Technology has become a significant part of our everyday life. We utilize tech to communicate, entertain ourselves, advertise things, do our shopping, and so much more. As per the 21st century, tech has made its way into multiple industries ranging from the medical industry, education, the automotive industry, et cetera. However, even though tech is pretty efficient, most of the tasks it helps us undertake require the use of internet-connected devices. What’s more, with connectivity, you can merge most of your gadgets and configure them to work seamlessly. So, above being a primary need for the advancement of technology, connectivity helps make tech gadgets more efficient, and that is where IoT devices come in.
IoT devices are simply unique gadgets that help you take internet connectivity everywhere you go. Many different types of IoT devices exist, and they all help create a seamless experience where you play and work. Moreover, they also have multiple medical, industrial, and enterprise applications. But what exactly is an IoT? How does a smart IoT device function? And how are these devices transforming the world?
What is an IoT Device?
IoT (internet of things) devices are unique hardware gadgets programmed to undertake a specific task involving transmitting data throughout networks and over the internet.
IoT gadgets come in varying shapes, sizes, uses, and designs. Computational machines, appliances, actuators, and sensors are all different IoT devices.
Even though personal computers are pretty efficient, in some cases, they tend to be inefficient in terms of portability. However, IoT devices are pretty tiny compared to PCs. Therefore users can easily carry these gadgets anywhere they go.
Due to their portability and efficiency, IoT devices help individuals collect data from their environment, analyze it and make sense of it using machine learning Artificial Intelligence.
Some common IoT gadgets include:
- Smart home gadgets, for example, Amazon Alexa and Google Nest thermostat
- Home security gadgets, for example, ring cameras
IoT gadgets are uniquely designed to handle different applications. For example, gadgets such as medical implants and devices help humans live an active and healthy lifestyle. Other gadgets such as sensors help businesses and homeowners up their security systems while simultaneously helping them control things such as home temperature remotely.
IoT Devices, how do they function?
An IoT gadget is a small computer that simply sends data to the cloud. When the cloud receives the data, it processes it and then figures out the appropriate action or actions to take.
For instance, after processing the data received from IoT devices, the cloud software might decide to:
- Adjust a specific sensor
- Send a unique alert to a particular device
- Display a unique notification on a specific gadget, et cetera
The action solely depends on the nature of the data that the IoT device sends to the cloud.
Most IoT gadgets are designed to handle data autonomously. They hence don’t require human interaction, except for the programming part. Therefore, after programming the device, you can forget about it entirely.
However, these IoT devices also bear a UI (user interface) that users can utilize for various functionalities. For starters, some tasks might require the user’s authorization. Therefore, the IoT device will sometimes bring out a UI that the user can utilize to authorize these actions.
The adjustments made by the user via the IoT device’s UI are then transmitted back via the gadget’s system. After processing the adjustments, the IoT devices determine the appropriate action to take. For example, the action could be recording a particular anomaly, ignoring a specific alert, or even sending a text.
IoT devices bear four components that help them function efficiently. These components are:
- Devices or sensors
- Data processing
- A user interface
Sensors and Devices
Sensors and IoT devices work hand in hand to collect information from their environment. They do so by, for example:
- Gauging barometric pressure or temperature
- Tracking specific operations
- Learning info from videos et cetera
IoT gadgets utilize various techniques to collect information from their environment. For instance, IoTs can use GPS, accelerometers, or cameras to collect multiple forms of data.
Smart home gadgets, for example, utilize voice sensors for voice recognition, while motion sensors, on the other hand, use motion sensing IoT technology to detect vibrations.
Connectivity to Transmit Data
After collecting data from the user’s environment via sensors, the IoT device must transmit the data to the cloud for processing. Connectivity helps move the data from the IoT device to the cloud.
Several methods of connecting IoT gadgets to the cloud exist. These methods include:
However, before choosing the method to utilize, you must consider the type of data you will collect and how you will use it after gathering it. You also need to consider using the IoT device to meet your needs.
