How IoT Works

by | Feb 14, 2019 | IoT Technology

An Internet of Technology ecosystem consists of web-enabled smart devices using embedded processors, sensors, and hardware to collect, send, and act on data acquired from their environments.

All IoT devices share their data by connecting to an IoT gateway or various other edge devices where data is analyzed locally or sent to the cloud for further analysis.

Sometimes, these devices also communicate with other devices and act on the information they gather from one another. These devices do most of the job without human intervention even though people can interact with them to set them up or access data.

The networking, communication, and connectivity protocols used with these devices largely depend on the specific IoT applications deployed.

Detailed Explanation

A complete IOT system integrates 4 distinct components namely:

  • Sensors or devices,
  • Connectivity,
  • Data processing, and
  • UI.

Now, let’s see how each and every component works in an IoT ecosystem:

  1. Sensors or Devices

First sensors are used to collect data from the environment. This can be as simple as a temperature reading or an entire video feed.

  1. Connectivity

The data is then sent to the cloud through a variety of methods including the likes of satellite, cellular, Bluetooth, WiFi, LPWAN (low-power wide-area networks), or a direct connection to the internet (say, an ethernet cable).

  1. