Introduction to Internet of Things

"The Internet of Things (or IoT for short) refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. The term Internet of Things was proposed by Kevin Ashton in 2009."  Kevin Ashton (born 1968) is a British technology pioneer. He cofounded the Auto-ID Centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which created a global standard system for RFID and other sensors. He is known for inventing the term "The Internet of Things" to describe a system where the Internet is connected to the physical world via ubiquitous sensors.

Prospects of IoT as stated by leading Tech Players

"It will be bigger than anything that's ever been done in high tech. It will change the way people live, work and play" - John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems Inc.

"Up until 2012, the undisputed hottest topic in IT for several years in a row had been cloud computing. Then, big data stepped in and arguably stole the crown last year. For 2013, there's likely to be a new top dog: The Internet of Things." -  Jason Hiner of the 'TechRepublic'

What's in it for future engineers?

Cisco has estimated that 20 million devices will be connected to the Internet by next year, and 50 billion by 2020. IoT is expected to be a $14 trillion industry by 2020.

One of the biggest challenges for the expansion of IoT is of human resource. More and more companies will require skilled engineers who are trained in the field of IoT. This makes it a great opportunity for engineers who have knowledge of this domain.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a popular buzzword right now, but unlike many fads which have come and gone, the Internet of Things describes an important trend which is having lasting effects on society at large. The term itself, “Internet of Things”, is used to mean a variety of ideas, depending on the motivation and background of the speaker. This course will start by providing a definition of the term. We will talk about how various trends have enabled the Internet of Things, and how it changes the way design is performed. We will also discuss some of the ramifications that IoT is having on society today.

Data Flow Diagram for IoT applications:

Bolt Data Flow

Data Flow Explained:

Remote Monitoring and Control: Consists mainly of two components as explained below

1.      Remote application: It is a user-oriented application with a GUI (Graphical user interface), that allows users to control or monitor IoT-enabled devices remotely over a network or internet. For example: Mobile apps, web apps.
2.      Remote Access Devices: These include the PC / Laptops / Tablets or Mobile Phones that can run the Remote applications in a browser or as an standalone application

Network components:

It includes all networking components, like routers, switches, hubs, etc. which help in transporting information to and from the User Interface Application to the IoT-enabled devices. For GSM based things these can also be cell phone towers etc.


The Cloud Platform:


The cloud platform is a combination of servers designed to act as the gateway interface between the user and the IoT enabled devices. The cloud platform collects all the data sent from the IoT devices and continuously monitors the health of the devices. The user sends all the control commands to the cloud which in turn sends the commands to the IoT devices. Hence the Cloud platform plays a major role in the IoT data flow.

The "Thing":

It is the IoT-enabled device which the end user can control or monitor or a device which can simply share its information with other machines (M2M). More on this will be explained in the next lesson.