Introduction to IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the billions of devices that are present around the world that are connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. It’s about extending the power of internet beyond computer and smartphones to a whole range of other things, process and environments. According to the Wikipedia, it is also a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals and people that are provided with unique identifiers, and the ability to transfer data over a network without required human to human or human to computer interaction. It also means taking all the things in the world and connecting them to the internet. An internet connection is a wonderful thing. It gives us all sorts of benefits that just weren’t possible before. Connecting things to the internet yields many amazing benefits. We have all seen these benefits with our smartphones, laptops and tablets. But this is true for everything else too.

Features of an IoT platform

Device management:
Some industries such as waste management have connected devices like garbage bins and sensors scattered across a city. Once these products are deployed in the field then it’s very costly and sometimes impossible to update and maintain them manually. An IoT platform with full device management capabilities will enable your enterprise to centrally manage the entire fleet of IoT devices through a single pane of glass and greatly reduce operating costs.

Device and application lifecycle management:
It should allow to remotely provision, configure, monitor, diagnose and send commands to your IoT devices. It should also release softwares and firmwares updates for your devices in batches over the air so that it keeps the connected service competitive and secure over time, without high cost of servicing with truck rolls.

Device monitoring:
An IoT platform should provide information on the operating status of any individual or groups of IoT devices. The platform should provide insight not only the sensor or application data, but also the communication parameters and data usage patterns. With this information, the operations and support teams will have a clear understanding of the past operations related to the remote assets, which is critical for diagnosing and drawing actionable insights on end users’ behavior.

Alert rules and automated action:
The IoT platform should be used to inform about any abnormal or critical situations in real time, but simply knowing what is going wrong is not enough; the IoT platform should work to correct any errors. A platform should be selected that offers notifications and easy-to-configure alert rules for automated follow-up action. For example, you might want to set rules so that when a device disconnects from the network, your IoT platform automatically resets the connection. This will limit service downtime and any potential associated loss.

Capabilities of an IoT

In the exploding world of IoT, it can be challenging to navigate through all of the buzzwords, acronyms, and platform options to understand the major impact IoT devices will have in the future. We get asked all of the time, “What capabilities should we be looking for in an IoT data platform as we comb through all of the options out there?”

So, here are the four capabilities that should be looked in an IoT data platform, to build anything from smart home automation systems to large scale industrial IoT.

It basically means how a device or sensor connects to the internet and a cloud platform. There are many options to choose from Wi-Fi through a hub or gateway, 2G, or 3G cellular networks. Once you have connectivity in place, now you can get the device or sensor talking to your cloud IoT platform. Ensure you find a service provider that can send data through clean API’s that are easy to implement and install. This will ensure that you can get quickly setup and start capturing your data within minutes.

It is necessary when evaluating an IoT data platform is control of the device. There are a number of different scenarios for control including controlling a device through an application, device-to-device communication, or control from the cloud (based on an event, rule or some other pre-determined condition). For example, if you have a water leak detector, it can automatically send a command to the device which could be an appliance or part of the core infrastructure to turn off the water valve. Here, using two-way communication, a signal can be sent from the detector to the device via the cloud to shut off the water. Lastly, you can program the device from an app (or website) to shut off at a certain time or schedule based on a pre-programmed rule.

Device Management:
Device management is also a major consideration. To keep devices and sensors up to date and functional, a strong device management solution is a core component of an IoT cloud platform. There are a few main capabilities a device management platform provides, including the ability for manufacturers to send software or firmware updates OTA (over-the-air), factory provisioning, as well as an out-of-box experience (OOBE). OOBE is part of a core experience that is often left to the last minute or completely glossed over. It’s the first experience that an end user, be it a consumer, installer or technician has when interacting with a device for the first time. A great OOBE experience significantly increases the probability of an end user successfully installing and configuring a device. Furthermore, it reduces the likelihood of a support call or the end user returning the product altogether.

Actionable Data:

The last capability you should consider in a IoT data platform is how you can query the data in a manner that is clear and meaningful. Its one thing to get all your data in place, but the value of the data is only realized when it’s turned into information that can help solve a problem. We want organizations to focus on their core competency, like making great appliances or services that deliver value to their customers, rather than focusing on cloud infrastructure that makes it possible. Our job is to provide an end-to-end turn-key solution to connect the world’s IoT devices and provide real-time business insights for decision making. That can take the form of simple dashboard or deep analytics through integration with partners and services. Keep it simple when you’re evaluating IoT data platform options. If a platform is connected, allows two-way communication to the device, device management and a visual IoT data graph, these are the main areas you should focus on during your process.

Some applications of an IoT:

Smart Home:
Smart Home clearly stands out, ranking as highest Internet of Things application on all measured channels. More than 60,000 people currently search for the term “Smart Home” each month. This is not a surprise. The IoT Analytics company database for Smart Home includes 256 companies and startups. More companies are active in smart home than any other application in the field of IoT. The total amount of funding for Smart Home startups currently exceeds $2.5bn. This list includes prominent startup names such as Nest or AlertMe as well as a number of multinational corporations like Philips, Haier, or Belkin.

Connected Car:
The connected car is coming up slowly. Owing to the fact that the development cycles in the automotive industry typically take 2-4 years, we haven’t seen much buzz around the connected car yet. But it seems we are getting there. Most large auto makers as well as some brave startups are working on connected car solutions. And if the BMWs and Fords of this world don’t present the next generation internet connected car soon, other well-known giants will: Google, Microsoft, and Apple have all announced connected car platforms.

Smart Farming:
Smart farming is an often overlooked business-case for the internet of Things because it does not really fit into the well-known categories such as health, mobility, or industrial. However, due to the remoteness of farming operations and the large number of livestock that could be monitored the Internet of Things could revolutionize the way farmers work. But this idea has not yet reached large-scale attention. Nevertheless, one of the applications of the Internet of Things is that it should not be underestimated. Smart farming will become the important application field in the predominantly agricultural-product exporting countries.

Smart City:
Smart city spans a wide variety of use cases, from traffic management to water distribution, to waste management, urban security and environmental monitoring. Its popularity is fueled by the fact that many Smart City solutions promise to alleviate real pains of people living in cities these days. IoT solutions in the area of Smart City solve traffic congestion problems, reduce noise and pollution and help make cities safer.


In conclusion, the IoT has the potential to dramatically increase the availability of information, and is likely to transform companies and organizations in virtually every industry around the world.