The IoT is changing our lives right from how we drive, to how we make purchases and even how we get energy for our home, and what not? So, as you sensed much hype about IoT, let's have a look on what actually is IoT and how does it work?
Imagine you wake up at 8am every day to go to work on time. And, your alarm clock does the job of waking you up on time set. And, if accidentally your metro gets cancelled due to some issues and instead you have to drive to work. Driving takes much time as compared to travelling by metros. And, you regret that you should have needed to get up soon to avoid being late. All these things can be managed with the help of IoT.
And then, if it's out pouring with rain, so you'll need to drive slower than usual. A connected or IoT-enabled alarm clock would reset itself based on all these factors, to ensure you got to work on time. It can also recognize that your usual train is cancelled, and it calculates the driving distance and time for that particular route, checks the weather and factor in slower travelling speed because of heavy rain, and calculate when it needs to wake you up so you're not late.
And, if it's much smarter, if might also sync with an IoT-enabled coffee maker, to ensure that your morning caffeine is ready to go when you get up.
IoT (Internet of Things) is a network of connected objects that are able to collect and share data with each other. To define it more precise, IoT consists of all the web-enabled devices that collect, send and act on data they acquire from their surrounding environments using embedded sensors, processors and communication hardware. IoT is applied everywhere right from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. The IoT platforms can help to pinpoint exactly what information is useful or not. And this information can be further used to detect patterns and recommendations before the problem occur.
How an IoT system functions:
First, sensors or devices gather minute data from their situation. These data collection could have numerous complexities as in a simple temperature monitoring or a complex full video feed. Multiple sensors can be clubbed together to be a part of a device that does more than just sense things. A smartphone is a device that has various sensors (camera, accelerometer, GPS, etc) but the phone is not basically just a sensor. Whether it is a standalone sensor or a complex device, the first step involves data being collected from the environment.
Next, that data is sent to the cloud but it needs a medium for transport. The sensors could be connected to the various mediums of transports like cellular, satellite, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN). Choosing the best connectivity would be specific to the IoT application. But, it would all be performing just one important task i.e. getting data to the Cloud.
Once the data gets to the cloud, the software performs some kind of processing on it. This could be very simple, like checking that the temperature reading is within an acceptable range. Or it could also be very complex, such as using computer vision on video to identify objects. The information is made useful to the end-user in some way. This could also be via an alert to the user (email, text, notification, etc). A user might have an interface which allows them to proactively check in on the system. However, it's not always a one-way street.
Thus, the hype around IoT is genuine. It is all with the help of IoT, that our day-to-day tasks are automated and made simpler and smarter.