Cloud Talk
Cloud perspectives by cloud people at Ridge
Kenny Kleinerman
Ridge

Internet of Things - Can IoT Technology Change the World?

Devices are getting smarter. You will find biometrics machines connected to your company’s HR management software to help human resource professionals; fitness trackers can now send your health or activity data to a mobile app. Even your dog with a biochip implanted in his body is traceable online.

The list of devices connected to the Internet is no longer limited to just desktops, laptops, and smartphones. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the technology that allows devices from lightbulbs to refrigerators to connect to the Internet.

Do you want to use the Internet of Things in business, or are you just curious about the IoT meaning?

This article covers what is Internet of Things, why it is used, the history of Internet of Things, IoT solutions, infrastructure, cloud-smart devices, and the future of IoT.

Internet of Things Definition

If we go by the broader IoT definition, the Internet of Things is a network of all devices connected to the Internet. However, this term is mostly used for Internet-enabled devices (smart devices) that can communicate or interact.

Smart Device definition 

IoT technology connects smart devices. Smart devices are anything that has sensors, processing abilities, and software. Smart device examples include a smart doorbell that senses activity outside your front door, a wearable smartwatch, or a smartphone.

You might be wondering, “What are IoT devices and what aren’t?” It’s easy to confuse standard devices working in isolation and “smart” devices.

For example, a pacemaker is not an IoT device, but a heart monitor is. Why? A pacemaker does not send out data, whereas a heart monitor is connected to a larger system to communicate with other devices. 

History of the Internet of Things  

The concept of linked devices transmitting and sharing data dates back to the 1960s, when the very first Internet of Things examples were tested and launched.

In 1999, Kevin Ashton coined the term Internet of Things in relation to the idea of adding radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips to revolutionize supply chain processes. 

Since then, the technology and its scope have grown leaps and bounds. According to Gartner, IoT revenue will reach $21 billion by 2022.

The 21st century has seen smart refrigerators, phones, watches, cars, medical equipment, homes, cameras, sensors, and more. With new IoT companies launching all the time, this sector will continue to evolve and expand in the coming years. More on the future of IoT later in this article.

IoT diagram

How Does IoT Work? 

Now that you have a basic idea of what does IoT means, see how it actually functions.

Firstly, the IoT network requires a group of web-enabled devices capable of performing: 

  • Data capturing
  • Data collection
  • Data transmission
  • Data exchange 

To gather and communicate data, IoT devices must have sensors, processors, and a communication mechanism. Storage is an additional but non-essential capability of Internet of Things devices.

Secondly, the data exchange among IoT devices happens through sensors using IoT gateways and the Internet. IoT development experts use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to make them work without human intervention.

To understand it in detail, here is a breakdown of the components of a typical IoT ecosystem:

Things: Smart devices in the IoT network

Sensors: Sensor manufacturing companies design low-cost tiny devices for the Internet of Things data collection without boosting the cost or size of IoT devices.

Connectivity mechanism: Things, through sensors, connect to the cloud or devices via the Internet using a set of networking protocols and relevant technology. 

IoT Gateway: The bridge that connects two IoT devices or the IoT device to the cloud.

Authentication Mechanism: Secure data collection or exchange is allowed once the identity of the recipient and sender objects is verified.

IoT Cloud Platforms or Backend Databases: IoT manufacturers and users utilize the IoT cloud infrastructure to enable services, store data, perform analysis, and retrieve records. Some conventional IoT implementations still use on-premise servers or other such database systems as backend.

AI and ML processes: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms automate most of the operations of IoT networks to simplify users’ work.

User Interface: The small screen, buttons, touch sensors, and other IoT device components let end-users interact with IoT devices.

NLP (Natural Language Processing) methods and actuators: These implementations give users the output signals, messages, and text notifications.


examples of an IoT system diagram

Source


Benefits of Internet of Things - What Is It Good For? 

Why does IoT matter? How does it benefit modern technology?

This technology has applications in almost every industry, including manufacturing, production, transportation, medical, healthcare, retail, safety, government, and logistics. The benefits of IoT for businesses as well as in our daily lives are countless, such as:

  • Automated monitoring of business processes
  • Streamlined business operations and an edge over competitors
  • Better decision-making through real-time data collection
  • Higher employee productivity 
  • Reduced human labor, thanks to automation
  • Seamless connectivity for devices and people in transit
  • Infrastructure or agricultural change monitoring 
  • More manageable and fool-proof disaster or risk management
  • Fewer efforts and energy consumption through smart data collection and operations

How Is Big Data and the Internet of Things Connected?


