Since the introduction of the Internet, there have been a lot of developments around it. But the most significant of them all is the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT simply means interlinking various devices (hereby called things) through the internet in a way that the devices can be started and stopped without a human-to-computer interaction. The devices or things, in this case, could be anything electronic or electromechanical; it could be a washing machine, cellphone, coffee maker, lamps, streetlights, jet engine, drilling rig engine, etc.
Normally, the connected things/devices are usually part of a very large network. For instance, the devices could be Streetlights which could be connected to other security devices like CCTV cameras and automated gates.
The relation within the IoT network is usually people-to-people, people-to-things, and things-to-things.
Does IoT really depend on the internet?
Definitely yes! The internet acts as the channel through which commands and information are shared between the various interconnected devices. In simple terms, it is the link between the various devices.
When something is connected to the internet, it can send or receive information or even do both. Therefore we can classify the devices into three:
i. Those that gather and send information
ii. Those that receive and act on the information
iii. Those that can gather and send information and also be able to receive and act on information from other sources
Devices that gather and send information
These devices normally have sensors. Example of sensors includes moisture sensors, temperature sensors, air quality sensors, motion sensors, light sensor, etc.
The sensors collect the raw information and transcribe it into signals or commands which are sent to the receivers to encode and act upon them.
Devices that receive and act upon the information
For any mechanism to work, it will have to receive a command from somewhere. It could be a printer receiving a command to print a certain document or an engine receiving a command to start or stop.
To receive the signals or commands, the mechanisms must have transducers or decoders which decode the signal and interpret it for the specific task it is meant for.
Devices that can do both of the above
In most cases, IoT things will be able to collect information and also act on it without the need to relay it to another device to work on it. Nowadays, devices are being made with microchips which come with microchips which makes it easy to house both sensors and receivers at the same place without the need for a large housing.
A company could have some motion detectors (sensors) and streetlights installed at their main entrance. The main entrance could be an automated gate interlinked with facial recognition devices.
If a person approaches the gate, the motion detectors will detect the motion and send a signal to the streetlights, which are programmed to light once a signal is sent from the motion detectors. The facial recognition devices would then be actualized to analyze the face of the person. If the person is somebody recognizable, the facial recognition devices would send a signal to the automated gate system to open and let the person in.
Why is IoT important?
IOT enables businesses and people to tap into technology. It gives them the efficiency they require in their operations since it brings on board some degree of automation.