A device that does not bear network connectivity cannot fall under IoT devices. In other words, the data that an IoT device collects tends to be useless unless it is sent to the cloud via connectivity for processing. Therefore connectivity is a crucial aspect of IoT.
After collecting info, the IoT gadget sends the data to the cloud. So now it is for data processing.
Since computers can’t communicate qualitative info, they have to rely on parameters, communication protocols, wireless protocols and policies to read, analyze and process data before deciding the actions to take.
The cloud utilizes data processing to convert raw data to a form that is machine-readable. The IoT device then uses information from the cloud to decide on the actions to take.
IoT gadgets are specially programmed to understand specific datasets. After sensing these datasets, they process them and decide on the task or function to carry out based on the contents of the datasets.
The User Interface
Most IoT gadgets bear a user interface that users can utilize to carry out machine interaction. For example, the user can easily communicate with the device and give it instructions. The instructions can range in terms of complexity, but most of them are pretty crucial.
What’s more, after data processing is done, the user receives an output via the user interface. For instance, if you are utilizing a motion detector to help up your home security, the device might send you a text if it senses motion while you are away. Some are even equipped to sound an alarm if they sense movement when armed.
Most popular IoT Devices and how they are utilized
Different IoT devices undertake various tasks. What’s more, other IoT devices tend to be helpful in different industries. Therefore, we must break them into subcategories to better understand IoT gadgets.
IoTs are slowly transforming how industries transport, manufacture and maintain their materials and assets. When combined with IoT software meant for industrial purposes only, IoT devices help manufacturers manage their:
- Product Quality
- Profits et cetera
Moreover, these devices also help manufacturers automate specific tasks, improving productivity while lowering labor costs.
Examples of industrial IoT devices include:
Security System IoT Devices
Industrial Organizations are now utilizing IoT motion sensors, cameras, and auto arm and disarm functionalities to up the security of their job sites and locations.
Devices used for Safety IOT Applications
Examples of IoTs that manufacturers utilize for safety applications include:
- Biological and chemical detectors
- Unsafe conditions automatically trigger these sensors, for example decreased oxygen levels and high temperatures. A smoke alarm is a good examples of such IoT devices.
- IoT gadgets that monitor how various machines function
Some manufacturers are now bringing together IoT devices and ERP programs to automate specific tasks, for example:
- Ticket maintenance
- Undertaking predictive analytic
- Monitoring the supply chain
Machine Sensor IoTs
A machine sensor is a reliable IoT device that helps in terms of monitoring and managing activities such as:
- Starting and completing a cycle
- Maintenance et cetera
Project Management IoTs
Manufacturers are now turning to IoT devices to help make the project management process easier to handle. For example, through various IoT software programs, manufacturers can visually plan out a project management plan and then utilize the plan to complete the project successfully.
Reliable Security IoT Device
Home security and smart home devices are becoming popular in the 21st century. The utilization of natural language processing artificial intelligence technology to help devices understand commands and questions now helps many people worldwide undertake tasks such as shopping and controling house media with ease.
Common IoT gadgets in this industry fall under the following categories:
Motion detection IoT Devices
Active and passive Motion detectors send out a response or an output whenever they detect motion. Therefore, under this category, you will find motion detectors such as the famous ring camera that people utilize in their homes to send out an alert whenever a person approaches their door.
Auto Recording IoT Devices
Home security IoT cameras now bear a functionality that allows the cameras to record voices automatically during specific events or at specific hours. The cameras then save the recording or send out an alert depending on the content of the recorded voices.
Remote Disarm and Arm IoT Devices
Connected IoT devices transmit data to the cloud. Therefore, devices utilized for security purposes can be armed and disarmed remotely using a simple mobile phone app. Moreover, using this smartphone app, you can easily manipulate the IoT devices to undertake various tasks such as zoom in and out.
