What is Internet of Things (IOT)? My thermostat, cloud, or mobile app? It is all three components
A new wave of consumer and industrial products that can connect to the cloud over the Internet has become very popular. They are known as Internet of things (IOT). An internet connection enhances these physical devices to be controlled remotely from anywhere. For example, consumers can turn on or turn off their home appliances, heater, lights, and security system in their home with their smart phone while they are on the road. The IOT also benefits cities or industries in the same way. The IOT is not just a piece of hardware like a radio, but it is a system of three important integral parts: the internet wired hardware, the intelligent cloud, and the application on the mobile phone. These three components deliver the power and simplicity of the IOT that will change our life.
The first component is IOT-ready hardware that can be embedded inside a home security system, an electric appliance, a lighting control system, a door lock, or a garden sprinkler control system with the internet connection capability. This IOT hardware is very similar to a personal computer (PC) with a CPU, a memory module, a hard disk and an internet communication card. Yet, it is made more compact, portable and energy-efficient than a PC because it needs to fit into a small area like a door lock and also needs to have low power consumption to run on portable batteries for a long time. Because it does not need to run large intensive software as a PC does, companies are able to achieve the challenging requirement of compactness and low-power consumption by integrating smaller CPU, RAM, Flash, and Wi-Fi onto a single compact module. In spite of being compact, the IOT processor has sufficient computational power to deliver a simple graphical-user interface, handle a complex communication channel with multiple sensors for measurement data, process a complex protocol for communication over the internet, encrypt each transaction securely over internet, and execute a command received from the cloud. It also has an expanded interface of physical ports that is useful to support a large number of sensors in a system. A home security system is a good example of the kind of system in which many sensors are deployed for every window and door entrance inside a home. The purpose of the first component is to function as a secured gateway with encryption and password protection between the home electronic hardware and the cloud.
The next critical component is the cloud which consists of powerful computers and large disk storage on the internet. The cloud enables some unique benefits such as user’s remote control access and artificial intelligence processing. Here are the following advanced and powerful cloud based services: the computing power for in-depth data analysis, large data storage, and the central medium between the IOT devices and the user. Unlike the IOT electronic hardware, the cloud taps on powerful computers to perform all the intensive data analysis and provide artificial intelligence service. It is not limited to resource or area constraint. In addition to its computing power, the cloud offers
much greater data storage than the IOT-ready hardware, and the extra large data storage is important to large and intensive data analysis purpose. Speech recognition is an example of an application that requires a lot of samples of voiced data in order to recognize speech more accurately and quickly. The IOT board can send a voice command from the user, and the cloud can interpret the content. Another example is the home climate control application running on the cloud. The cloud can analyze the temperature and energy data collected to optimize the best temperature control for an individual home in each different climate region. Lastly, the cloud is accessible to both the IOT devices and the user regardless of their physical locations. This central control system is a perfect way for users to control many IOT devices remotely when they are at different locations. Street light is an example of that application.The manager of the City Light Department can control all the street lights to optimize the energy usage through one cloud software. This is also true with homeowners. They can control all IOT devices at home from a mobile phone anywhere in the world and use the same application that communicates to the cloud depending on how the owner chooses to setup all these devices.
The last component is the app running on the mobile phone that allows a user to control both the IOT hardware and the cloud software algorithm instantly from anywhere in the world. If the security system detects a break-in, the user gets an instant notification of this important message alert. The user also receives the IOT data such as the temperature of the water in a swimming pool over a range of time intervals and can choose to examine the data over time in a graphical view.The graphical plot of data helps make it easy for one to change the rules on how the cloud software optimizes to control the heater to warm the pool water faster before guests arrive. Besides a simple message notification or a data graphical viewing feature, the app can provide a map of the GPS location of the IOT devices. For example, a city manager can be alerted of where all the traffic lights are not working properly within a specified area. Seeing the map on the phone, the city manager can efficiently dispatch and coordinate fewer workers immediately to repair those malfunctioning traffic lights.The app has high security password protection that permits only authentic and authorized users to access and make changes to the system. This is important because, with the app in the hands of the user, the user has the power and flexibility to receive important information and make changes to customize the system instantly.
The three components are the Internet-wired device, the cloud, and the mobile app. Together, they will revolutionize how people manage business and home life efficiently and effectively. If you want to be a part of the IOT, there are already devices in the market that you can consider to facilitate home maintenance and make your life easier in this high-tech trending revolution.