Big Data is the collection of a vast dataset collected using various devices. IoT has enabled companies to amass and study these large datasets to make business decisions or targeted ad campaigns. Every time your fitness tracker uploads GPS data, or your smart refrigerator alerts you that it’s time to schedule maintenance, this data is stored in an IoT server and contributes to Big Data.


Tip: For IoT infrastructure companies dealing with giant data sets, consider leveraging IoT Data as a Service (DaaS).


IoT Solutions, IoT Services, & IoT Use-cases

Now that you know the Internet of Things meaning and why Internet of Things is needed, let’s explore the IoT solutions or services available for businesses and individuals. Here is a quick list:

IoT Cloud Computing

IoT cloud computing enables businesses to store data from smart devices and fetch the data quickly for analysis. If you want the Internet of Things platform as a service, go with reliable cloud service providers like Ridge.

Using the cloud is indeed better for service providers instead of managing private networks. Internet of Things servers that store data and handle information exchange are generally located in IoT cloud platforms.  

IoT Network 

An IoT network is what connects smart devices to the IoT server. Depending on your security, automation, operations, storage, and intelligence requirements, the elements used in your IoT network will change. For example, a dedicated IoT network will require a dedicated or private cloud space.

IoT Edge 

Edge cloud computing places servers at various geographical locations to respond to local end-user requests faster and assure hyper-low latency for time-critical applications. By connecting IoT edge devices to an edge cloud, you can improve the performance of your IoT network and devices, enhancing the user experience efficiently.

IoT Cloud Platforms 

Developers of Internet of Things applications and big tech projects rely on IoT cloud hosting to build stable IoT businesses and expand their operations seamlessly. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the many benefits of cloud hosting, look for a service provider like Ridge.co that uses distributed computing technology.

IoT Cloud Server 

IoT cloud services vary from platform to hosting, server, and appliances. In the case of IoT Cloud Server as a Service, you arrange cloud-connected devices into a server configuration that fits your needs. 

For example, Edge IoT will be the right pick when your application demands real-time data collection in many locations across the globe. However, when your devices are localized in one area or you only require monthly data analysis, such a high-end deployment is not essential.

IoT Infrastructure: Types of IoT Architecture

IoT integration in your business infrastructure requires choosing the right model for your deployment. Your options are:

  1. Conventional Cloud Computing Model
  2. Edge Computing Model 


cloud computing model vs. edge computing model diagram

Source

Future of Cloud-Based Smart Devices 

IoT usabillity diagram

Source


The answer to the question “what is IoT used for” is constantly growing as IoT expands into new industries and use cases. A few possible answers are:

  • Smart driverless cars leveraging IoT and AI are in testing today. Tomorrow, they will most probably be the norm.
  • Smart cities and smart homes are rare today. Tomorrow, we may enjoy the convenience of WiFi-enabled smart houses connected over the Internet.
  • IoT security, IoT intelligence, and IoT automation 


IoT Deployments on Ridge Cloud

At Ridge, we stay at the forefront of IoT development with our IoT edge platform and cloud computing offerings. IoT applications hosted with us can achieve hyper-low latency while staying compliance-optimized and available in all your target locations.

Ridge not only helps apps operate under data locality constraints but also keeps the whole deployment cost-effective. Our fully managed cloud services for IoT setups achieve super-agility and truly live up to the definition of “smart.”


IoT - Frequently Asked Questions 

What is IoT cloud platform?

An IoT cloud platform lets businesses deploy their IoT applications and connect them to smart devices. You may consider it an IoT cloud hosting service for storage, operations, analytics, and interaction purposes. IoT PaaS (Platform as a Service) is becoming more famous due to its affordability, reliability, efficiency, and convenience.

Why is IoT important?

Internet of Things (or IoT) is essential to ensure connectivity between all kinds of web-enabled or cloud-connected devices. This way, it is possible to automatically collect real-time data and use it for analytics, decision-making, operations, risk management, etc. 

What can IoT be used for?

IoT can be used for transportation monitoring, supply chain management, retail inventory management, security, surveillance, energy management, agriculture ecosystem monitoring, resource utilization in all industries, and other domains. 

What are IoT and cloud computing examples?

IoT platform solutions use cloud computing.

IoT smart devices include smartwatches, smart kitchen appliances, and smart home security systems. From all options and categories, the best example of IoT devices are:

  • Fitness trackers
  • Driverless cars
  • Home security solutions, such as smart doorbells
  • Healthcare devices, like heart monitors
  • Traffic monitoring systems
  • Smart farming equipment
  • Smart weather sensors transfer gathered heat, temperature, and moisture information to connected devices
  • Drones

How do you store IoT data in the cloud?

Storing IoT data in the cloud requires an object-based storage service. Consider an object orchestration platform like Ridge for IoT to leverage the most out of your IoT implementation and deliver a seamless user experience to your end-users.


 
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