Internet of Things (IoT)

Posted on 07 January, 2019

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

You may have heard the phrase 'Internet of Things' before but what exactly is it? Essentially, it's about connecting devices over the internet and letting them interact and exchange data with us, and with each other. For example, the way you are reading this might be through a desktop computer, on a tablet or on your phone but no matter what device you are using, it is certainly connected to the internet. 

Many consumers are enjoying the benefits of IoT with popular everyday products such as Amazon's Echo speaker, Google Home Mini™, Hive's Active Heating system and many more. There is no limit to the size or scope of IoT as there are billions of devices connected across the world and it already has a huge impact on people's lives. It is also benefitting workplaces as being more connected allows more data than ever before to be collected, stored and analysed.

Supermicro provides a variety of Embedded and IoT server solutions that are application optimised, cost-effective and ideal for space-constrained applications. Their high quailty can assure reliable, long life and uninterrupted operation. IoT is a large concept and a powerful, long-term approach that every business can use.

IoT systems have four distinct components in order to become a complete system;

1. Sensors/Devices

Firstly, sensors or devices collect data from their environment. This can be anything from a simple meter reading to a downloaded movie. Sensors can be standalone or be part of a device that does more than just sense things but no matter what the sensor/device, data is being collected by something.

2. Connectivity

Secondly, the data gets sent to the cloud but it needs a way to get there! There are many ways in which the sensor/device can connect to the cloud which include: WiFi, Bluetooth, Cellular etc. Whichever connectivity option you choose, they will all achieve the same goal; getting data to the cloud.

3. Data Processing

Once the data is in the cloud, it needs to be processed. Again, it could be a simple task such as checking the meter reading is in the correct range or it could be a more challenging task such as using computer vision to detect objects. If the meter reading isn't within range or an object is identified, this is where the user interface comes in.

4. User Interface

The final component is making the information useful. This could be by sending an alert to the user e.g. if their temperature is too high. Depending on the IoT application, the user could then be prompted to lower the temperature via the app on their phone. This could also be set to change automatically if the user sets it up beforehand. 

In summary, an IoT system consists of sensors/devices which connect to the cloud and then processes data for the user to understand and act on it if necessary. Whatever action the user chooses, the data makes it way back to the original sensor/device through the same channels and makes the change.

Tags: Internet of Things, Supermicro

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