An IoT Odyssey is a journey of learning and sharing, of tools and technology, and how they can be used to connect the real world to the digital world.

What is The Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a big topic and so it may mean different things to different people. IoT could mean:

  • Sensors and actuators to interact with the environment
  • Asset management and tracking, such as vehicle fleet and manufacturing supply chain
  • Automation (home and industrial)
  • Health wearables devices
  • Machine to machine (M2M) data processing

But fundamentally, IoT is just that, things connected to the Internet.

The Internet of Things

The previous decades have shown how the Internet have changed our world and our lives.

  • In the 90s, we had the Internet Evolution where we began connecting desktops and laptops to the Internet.
  • In the late 2000s, we had the Mobile Evolution where we ourselves became connected to the Internet through the rise of social media.
  • Today, we are entering the IoT Evolution where everything around us begins to be connected to the internet.

Why is The Internet of Things important?

Ok so we can connect all these things to the internet. What value does that bring us? That depends on what our goals are.

Common IoT domains:

  • Remote monitoring and control in residential and office environment (e.g. energy consumption).
  • Remote monitoring and control in industrial environment (e.g. oil and gas drilling, methane detection and management in mining).
  • Preventive maintenance (e.g. identifying and replacing a worn out component allowing smooth operation in a manufacturing environment).
  • Personnel safety (e.g. remote/lone workers).
  • Real-time quality assessment (e.g. planes, trains and automobile breakdown).
  • Inventory control (e.g. manufacturing supply chain).
  • Automation (e.g. smart home, smart city).

Keep in mind that when we talk about things, we also mean people and software systems.

How does The Internet of Things works?

To get a better understanding of how IoT works, we can take a look at a simplified architectural model called The Core IoT Functional Stack.

The Core IoT Functional Stack

This stack consists of 3 layers:

  • The Application Layer
  • The Network Layer
  • The Device Layer

The Application Layer contains the consumers and controllers in our IoT network such as users, notification services and data analysis services.

The Network Layer contains the cloud infrastructures in our IoT network which provides the communication interface between the Application Layer and the Device Layer .

The Device Layer contains the physical things in our IoT network such as edge devices and remote devices.

Edge devices could either be:

  • IoT Gateways which manage communication between our remote devices and cloud infrastructures
  • IoT Devices that can communicate with the cloud infrastructures but also interact with the real world directly

Remote devices are generally constraint devices that are battery operated (sensors and actuators). These devices normally communicates with the cloud infrastructures via a gateway.