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Internet of Things

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) was seen as a prerequisite for the Internet of Things in the early days. If all objects and people in daily life were equipped with identifiers, they could be managed and inventoried by computers. Besides using RFID, the tagging of things may be achieved through such technologies as near field communication, barcodes, QR codes and digital watermarking. Today however, the term Internet of Things (commonly abbreviated as IoT) is used to denote advanced connectivity of devices, systems and services that goes beyond the traditional machine-to-machine (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains and applications.

By definition, “The Internet of Things” is literally having every “thing” connected in a vast, gigantic network, consisting of three layers; the “Sensor” layer, the “Network” layer and the “Application” layer.

  • The sensor layer consists of hardware devices that have sensing, computing, and communication capabilities, and are used to gather physical parameter data.
  • The network layer acts as a data highway in the Internet of Things, and consists of both wired and wireless networks such as 3G and LTE.
  • The application layer is made up of a wide range of intelligent applications that receive data from the sensor layer and transforms it into useful business intelligence.

According to research firms, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020, and more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things, the Internet of Everything by 2020. A large majority of the technology experts and engaged Internet users agree with the notion that the Internet/Cloud of Things and embedded/wearable computing will have widespread and beneficial effects by 2025.

The image below (courtesy of Beecham Research M2M/IoT Sector Map: Link) shows the scale and scope of just how integrated and prevalent IoT can and will become and all the sectors it can influence. (All images courtesy of and ©Beecham research)

 

 

More about IoT: Buildings Sector

The Buildings sector is organized into Commercial/Institutional, covering shops and supermarkets, office buildings and government departments, and Industrial segments, covering buildings housing factory processes. Devices that can then be connected to deliver services to end users include HVAC, access control, lighting management, fire and safety systems and others that reside in buildings and facilities across both segments. These services are built to automate and react to environmental conditions.

 

Energy Sector

The Energy sector is organized into three market segments:

  • Supply/Demand, which includes power generation, transmission/distribution, power quality and energy management.
  • Alternative, covering newer sources including renewable energy sources such as Solar, Wind, Tide as well as electrochemical
  • Oil/Gas, which consists of the applications and devices used to extract and transport these commodities. This includes rigs, derricks, well heads, pumps and pipelines.

 

Consumer and Home Sector

The Consumer/Home sector is diverse and rapidly changing at present, organized into three market segments. This sector therefore covers everything from eReaders, Digital PhotoFrames, Games Consoles as well as Washers/Dryers and Home Alarms.

  • Infrastructure, including wiring, network access and home energy management
  • Awareness/Safety, including home security and fire alarms, monitoring elderly (not clinical) and children.
  • Convenience/Entertainment, including climate control, lighting management, appliances and entertainment

 

Healthcare & Life Science Sector

The Healthcare and Life Sciences sector includes applications such as telemedicine, asset management and supply chain optimization that address cost and treatment in hospitals/clinics, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, and home health care including remote monitoring – for example of implanted heart pacemakers and for the elderly (clinical). Such applications empower patients and physicians alike to conduct better research and treatment options. This sector then also tracks Lab equipment, such as centrifuges, incubators, freezers and blood test equipment. It includes the following segments:

  • Care- covering Hospitals, ER, Mobile POC, Clinics, Doctor Office, etc
  • In Vivo/Home- covering Implants (pace makers, etc.), Home Monitoring Systems
  • Research- covering Drug Discovery, Diagnostics and Lab equipment

 

Industrial Sector

The Industrial sector covers industrial asset monitoring and tracking, involving discrete monitoring of assets or devices to ensure uptime performance, version control, and location analysis for a wide range of factory processes. These processes are segmented as follows:

  • Fluid– liquid assets/manufacturing, processing
  • Converting/Discrete- tanks, fabrication, assembly/packaging
  • Distribution- infrastructure/supply chain
  • Resource Automation- agriculture, irrigation, mining, warehouses, factory/plant

 

Transportation Sector

The Transportation sector is divided into three key segments:

  • Vehicles.This includes vehicle telematics, tracking and mobile communications with cars, trucks and trailers. Vehicle telematics then enables services like navigation, vehicle diagnostics, and stolen vehicle recovery and supply chain integration. Other vehicle-related areas include off-highway (e.g. construction, agricultural)
  • Non-Vehicular.Non-vehicular transport includes aircraft, trains, ships/boats and containers
  • Transport Systems.Transport Systems includes passenger information services, road pricing schemes, parking schemes and congestion charging, particularly in cities.

Retail Sector

The Retail sector covers networking systems and devices that allow retailers to have increased visibility of the supply chain, gather consumer and product information, improve inventory control, reduce energy consumption, and track assets and security. It includes Point of Sale equipment, Vending machines (food/beverages, cigarettes, higher value products like CDs), Parking Meters, Service Equipment (petrol pumps, washers/driers, refrigeration, car cleaning), Entertainment (gaming machines, sound systems) and Signage/Display (billboards, displays) as well as RFID systems (item tagging, etc. It is divided into three key segments:

  • Stores, covering supermarkets, shopping centres, as well as single site stores and distribution centres.
  • Hospitalityincludes hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs
  • Specialtycovers fuel stations, gaming, bowling, cinemas, discos and special events like concerts, racing and trade shows.

Security & Public Safety Sector

The Security/Public Safety sector is particularly broad and is divided into five segments:

  • Emergency services, covering police, fire, ambulance services as well as car breakdown and regulatory services such as Homeland Security. This includes emergency personnel mobile equipment  and their fixed and moveable equipment
  • Public Infrastructure, covering environmental monitoring – including flood plains, water treatment plants as well as climate-related and meteorological.
  • Trackingincludes human (lone worker, parolees, etc.), animal, delivery and postal, “farm to fork” food tracing, packaging and baggage handling.
  • Equipmentcovers mainly military – weapons, military vehicles, ships, aircraft and other gear.
  • Surveillance, including fixed surveillance (CCTV, Speed Cameras) as well as military security and radar/satellite.

IT & Networks Sector

This sector is divided into two main segments:

  • Enterprise networks, covering office equipment such as copiers, printers, franking machines as well as remote monitoring of PBXs, IT/data centre components and private network components
  • Public networksincludes carrier infrastructure such as cellular mobile towers, public data centres as mission critical buildings, together with servers/server blades, power supply systems and air conditioning. This category is distinct from normal facilities management in the Buildings sector.

Interestingly the subject of IoT is currently focused on an evolution to Web of Things or WoT.  Fundamentally, the Web of Things explores how objects and or devices that contain embedded devices are integrated into the Web. The Web of Things (or WoT) is a concept and plan to fully incorporate every-day physical objects into the World Wide Web by giving them an API, thus greatly facilitating the creation of their virtual profiles as well as their integration and reuse for various applications.

 

The Web of Things is primarily an evolution of the Internet of Things where the primary concern has been how to connect objects together at the network layer: similar to the way the Internet addressed the lower-level connectivity of computers (layers 3-4 of the OSI model), the Internet of Things is primarily focusing on using various technologies such as RFID, Zigbee, Bluetooth or 6LoWPAN.

 

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