Internet of Things
A network of connected devices - the Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term coined to describe the growing network of devices that connect to the Internet to collect, process and exchange data; providing convenience, comfort and efficiency to the end-user. It is creating a significant amount of excitement, substantially altering the way we interact with physical devices around us across various sectors, such as manufacturing, the connected home, transportation, medical and agriculture. IoT is fuelling innovation in nearly every part of our lives.
What is IoT? A network of connected devices!
TThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and different items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity enabling them to collect and exchange data. This network provides greater direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, resulting in increased efficiency, accuracy and financial benefit. The IoT is expected to improve the intelligence of cities, promote the interaction between humans and the environment, and enhance reliability, resilience and efficiency, while reducing costs and resource consumption. Home automation plays a major role, but the IoT also provides opportunities for a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, building automation, automotive, transportation, healthcare, agriculture and more. With the help of our global network of industry-leading suppliers and service providers, we offer our customers an extraordinary ecosystem to effortlessly implement IoT solutions that result in a faster time to market. Here you will find exciting technical resources exploring the possibilities of IoT applications, from the latest news, featured stories and case studies, to whitepapers, applications notes, and a wide range of IoT-ready products to help launch your IoT application.
Collect - Edge Devices (Sensors and Actuators)
This is the front-most device of any IoT system. It primarily works as a sensing device to collect information from the physical environment or an actuator to control the outside world with an output. In some cases edge devices perform a dual role, acting as both a sensing and actuating device to collect from and control the physical environment. Larger IoT applications require a greater array of edge devices in order to form a network. In such cases, each edge device (node) needs to have a unique identifier in order to individually recognise and communicate with them effectively.
Typical examples of Edge Devices (Nodes):
Connectivity - Wireless
Connectivity is the most crucial element of an IoT system that, depending upon the application requirements, can be wired or wireless. The main role of connectivity is to securely connect and transfer the information gathered by the edge devices to the Gateways (or the Hub) and vice-versa. As the information needs to transfer in both directions, it's important to have duplex connectivity. Depending on the application area, the network coverage will be segregated as PAN, LAN, WAN, MAN, etc.
Types of connectivity:
- Wireless: WiFi, Bluetooth (BLE), ZigBee, Z-Wave, RFID, LoRaWAN, SigFox, Cellular, etc
Control - Gateway
The heart of any IoT application- the Gateway sits in the middle of the cloud and the entire network of edge devices to provide the local intelligence to the IoT application. The role of the Gateway is to collect information from the entire network of edge devices, process the information, and then transmit it to the data centre or the Cloud (running specific software application). It also sends the information received from the cloud application back to the individual edge devices (actuators). The heavy lifting is done by software running on the cloud side, while Gateways perform small processing and controlling intelligence in the local infrastructure.
Typically, a Gateway consists of a hybrid platform or Single Board Computer based on a single or multiple high-performance MCU/MPU. It connects the local infrastructure (by offering different types of connectivity options to connect with various types of edge devices) to the data centre or the Cloud via the internet with the help of an Ethernet or WiFi Router
Gateways are not readily available devices as they are usually designed or customised for specific IoT applications.
Cloud - Data Centre
What is Cloud? A Cloud is a combination of middleware and software services offered to carry out complex computations, processing, and analytics, as well as to provide storage, database networking and more over the internet All of the data collected by Gateways across an IoT infrastructure must be securely collected, processed, analysed, stored and then made easily accessible from anywhere. Cloud services are used to fulfil this requirement and to off-load all the heavy lifting from the local infrastructure.
Types of Cloud Services:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
- Platform as a service (PaaS)
- Software as a service (SaaS)