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The internet of things (IoT) changes the way your company and industry operates by eliminating some jobs and changing the way other jobs are performed. The IoT devices you’ve heard about are marketed as “smart devices” to consumers, but most fail to deliver real value by helping consumers save time or money. You won’t see Ads on TV for the IoT devices changing your industry. Instead, these devices are sold from one business to another, streamlining operations by reducing or eliminating jobs that require people who enter data or make decisions.
Whether you’re an eCommerce business fulfilling orders or a HVAC company monitoring large industrial installations, your business can use IoT devices to monitor key metrics and make automatic changes to workflow or industrial systems. From cargo containers to excavators to lawnmowers, every “dumb device” will become a connected IoT device in the years to come. What if field technicians proactively repaired your machines and equipment before mechanical failure because sensors warned them that maintenance was needed? What if you could locate every asset owned by your company in realtime? All this and more is possible when you implement a winning IoT strategy.
An IoT ecosystem is one consisting of smart devices that are web-enabled using embedded systems, like sensors, processors, and communication hardware, to send, collect and act on data they receive. The data from the sensor IoT devices collect is shared by connecting to an IoT gateway or an edge device where data is locally analyzed or sent to the Cloud to be analyzed. These devices can also communicate with other related devices, acting on the information they get from each other. Most of the work is done by the devices without human intervention. People can, however, interact with the devices. You can give them instructions or access the data or set a device up.
The networking, connectivity, and communication protocols used by these web-enabled devices mostly depend on the particular IoT applications deployed. Given the diversity of the technology solutions that surround it, it can be hard to find your way through the IoT technological maze. The IoT technology stack comprises 4 basic technology layers to make this Internet of Things work.
The hardware comprises objects or ‘things’ within the Internet of Things. These objects act as an interface between the digital and the real worlds. It can be of different shapes, sizes, and levels of technical complexity based on the task they have to perform within the particular IoT deployment.
The software is what makes these connected devices ‘smart’. It is tasked with handling the communication with the Cloud, integrating devices, collecting data as well as conducting real-time data analysis within the IoT network.
Once you have the hardware and software in place, you’ll need another layer that provides the smart objects with many ways of exchanging information with the IoT world. It is important to consider them as a separate layer even though communications mechanisms are tied strongly to device hardware and software. A communication layer includes both specific protocols used in varying IoT environments (Thread, ZigBee, MQTT, Z-Wave, LwM2M) and physical connectivity solutions (satellite, cellular, LAN). Picking the right communications solution is a crucial part of building every IoT technology stack. The technology chosen determines both how the devices are managed and how they communicate with third-party devices, and the ways in which data is sent to/received from the Cloud.
An IoT platform is a place where all data is gathered, processed, managed, analyzed, and presented in a user-friendly way. Platforms can be either installed on-premise or cloud-based. There are a no. of IoT platforms on the market, with the choice depending on the needs of the specific IoT project. Factors to be taken into consideration include architecture and IoT technology stack, customization properties, reliability, protocols used, security, hardware agnosticism, and cost-effectiveness.
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The internet of things helps people work and live smarter while gaining complete control over their lives. Besides offering smart devices to automate our offices and homes, IoT has become essential to businesses. IoT has provided companies with a real-time view into how their systems actually work, giving us an insight on everything from the supply chain and logistics operations to the performance of machines.
IoT enables companies to reduce labor costs by automating processes. It also improves service delivery and cuts down on waste, making it cheaper to deliver and manufacture goods, as well as making customer transactions more transparent.
As we digitally transform processes on a wider scale, with increasing speed, there are bound to be bumps in the road. As more devices are incorporated into businesses, connectivity and standardization become ever more crucial. When we address these challenges, we can take a significant leap forward in IoT, with sustainability grounded in our business and 5G as the next innovation platform.