IoT or the Internet of Things has transformed what were once “dumb” devices into “smart” devices by enabling them to share data over the internet and allowing them to communicate with other IoT-enabled devices. One good example of IoT is a smart home. IoT-enabled doorbells, security alarms, thermostats, and smoke detectors create a linked hub. Data can be shared between these physical devices, and the user can control these devices remotely via a website or a mobile app.
With that said, we can define IoT as a digitally connected world of the devices that we use every day. These devices have internet connectivity and sensors, which allow them to communicate and be controlled over the web.
How Does IoT Work?
After understanding what IoT in general is, let’s discuss how IoT works in detail. To enable the connection of these devices to a single network, we need three main components: sensors, edge computing, and gateways.
Sensors are small electronic devices that allow data to be gathered from the physical world and help us understand it like temperature or ambient light. Once the data is collected, edge computing acts as an interpreter between sensor and cloud platform by compiling all information needed for user interaction before sending it to the cloud server. Finally, a gateway helps link internet connectivity with other “smart” devices over the web. Without a gateway device, connecting several different smart devices would be complicated, and let’s not forget the cost of building such a network.
What is IoT Used for?
IoT can be used for different applications—from domestic uses like security, lighting fixtures, and thermostats to industrial applications for manufacturing and even addressing common software development challenges. We can split these applications into consumer, agricultural, commercial, and industrial uses.
With that said, let’s look at the common applications for IoT:
As IoT devices can help monitor home appliances and household items, many consumer applications have been created to make daily tasks easier. For example, smart lock products have been invented that allow users to open doors remotely from anywhere in the world.
In addition, wearable/portable tech such as Fitbit or Apple Watch has helped us better understand our health by tracking everything from calories burned, sleep activity, heart rate, steps walked, and more. In other words, wearables have become a new way to collect data about themselves for personal wellness purposes.
Another popular category of consumer applications is using IoT for smart homes. Smart home technology uses internet connectivity and sensors to enable a fully automated house with a single command. An example of a smart home has lights that automatically turn on and off based on our presence or absence or doors that lock themselves once we’re away.
According to the experts from CognitiveClouds, an IoT software development company, IoT can make large commercial buildings more efficient; it eliminates the need for human input almost entirely. For example, using an IoT-enabled parking system makes it easier for facility managers to monitor spaces and indicate whether they are available or occupied. In addition, smart vending machines monitor stock levels and fill orders as soon as a supply runs low, eliminating the need for human employees to restock products throughout the day manually.
In addition, advanced analytics allows us to run complex business processes over various data sources, such as many moving objects or a trending activity pattern. This helps produce informed business decisions in real-time, improving productivity and increasing revenue for companies.
Another application of IoT is related to wireless sensors that allow businesses to monitor physical equipment performance without breaking or disrupting the existing equipment. In this case, data from these sensors is then sent over the internet to a cloud server, where it’s compiled and analyzed for potential critical issues before actual problems appear on physical equipment.
IoT has been widely adopted in industrial environments because it helps companies become more productive while reducing costs at a similar time. The use of IoT in industrial settings allows manufacturers to maximize their production output while using fewer resources like raw materials and time.
For example, working closely with large factories that manufacture goods like cars or airplanes allows facility managers to monitor equipment performance in real-time. In addition, IoT devices such as sensors can be placed around a factory floor so manufacturers can get timely alerts about any potential issues. Also, sensors allow companies to keep track of the total number of products produced each day to plan for future orders.
Another advantage is that using IoT-enabled software in an industry setting helps make communication between departments more efficient. For example, system software can collect data from IoT devices for analysis before being emailed to engineers when an issue arises with physical equipment. After analyzing the data, engineers can fix the problem faster, and then the software resets itself to monitor equipment for potential problems.
IoT allows farmers to closely monitor crops, livestock, and other resources used in agriculture while gaining better control over their farms. For example, IoT-based irrigation systems can help keep track of the amount of water each crop needs by monitoring soil moisture levels. In addition, most smart farm tools are equipped with sensors that allow farmers to check on various aspects of their farming operations—from temperature inside a greenhouse to humidity levels around livestock pens. Some manufacturers have even made cattle collars that network with our smartphones to contact us if an animal gets sick or needs attention.