Smart Home functionalities
Smart home devices can also act as home security system substitutes. That is because these devices can easily:
- Turn on house lights
- Turn on air and heat conditioning
- Play music automatically
- Turn on the television, et cetera
All these functionalities help mimic household activities creating an illusion that keeps burglars away from your home.
Fitness and Healthcare IoTs
There are so many IoT wearable gadgets in the fitness and health industries. These wearable perform varying tasks based on bio inputs. These IoT gadgets also provide a way for healthcare providers to:
- Automatically load billing details, biometric data, and research
- Streamline the access to treatment data regarding patients
Over time, these two functionalities have made the healthcare industry more productive and efficient.
IoT devices that are pretty popular in the healthcare and fitness industries include:
Wearable Healthcare IoT Gadgets
Wearable gadgets, such as rings and wristbands, are becoming pretty popular today. People are now utilizing these gadgets to monitor their heart rate, hormone levels, vitals, et cetera.
These gadgets also help healthcare providers detect health issues before they become vital, assisting humans in living a longer and healthier life.
IoT implants help healthcare providers gain real-time information regarding crucial biodata. Using this information, doctors can devise methods to deal with diseases effectively.
Activity Tracker IoTs
Activity tracker IoT devices are unique wearables that help users track various fitness activities, for example:
- Calories burned
- Heart rate
- Percentage of body fat, et cetera
IoT baby monitors combine the power of traditional baby monitors with cameras and AI technology to produce a hybrid baby monitor. These baby monitors send live video feeds to your smartphone that you can use to track your baby’s progress in real-time. Moreover, these monitors utilize sensors and AI technology to detect motion, breath rate alterations, blood oxygen levels, and heart rate changes. They then send you notifications whenever anything unusual occurs.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are two popular 21st-century buzzwords, especially now that Web 3.0 and Meta concepts are becoming a reality.
The idea behind AR and VR is that users can now wear devices that let them interact with special software programs connected to the internet of things. Through these devices, users can easily generate virtual experiences that impact the physical world.
AR and VR are pretty popular in the gaming industry. However, over time other sectors have begun to find uses for these two crucial pieces of tech. For example, industries such as education, healthcare, and fitness are now utilizing VR and AR for varying purposes, including simulating events for training purposes.
The most popular VR and AR IoT devices include:
Head-mounted Augmented Reality IoT Gadgets
Smart IoT glasses are examples of head-mounted Augmented Reality IoT gadgets. These devices simply display info in a way that tricks you into thinking the information is in front of your face.
Feature Tracking and Mobile AR
Most smartphones now come bearing a feature that lets you scan QR codes, identify plants or bring images to life when you view the images through a unique lens.
Standalone Virtual Reality Devices
Standalone VR gadgets look almost precisely like head-mounted Augmented Reality devices, physically. These gadgets utilize spatial computing to offer a great virtual experience.
Depth Sensors and Mobile AR
Depth sensors and mobile augmented reality devices utilize simultaneous mapping and localizing to gain information regarding your environment. They then generate a three-dimensional virtual experience for you using the collected data.
Mixed Reality Photon projection Action
Mixed reality photon projection action is the next big thing in AR and VR. It is where gadgets shoot photons inside the eye of a blind user, helping provide a virtual experience for them.
IoT in the Banking and Financing Industry
Overtime fintech has become pretty popular. That is because fintech provides bank users with accessibility and convenience. Now bank users can withdraw cash in the comfort of their homes and pay bills via their phones.
Due to these factors and more, the fintech industry is growing pretty fast, with companies now integrating IoT to make their services more unique and compelling.
Examples of IoT devices utilized in the fintech industry include:
ATMs are IoT devices that allow bank users to withdraw cash from remote locations without dealing with a human banker. In doing so, bank users save time, making these devices pretty effective.
Asset Monitoring Smart Devices
Security is a pretty big deal when it comes to fintech. Therefore, companies are now utilizing intelligent asset monitoring IoT gadgets to monitor various devices connected to different networks.
Most fintech companies now offer POS terminals to help users record and store transaction information in real-time.
IoT Device Trends
Intelligent cities are simply cities that utilize IoT to automate everyday operations. These operations include:
Keeping street lights on at given hours helps make a city more attractive. It is also pretty crucial in boosting the city’s security.
Smart lighting ensures that street lights light up automatically at given hours and turn off during the day to preserve energy.
Handling waste materials tends to be tiring, and when not handled right, the waste can cause health issues to human beings. However, through IoT, different governments have found ways to make this task less error-prone and time-consuming.
An example of smart waste Iot can be seen in cities that utilize dumpsters equipped with sensors that act like analytical tools. These sensors detect when trash receptacles are about to overflow, and then by utilizing AI technology, they use their pre-set pest control to handle the situation. Others detect when the dumpster is about to fill up and then send out a notification for the dumpster to be emptied.
Driving around a busy town can be pretty challenging. However, using IoT, different companies have found a way to make this ordeal less challenging. For example, cars in intelligent cities come equipped with devices that help drivers communicate with the authority in case of an accident. Using these devices, the driver can send crucial information, such as the location of the accidents and their health status. After receiving this information, the authorities assess the situation before reporting to the scene and carry sufficient resources to handle the situation.
Finding a parking spot in busy cities is a nightmare for many people. However, in intelligent cities, this is not the case.
Some parking lots are now utilizing IoT to monitor open parking spaces to help drivers find parking spots more easily. Other smart parking systems even use vehicle feedback to map out parking spaces that are empty accurately.
Using this technology does not only make life easier for drivers; it also helps the government handle overcrowding in specific areas. That is because they can manipulate drivers into thinking certain spots are full, redirecting them to less crowded places in the city.
Monitoring the Environment
Most cities around the world have issues when it comes to dealing with environmental problems. However, intelligent cities have found ways to handle environmental issues more effectively using IoT.
For instance, by using air-quality monitors, people living in smart cities can gain information regarding the air quality around them. When these gadgets detect harmful conditions, they alert smart city residents, and proper measures are taken.
These air quality monitors even pinpoint the areas responsible for these harmful discharges, narrowing the search immensely.
Other devices for example buoy moorings, smart sensors, sondes et cetera are also used to monitor the environment efficiently.
Pros of IoT Gadgets
Some crucial benefits of utilizing IoT in our day-to-day life include:
IoT gadgets help manufacturers and employees automate various tasks. By automating these tasks, IoT helps humans focus on more critical tasks, for example brainstorming to gain new ideas.
IoT gadgets aren’t self-contained; this means that info collected by the IoT gadget can be accessed by authorized users anytime and at any place.
Better utilization of Assets and Resources
IoT gadgets streamline resource and maintenance planning activities when integrated into an ERP system. Doing so helps managers utilize assets and resources more efficiently.
Improved Industrial Safety
Some companies now utilize IoT devices to monitor hazardous components and regulate machinery. Doing so helps boost industrial safety immensely.
Cons of utilizing IoT Devices
Even though smart devices are efficient, they still bear some disadvantages that include:
Research shows that mobile attacks are launched every thirty-nine seconds, and the existence of IoT devices only provides more pathways for hackers to use to infiltrate a network.
Power and Network Dependence
In the absence of connectivity and power, smart devices tend to be useless.
The implementation of IoT devices does not come at a low price. For starters, smart devices are expensive, and implementing them in an organization means you have to carry out organization-wide training.
IoT devices are, without a doubt transforming the world as we know it. Using these devices, you can now remotely control light, music, and smart thermostats in your home, et cetera, or using voice commands. Cities worldwide are now utilizing this technology to handle tasks such as managing waste components, controlling parking spots, monitoring the environment, et cetera. Moreover, various industries, for example, the automotive and medical sectors, are turning to IoT to improve their processes. All these are examples of how useful IoT has become to the world. We hope that new advances will show up to take IoT technologies to the next level.