February 2016 59
THE LATEST IN NETWORKING AND WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES
by way of the cellular network to a
remote server that collects the video
for the camera and forwards it to my
phone. Totally neat.
While the smart home will
probably be the largest sector of
the Io T, there are other application
sectors. A big one is the industrial
Internet of Things, or IIo T. Here is
where factories, plants, oil, and gas
fields can monitor and control things
from afar. Sensors of all sorts are the
main interest where temperature,
flow, mechanical position,
pressure, and other critical physical
characteristics can be observed in real
time. Other things to be controlled
are motors, pumps, relays, solenoids,
robots, programmable logic
controllers (PLCs), and machine tools.
Such monitoring and control has
been going on for years, however,
Another term you will hear
related to the Io T movement is
machine-to-machine (M2M). M2M
has been around for years also, and
has been used for remote monitoring
of vending machines, unmanned
facilities, and truck fleets. It primarily
uses the cellular network rather than
the Internet for communications.
M2M is basically a blurry part of Io T
(in my opinion).
There are all sorts of other
applications emerging such as in
medical and fitness monitoring,
wearables like smartwatches,
agriculture, the smart grid, and smart
cities and drones. It will be interesting
to see what new uses develop.
Io T is happening right now, but
there are a number of critical issues
that developers must consider when
creating an Io T product or system.
Here are just a few examples:
• Privacy and security.
• Interoperability of devices and
• Ease of setup and installation.
• Managing large data collections.
• Multiple standards.
As for security, we all want our
data to be secure. We do not want
our systems hacked to capture and
use whatever data we collect. Nor do
we want some outside entity to take
control of our system. This means
that our devices must use some form
of encryption and authentication.
Luckily, most new Io T chips and
products do have built-in security
To have all devices talk to the
gateway or to one another, they must
all use the same wireless standard and
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Figure 1. A simplified view of how the Internet of Things works. The “thing” connects to a gateway wirelessly. The
gateway has the Internet connection to the cloud. At the other end of the link is a server dedicated to the application.
This, in turn, links via a cellular connection to a tablet or smartphone.