Sensors are the senses of every device. They can measure and record and convert analogue measurements such as air humidity, temperature or light intensity into digital signals. With which the software can then calculate and steer.
- Actuators. As soon as values are measured in an environment and software wants to intervene based on values, actuators start working. Actuators convert a signal into an action, for example a movement so that the roof window of a greenhouse opens automatically at a high measured temperature or a product whose image deviates from the norm can be taken out of the production process,
- Embedded information processing. With the progressive miniaturization of computing power and storage capacity, more and more intelligence can be put into devices. This allows devices within an IoT network to run autonomously.
- Localization. With IoT applications, we want to know where a device is located. We must be able to find specific devices. Devices can be 'aware' of their physical location, GPS or mobile communication technology, for example, must be built in for this. Less complex is that when placing IoT devices, the GPS coordinates of a device are always linked to the device-specific ID.
- User interface. Smart IoT devices must be able to communicate with people. This is done through software that can be developed for any kind of platform. But technology goes further and technologies such as speech recognition, image and sound recognition increasingly play a role in the applications.
Starting points for an IoT project
We discussed the various building blocks that contribute to an IoT solution. There are also a series of requirements that form the basis of a successful development and implementation process.
- Scalability. Both on the side of the devices and the way in which communication is done, it must be scalable. Often a few devices are started in a Proof Of Concept (POC), but once this works IoT solutions must be able to scale up smoothly, both locally and on a large scale.
- Autonomy. IoT devices must be able to act autonomously and be able to configure themselves and connect to the network without intervention.
- Interoperability. The collaboration between devices can be guaranteed with the help of standards.
- Findability. Each IoT device in a network must be individually traceable and able to communicate where the device is located and whether all systems are still fully functioning and what the current status is.
- Software. IoT solutions can scale quickly and create huge data streams based on continuity. With an IoT solution, it is therefore essential that the application can manage large data volumes.
- Correct and accurate interpretation of the data collected by sensors.
- Security and privacy. In addition to protecting iOT devices against hackers, privacy must also be safeguarded. Autonomously operating iOT devices therefore require additional sections that indicate what may and may not be registered when.
- Error tolerance. Is the measurement data accurate and reliable? Where the conditions in which an IoT device is located can change, account must be taken of the fact that changed circumstances may give deviating values.
- Energy supply. Many IoT devices must be very compact. We see that there are numerous creative solutions for the energy supply of, for example, sensors, because batteries are by no means always sufficient.
- Wireless communication. IoT solutions are used everywhere and electricity and a fast internet connection are not available at all of those locations. The shorter the path from the IoT device to the network and applications, the more reliable the data will be sent and the more possibilities there will be for the application. GSM, UMTS, WiFi and Bluetooth are less suitable due to energy consumption. Newer technologies are more narrow-banded, but they also use less energy.
If you want to know how IoT can work for your organization, contact us and be inspired.