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Internet of Things (IoT)

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(Angel Island State Park, San Francisco/Bay Area, U.S.A. - Jeffrey M. Wang)


The Internet of Things (IoT) - the vast electronic web of connected devices which rapidly collects, aggregates and processes information across superfast networks. The transformative potential of IoT technology is no secret. It represents a fundamental shift in the very nature of the smart “things” we depend on for many aspects in our lives. These tens of billions of “smart” collection devices range from light bulbs, to door locks, to power meters and beyond. 

The influence of the IoT reaches across an entire ecosystem of things from consumer products to advanced manufacturing automation solutions. From industry to industry, IoT solutions impact the way companies design, manufacture, operate, and service products, as well as, redefine and optimize existing business processes across the value chain.


The IoT - The Machine-to-Machine Revolution


The explosive growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving demand for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices in areas such as asset-tracking systems, smart grids and building automation. MEMS are tiny machines that can do such things as measure movement or pressure. MEMS devices include accelerometers, pressure sensors, timing components and microphones.

The Internet of Things is sometimes called the machine-to-machine revolution, and one important class of machines - MEMS - will play an essential role in expansion of the boom of the industrial IoT segment in the coming years. MEMS sensors allow equipment to gather and digitize real-world data that then can be shared on the Internet. 


MEMS Sensors Are Enabling Smart Devices and IoT Applications


With cost-effective miniaturization becoming a reality, a variety of sensors have been developed based on MEMS technology. These include pressure and vibration sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes, and radiation and temperature sensors.  

Sensors are being integrated into diverse applications, including industrial vibration monitoring devices, virtual reality gaming devices, airbag deployment, vehicle stability enhancement systems, and personal, vehicle, and aircraft navigation systems. Accelerometers based on MEMS technology are highly sensitive and have fail-safe performance in extremely critical applications such as airbag activation and vehicle stability within the automotive end user, the research firm reports.

There are 15 sensors based on MEMS that are used in diverse applications within various vertical end-user markets. They include both standalone and single-parameter monitoring to combined sensors monitoring more than one parameter. Accelerometers and pressure sensors are the largest revenue generators for the MEMS sensors market.

The IoT represents a major new growth opportunity for the MEMS market. Building automation will generate the largest volumes for MEMS and other types of sensors in the industrial IoT market. Asset tracking is the second-largest opportunity for MEMS sensors. Other major segments of the industrial IoT market include the smart grid, smart cities, smart factories, seismic monitoring, and drones and robotics.


Pervasive and Ubiquitous Network


[Cisco]: The Internet of Things (IoT) can be defined as "a pervasive and ubiquitous network which enables monitoring and control of the physical environment by collecting, processing, and analyzing the data generated by sensors or smart objects."

In reality, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) can be viewed as a subset of the IoT. The IoT includes Machine-to-Human communication (M2H), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Location-Based Services (LBS), Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) sensors, Augmented Reality (AR), robotics and vehicle telematics. Many of these technologies are the result of developments in military and industrial supply chain applications; their common feature is to combine embedded sensory objects with communication intelligence, running data over a mix of wired and wireless networks. 

Embedded and Distributed Intelligence Capability


The capability of embedded and distributed intelligence in the network is a core architectural component of the IoT for three main reasons:

  • Data Collection: Centralized data collection and smart object management do not provide the scalability required by the Internet. For example, managing several million sensors and actuators in a Smart Grid network cannot efficiently be done using a centralized approach.
  • Network Resource Preservation: Because network bandwidth may be scarce and collecting environmental data from a central point in the network unavoidably leads to using a large amount of the network capacity.
  • Closed Loop Functioning: For some use cases, the IoT requires reduced reaction times. For instance, sending an alarm via multiple hops from a sensor to a centralized system (which runs analytics) before sending an order to an actuator would entail unacceptable delays.

This distributed intelligence capability is known as Fog Computing, an architecture specifically designed to process data and events from IoT devices closer to the source as opposed to a central data center (also known as "Cloud"). In summary, Fog Computing is an expansion of the cloud paradigm. It is similar to cloud computing but closer to the ground. The Fog Computing architecture extends the cloud out into the physical world of things.


Pervasive Computing


Pervasive computing (also called ubiquitous computing) (means "existing anytime and everywhere") is the growing trend towards embedding microprocessors in everyday objects so they can communicate information. Pervasive computing devices are completely connected and constantly available. Pervasive computing relies on the convergence of Internet, advanced middleware, operating system, mobile code, sensors, microprocessors, new I/O and user interfaces, networks, mobile protocols, location and positioning and new materials.



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