The Internet of Things architecture demystified

The Internet of Things is a combination / ecosystem of devices that could be used to sense/ measure changes in the environmental parameters and transfer data over the network. This was out there for a very large period, but it has gained its true credit in the past few years. The Internet of Things is now known to change the world around us. IoT brings life into technology. The underlying concept of Internet of Things was to connect inanimate devices over the internet without human intervention.

The evolution of IoT was with the evolution of Internet and both are pretty much related to each other. In the time before Internet had evolved, most humans communicated using fixed and mobile telephony. With the origin of the Internet, the world around humans changed a lot. The people could be miles away from each other, or rather countries apart from each other but could share the most minute information with each other using just a simple button click.

After few years, social media exploded to gain huge popularity. Many Sites like Myspace and LinkedIn gained prominence in the early 2000s. With the rise of YouTube in 2005, people attained a new way to communicate and share their thoughts and ideas with each other.

Nearly all the data available on the Internet today was first captured and created by human beings. The main problem with people was they had limited time, attention, and accuracy, and therefore it was not possible for them to capture all the minute details of the surrounding and feed it to the computer in the form of data. This would have been an easier task if the computers knew to take input directly from the environment and using this data would have helped to be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost and this gave birth to the Internet of Things.

IoT Architecture

IoT is not just a system of internet-connected devices. It is a technology that creates systems or devices that are capable to sense, response and work automatically whenever exposed to a changed stimulation from the environment it is kept in without the interference of human beings. We therefore need to develop a process flow for a definite framework for which the IoT solution is built. The IoT Architecture has basically four stages:

  • Sensors, Devices, ad Actuators
  • Data Acquisition Systems
  • Pre-processing, Edge Analytics
  • Cloud Analytics

Sensors, Devices, Actuators (Stage 1)

A thing in the term “Internet of Things”, relates to sensors and actuators that would be responsible for emitting, accepting and processing signals received by them when they are placed in the real environment.

Data Acquisition Systems (Stage 2)

The data collected by the sensors are mostly in the analogous form that needs to be accumulated and converted into digital streams for further processing. The Data Acquisition Systems perform all these operations.

Edge Analytics (Stage 3)

Once the data has been analysed and accumulated, it might need another level of processing before it is registered into the data centre. This processing is helped by the Edge Analytics Services.

Cloud Analytics (Stage 4)

Some of the data needs to be analysed in more depth. These data might be required for Data Analysis purposes or to feed in as training sets in Machine Learning Models. Such data are forwarded to either the physical data centres or the cloud-based data storage systems.

Applications of IoT

Huge applications either small scale, medium scale, or large scale have developed using IoT and are being popularly used all over the world. Some of the large-scale applications of IoT may be

  • Natural Disaster Management with IoT: Internet of Things can be used as a platform that helps accumulate data related to specific geographic locations using remote monitoring tools. These data could be then used to perform analytics so that there could be early warnings of a disaster could be generated.
  • Health care: Internet of Things can be extremely useful when it comes to remote health monitoring. Patients could be kept under observation even when they are in a move and every minute readings or reports could be sent to the doctor using the IoT platform.
  • Smart farming: The strenuous task of irrigation could easily be automated according to the temperature, humidity content and light of the given environment. A set of sensors could be modified to continuously monitor the conditions and help in irrigation of the farms as required.
  • Smart energy Management: Smart Grids are being currently developed so that the distribution of energy could be optimised. The grids could help in collecting the real- time data which would further help in distributing electricity efficiently and would also help to reduce the outages.
  • Pollution control: The IoT platform could be used to continuously monitor air and Water Quality. This data would be sent to the cloud so that further analysis could be done on the record and proper action could be taken according to the predictions made to control pollution in the environment.

Apart from all these activities, there are several other uses of IoT some of which are on a small scale and are merely used to ease out human efforts.

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