NEWS & MEDIA

A brief definition of the Internet of Things (and what’s wrong with it)

14 May 2018

This article has been written by Conall Laverty – Founder & CEO at Wia.

I like to think of the Internet of Things as a constellation of objects that can be linked, monitored and controlled over the Internet. Each day, 8.6 million new devices are connected. To give some perspective on that figure, 400,000 people are born each day, so that’s just over 20 devices for each person. These range from complex pieces of machinery to simple sensors that tell us what temperature it is.

The Four Core Components

Sensors, connectivity, people and processes

  1. Sensors — These are the things that detect a physical property in the surrounding environment. Just as we can see, hear, smell, touch and feel, devices can too. Examples include temperature, humidity, air pressure, CO2 and cameras.
  2. Connectivity — This gives us the ability transport data points to another location. Examples include Wi-Fi, Cellular, Sigfox, Bluetooth, LoRa and Weightless.
  3. People — You! End users of the solution that drive business and lifestyle decisions.
  4. Processes — These are combined inputs to create new systems such as control, automation and mobile applications.

Conversations in the IoT

In the Internet of Things we see 3 types of conversations:

  1. Things talking to People e.g. sensors sending data to a smart phone
  2. People talking to Things e.g. user turning on a security alarm
  3. Things talking with each other e.g. autonomous processes in critical systems

Industries

Every vertical is trying to embrace the IoT as they can see the economic value of participating in the physical web revolution that is happening around them.  Just to give some examples:

  • Logistics — Asset, vehicle and rail wagon tracking. Recently Sigfox showcased a connected envelope that can be developed on top of their nationwide network for less than a dollar.
  • Agriculture — Animal health and food manufacturing. Making optimisations to production, enabling new opportunities and more innovative products.
  • Infrastructure — Water and electricity monitoring, flood warning systems.

The Problems

To even develop the most simple of prototypes, there are a wide range of challenges. Even just looking at the cloud infrastructure, many systems are poorly designed and implemented, using diverse protocols and technologies that create complex configurations.

For software developers, there are limited best practices available and a lack of universal language for devices and applications.

Businesses and companies that do manage to make it into production, they have to spend a vast amount of time fending off security and DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.

This heavy burden alongside the costs of both capital and time are creating a huge blocker for many new companies entering the IoT industry today.

How Wia Helps

At Wia, we’re building the place where people and things can easily talk to one another in a safe, secure environment. Our open cloud platform enables software developers to create projects ranging from weather stations, security cameras to flood detection systems. Our mission is to enable developers, consumers and organisations to join the Internet of Things movement that is happening today by harnessing the full power and potential of the devices you build and own.