The internet is full of tech-savvy definitions of IoT. The concept is quite simple, but most people tend to make it complicated by adding heavy tech jargon. No one has to understand the underline core tech stuff to understand what is IoT and how it works.
By the term Internet of Things (IoT), if you think it is somewhat related to the internet and things (or machines) around us, then you already have a broader understanding of the concept.
What is IoT in simple words?
You can read this article because your device is connected to the internet. Whether it is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, you can read this article as long as your device is connected to the internet. Other than reading this article, you can book movie tickets, watch videos on demand, play online games, collaboratively work with your team members, and do other stuff using the internet.
Connecting a device with the internet opens up a new world of opportunities. What if your home appliances know when you leave for the office and reach back home so that they can turn themselves on and off automatically based on your presence.
You will always find your apartment cool in summer and hot in winter. Also, these smart appliances can efficiently manage power and significantly reduce your electricity bills. IoT works on the same concept of making machines or things around us intelligent by connecting them to the internet.
If most things around us are connected to the internet, then we can create a smart network of devices to collect and exchange data. For example, your smartphone can share your location data with your AC to let it decide whether to turn itself on or off.
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Components of IoT
Now that you have understood what is IoT. Let’s see what are its various components.
Sensors help in the collection of data around the surroundings. The data collected from the surrounding environment can be of varying complexities ranging from a simple temperature sensor to live video streams.
Some devices have multiple sensors like your smartphone, which is bundled with a barometer, accelerometer, air humidity sensor, etc., which allow you to collect various types of data from the surrounding environment easily.
The first step in implementing an IoT solution is to collect data using sensors.
The second step after collecting data from sensors is to send it to a cloud infrastructure, which requires connectivity. You can connect sensor devices to WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular networks, or other mediums to facilitate data sharing.
Choosing the right connectivity medium for data sharing is important as there are various trade-offs between range, bandwidth, power consumption, etc.
3. Data Processing
After sending data to the cloud from sensors, software processes the data to extract intelligence or awareness of the surrounding environment, e.g., checking whether the temperature of the AC or heater is within an acceptable range or not.
Sometimes, it can also include complex data processing like face detection from video footage. However, in some cases, user interactions are also needed like what if the temperature is too high or your home intruder detection system detects some unknown strangers. This is where users come into play in an IoT solution.
4. User Interface
The information gathered after data processing on the cloud is made available to the end-user in numerous ways, including push notifications, mobile apps, text, emails, etc.
However, in some cases, users might need a user interface to regularly check their IoT system. For example, if a user has installed CCTV cameras, then he needs a user interface (app, web app, etc.) to actively check live video streams and play old recordings.
User interfaces can also be used by users to control smart devices connected to your IoT system. Smart home IoT solutions usually come with a mobile app with which you can control smart appliances and equipment. Using the mobile app, you can turn AC on before reaching home, so that, you get a cool environment to rest after a hectic day.
Internet of Things is a disruptive technology that can change how we interact with devices around us. IoT solutions can help various industries verticals from healthcare to the manufacturing sector. This article should have given you a coherent view of what is IoT and how it works. In case, you have any queries, then leave them in the comments and I will try my best to assist you.
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