Internet of things

Ever wondered what if each and every device we have, could talk and express its current state to a human, or a computer could monitor the efficiency of the device or to know what the device is doing, whether it is switched on or not, or just simply two devices communicating with each other over a shared network so that they both can work to a better efficiency and coordinate better if the input of one depends on the output of the other, or going to the extent of remotely controlling the device no matter how far you are from the device. This technological, hypothetical dream has been made true with the help of Internet of things. Coined in the year 1999, the internet of things is doing wonders in the field of electronics and communication and it is not only limited to this single field but has proven to be effectively good in wireless communication, analytics, machine learning and many more applications. The conventional fields like microcontroller, sensors, actuators, control system all combine to form the backbone of this new technology and equally contribute a lot to it. The vision for ‘internet of things’ dates back to 1982 in Carnegie Mellon University where the first device that was connected to the internet was able to report about whether the drinks present inside it was cold enough or not, and, it was made possible with the help of a feedback control system. The basic definition of internet of things means that we connect the electronic devices or objects that we use daily, to the internet along with the other devices that are near them and let them analyse themselves and the devices they are connected to, find patterns and work more intelligently so that they can be used in a more efficiently manner than they are actually capable of, for example let us take an example of a refrigerator which is connected to the internet and to the same network is connected a thermometer, when the thermometer receives that the temperature outside is high, the refrigerator connected to the same network will increase the power consumption so that the drinks are even colder. Now both the thermometer and the refrigerator will start to analyse a pattern that during this time of the day or this month of the year, it would be pretty hot and hence they will adjust their working capacity automatically and hence would be better at what they do and could be done more efficiently without any human interference.

Internet of things doesn’t just mean the connection of electronic devices with each other but what it actually means is the devices making out a pattern of use or work with the help of the interconnection they have with all the other devices present around them. Even the smallest and the most simple electronic devices could be connected to the internet and made to realise a pattern using some kind of machine learning algorithm, for example, let's take a light bulb and connect some sensors to it which count the number of people that are below the bulb and the brightness of the bulb will increase or decrease with the increase and the decrease of the number of people standing below it. Now what the machine learning algorithm/ neural network algorithm will do is, it will start analyzing the patterns that at what duration how many people were below that bulb and will adjust the brightness accordingly taking time as the common factor. This is the most basic and the simple example for the Internet of things.

We can divide an IOT object into two basic parts, that is the sensors and the actuators. The sensors are the ones which sense the environment in which the device is, lets, for instance, take the example of a self-driving or commonly known as a driverless car which is the best example of IOT working in the best complexity. The sensors here would be the GPS location, the speed, the throttle, the various motion sensors present inside, the distance sensors present on the outside which calculate the distance of the car from the other traffic present on the road, we have the safety sensors as the airbags and the antilock braking system. On the other hand, we have the actuators which act on the output given by the sensors which take the input from the external stimuli. These actuators can also be explained from the example of the driverless car wherein the actuators will be the wipers, or the engine’s throttle, the braking system and the horn of the car.

Advantages of the Internet of things

When we connect our electronic devices to the Internet and let them all communicate with each other, this has some advantages which are given below:

  1. Increased efficiency: When many devices are connected to each other, they communicate with each other and this helps them analyze patterns that help in a better performance and less consumption of energy resulting in an overall profit.
  2. Safety: when sensors are placed at traffic signals, that judge the number of vehicles at one single place, then they would set the lights of other signals accordingly, hence de-congesting the roads resulting in a safer travel for many people.
  3. Human health and health services: placing sensors at human body can help identify various problems that a person already has in case of a mishap, for e.g. if someone meets with an accident, the doctors will already know the blood group of the person, or if the person is allergic to some kind of specific medicine, and even the doctors or the staff will come to know whom to contact at the time of an emergency and the treatment will be much easier and less time to consume which could save someone’s life.