The Internet of things (IoT) describes physical objects (or groups of such objects) that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks.
The field has evolved due to the convergence of multiple technologies, including ubiquitous computing, commodity sensors, increasingly powerful embedded systems, and machine learning. Traditional fields of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, control systems, automation (including home and building automation), independently and collectively enable the Internet of things. In the consumer market, IoT technology is most synonymous with products pertaining to the concept of the “Smart home”, including devices and appliances (such as lighting fixtures, thermostats, home security systems and cameras, and other home appliances) that support one or more common ecosystems, and can be controlled via devices associated with that ecosystem, such as smartphones and smart speakers. The IoT can also be used in healthcare systems.
There are a number of concerns about the risks in the growth of IoT technologies and products, especially in the areas of privacy and security, and consequently, industry and governmental moves to address these concerns have begun, including the development of international and local standards, guidelines, and regulatory frameworks.
The extensive set of applications for IoT devices is often divided into consumer, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure spaces.
A growing portion of IoT devices are created for consumer use, including connected vehicles, home automation, wearable technology, connected health, and appliances with remote monitoring capabilities.
IoT devices are a part of the larger concept of home automation, which can include lighting, heating and air conditioning, media and security systems and camera systems. Long-term benefits could include energy savings by automatically ensuring lights and electronics are turned off or by making the residents in the home aware of usage.
One key application of a smart home is to provide assistance for those with disabilities and elderly individuals. These home systems use assistive technology to accommodate an owner’s specific disabilities. Voice control can assist users with sight and mobility limitations while alert systems can be connected directly to cochlear implants worn by hearing-impaired users. They can also be equipped with additional safety features. These features can include sensors that monitor for medical emergencies such as falls or seizures. Smart home technology applied in this way can provide users with more freedom and a higher quality of life.
The IoT can assist in the integration of communications, control, and information processing across various transportation systems. Application of the IoT extends to all aspects of transportation systems (i.e. the vehicle, the infrastructure, and the driver or user). Dynamic interaction between these components of a transport system enables inter- and intra-vehicular communication, smart traffic control, smart parking, electronic toll collection systems, logistics and fleet management, vehicle control, safety, and road assistance.
Building and home automation
IoT devices can be used to monitor and control the mechanical, electrical and electronic systems used in various types of buildings (e.g., public and private, industrial, institutions, or residential) in home automation and building automation systems. In this context, three main areas are being covered in literature:
- The integration of the Internet with building energy management systems in order to create energy-efficient and IOT-driven “smart buildings”.
- The possible means of real-time monitoring for reducing energy consumption and monitoring occupant behaviors.
- The integration of smart devices in the built environment and how they might be used in future applications.
Also known as IIoT, industrial IoT devices acquire and analyze data from connected equipment, operational technology (OT), locations, and people. Combined with operational technology (OT) monitoring devices, IIoT helps regulate and monitor industrial systems. Also, the same implementation can be carried out for automated record updates of asset placement in industrial storage units as the size of the assets can vary from a small screw to the whole motor spare part, and misplacement of such assets can cause a percentile loss of manpower time and money.
The IoT can connect various manufacturing devices equipped with sensing, identification, processing, communication, actuation, and networking capabilities. Network control and management of manufacturing equipment, asset and situation management, or manufacturing process control allow IoT to be used for industrial applications and smart manufacturing. IoT intelligent systems enable rapid manufacturing and optimization of new products, and rapid response to product demands.
Digital control systems to automate process controls, operator tools and service information systems to optimize plant safety and security are within the purview of the IIoT. IoT can also be applied to asset management via predictive maintenance, statistical evaluation, and measurements to maximize reliability Industrial management systems can be integrated with smart grids, enabling energy optimization. Measurements, automated controls, plant optimization, health and safety management, and other functions are provided by networked sensors.
There are numerous IoT applications in farming such as collecting data on temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed, pest infestation, and soil content. This data can be used to automate farming techniques, take informed decisions to improve quality and quantity, minimize risk and waste, and reduce the effort required to manage crops. For example, farmers can now monitor soil temperature and moisture from afar, and even apply IoT-acquired data to precision fertilization programs. The overall goal is that data from sensors, coupled with the farmer’s knowledge and intuition about his or her farm, can help increase farm productivity, and also help reduce costs.
IoT devices are in use monitoring the environments and systems of boats and yachts. Many pleasure boats are left unattended for days in summer, and months in winter so such devices provide valuable early alerts of boat flooding, fire, and deep discharge of batteries. The use of global internet data networks such as Sigfox, combined with long-life batteries, and microelectronics allows the engine rooms, bilge, and batteries to be constantly monitored and reported to a connected Android & Apple applications for example.