Getting to Know the Internet of Things Devices

internet of things devices

Getting to Know the Internet of Things Devices

When people talk about the Internet of Things, they are actually referring to the network of multiple devices. That are able to communicate with each other and their users through the use of different technologies. A vast majority of the Internet of Things devices are capable of collecting different types of data from their surroundings through the use of sensors.

A smartphone, for example, is capable of detecting so many exterior parameters through its different sensors. Things like ambient temperature, its position and location at any given moment in time. Also includes its acceleration and movement, audio signals, touch input, and other data are collected by the device. All of these data sets are collected by the device and then relayed to other devices when necessary.  

It is also able to provide this information to its user when needed. Aside from smartphones, which some people now consider a computer platform instead of an Internet of Things device, simple everyday things around us are now turning into the Internet of Things devices. A light bulb, for example, is a device that most people wouldn’t really consider as “smart”. The light bulb has been around for quite a while now and most people don’t give it much thought. However, with the advent of smaller and more advance photovoltaic sensors. These devices have now essentially been transformed into smart objects.

The development of more advanced microchips has also made it possible for different devices and objects. To be able to make functional decisions on the fly depending on how they perceive the environment. This is through the use of their multiple on-board sensors. This has of course greatly changed the way we live our day to day lives. As well as how we conduct our business. Efficiency and productivity have skyrocketed in the past couple of years thanks to the implementation of the Internet of Things technology. By also analyzing the different devices data gathering, corporations and analytics companies are able to formulate different strategies. Including  quick changes base on customer’s behaviors and patterns.

Everyday objects that have become IoT devices


Light Bulbs

That is equipped with a photovoltaic sensor and a communication system can now function as an Internet of Things device. For example, by being able to detect whether there is already an available light source within a room. Either from the sun or another lighting fixture, a smart light bulb can now automatically turn itself on and off automatically. If the same device is also equipped with a motion sensor, it can now turn itself on and off. That would be depending on whether or not there is someone in the room.

To take this technology a step further, a light bulb that is equipped with a communication device that can transmit and receive data. May it be from Bluetooth, WiFi, or other methods, can now “talk” to other systems within a house. Or a user’s smartphone to determine whether or not it should turn itself on or off. These types of systems are of course now proliferating to other objects outside of just light bulbs.

Air conditioning systems and Thermostats

Different appliances inside a smart home can now basically function automatically without any input from its users. By being able to function without much input, these devices basically become much more useful and convenient for users. Another big advantage, of course, is that with human input now out of the equation. These devices can now function more efficiently resulting in large power savings.

Automated air conditioning systems and thermostats, for example, can now regulate the temperature of different parts of the house. Or building without people needing to turn them on and off. By being able to take into considerations the ambient temperature outside and  inside, the number of users inside a specific area, and other parameters. Smart thermostats, and air conditioning system can automatically adjust themselves to run at their optimal levels. To ensure ample cooling and heating as needed. By being able to turn themselves off automatically when not in need. These systems can save their operators huge amounts of money in electricity bills.

A lot of everyday household appliances have also now become smart objects. That are able to communicate with each other and other devices. Companies such as Samsung and LG have invested billions into acquiring different Internet of Things technologies. As well as start-ups to integrate into their different household products.

Home Appliances

Basic appliances such as television sets and refrigerators have already become “smart”. With multiple versions of them now being available in stores around the world. Smart televisions are now able to communicate with our smartphones. And our personal online accounts to determine what types of shows we will likely want to watch. These televisions can also be controlled online or through a smartphone app to do a number of different tasks such as recording specific shows or streaming a specific video online.

Smart refrigerators, on the other hand, can now keep track of the items that have been placed inside it. As demonstrated by various companies, these devices can even keep track of the different item’s expiry dates, which it can then use to tell its users if something needs to be thrown out or replaced.

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Smart Vehicles

Perhaps one of the most publicized and popular Internet of Things devices that have been around for some time now are smart vehicles. Smart vehicles or autonomous vehicles have been making the rounds online as the public continues to be amazed by the technology. Not so long ago, people would have been shocked to see a vehicle that is capable of parking itself or driving itself on the highway.  

However, with the introduction of cars such as the Tesla Model 3 and other semi-autonomous vehicles, these features have now become commonplace. It is actually quite amazing how much technology is needed for these devices to be able to do these feats so seamlessly. A smart vehicle is actually able to detect its position and the position of the things around it through the use of sensors such as radar, lidar, infrared, and lasers.

Through the use of on-board computers, the vehicle is then able to calculate its movements to avoid obstacles in order for it to reach its destination. In the future, smart vehicles will soon be able to communicate with all of the others cars on the street as well as other city infrastructures while in transit. This will undoubtedly reduce traffic in major cities, not to mention reduce the overall amount of accidents on the streets.

Smart Speakers

In 2015, there was an estimated 83 million Internet of Things devices that were found in people’s homes. Aside from their security systems, smart televisions, smart lighting systems, and smart appliances, additional smart devices such as smart wearable tech and smart speakers have now also become quite popular. With the advent of smart speakers, artificial intelligence powered smart assistants have also now started to become quite common in most homes in the United States.

These smart assistants, who take advantage of cloud computing, can be embedded in a number of devices. Due to the fact that the computing necessary to produce the assistant’s different abilities are not done within the device itself, even under powered devices can now feature them as long as there is an online connection. Most of the computation and calculations necessary for the assistant’s responses are done on the cloud through cloud computing.

Smart assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Google Assistant, can do a multitude of tasks both automatically and on command. Some of these tasks include communicating with other Internet of Things devices to accomplish certain objectives. For example, smart assistants can now be commanded to turn on or off different appliances. It can also schedule specific functions for different machines. And even automatically turn on a vehicle’s engine and air conditioning system. As previously mentioned, the assistant can now even automatically schedule these functions based on its user’s behavior and habits.

What the Future holds for IoT?

It is expected that by 2020 there should be even more interconnected devices that will now encompass entire cities. The rapid expansion of the adoption of these smart machines can also be attributed to the pursuit of a common form of interaction between these technologies. Most companies are now releasing their devices with open APIs, which will essentially allow other smaller companies to quickly integrate with them, whether it is using their own products or software.

Several communications technologies have also been standardized for most Internet of Things applications, which makes it easier these devices to communicate with each other. Some examples of short-range wireless communications protocols include Bluetooth mesh networking, light-fidelity networks (Li-Fi), QR Codes. Also includes Near-field communications (NFC), Radio-frequency identification (RFID), WiFi, and Transport Layer Security.

As for medium to long-range wireless communications protocols. Some of the more popular technologies include 4G LTE networks, Low-power wide-area networking (LPWAN). As well as Ethernet, Power-line communications (PLC), and Multimedia over Coax Alliance (McCA). With the widespread use of these different protocols, different machines can more efficiently communicate with each other. In order to share different data and information. The data can then be used by these machines to more efficiently make decisions. As well as to function at their most optimal levels.

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