THINGS being referred here are sensors that collect data from a specific place. Typical simple examples of these are temperature sensors, humidity sensors, gas sensors etc. Sensors by default are assumed to be read-only.
Actuators, another type of THINGS (hardware devices) are used to control specific device functionalities. Ex – turn on a water pumping device, turn on the gas heater, set the AC temperature to 23 degrees etc. The signals for these actuators can come from an humans via an application hosted locally in the premises. The signals can also come from an web application hosted on the internet.
The automation of these actuators and sensors can so be automated that based on a sensor reading, an actuator can be activated. For example, if the humidity of the room crosses 50, then turn on the water sprayer. This can be used in a garden nursery to facilitate growth of saplings.
The THINGS thus pumping data from multiple locations to centrally located servers are termed as Internet Of Things.
The following example illustrates the use of IoT –
Lets consider a geo-location of 100 residential villas. Out of these 100, there are 40 villas which have been secured by home monitoring (HM) systems. Each of these 40 home monitoring systems which donot talk (connect) to each other have various types of sensors and alarms. Lets say there are –
- 3 smoke alarms in kitchen, kids room and backyard
- 2 fire alarms
- 10 window alarms
- 2 door alarms
All these 40 HM systems are pumping the sensors data to a centrally located server. On a very unfortunate day, the local fire service office receives an emergency call about a ravaging fire across multiple houses in these villa locality.
The fire service officials arrive and douse the fire. However the toughest thing now is to find the cause of fire!
The next best thing is now to ask the HM service provider for reports such as –
- How many fire alarms reported fire on the specific day from the locality in question
- Which house was the first to report fire alarm? (from which house did the fire start)
- Which sensor in this specific house reported the fire? (from which room did the fire start)
- Was there a smoke alarm that went off in this house before the fire sensor?
- Was the house surveillance completely activated? (this means occupants of the house were not present in the house when fire started)
Since the THINGS (read sensors) were all connected to a HM service provider, in a matter of minutes the source of fire was detected!
Wasn’t this a amazing way of knowing insights?
More on IoT, soon.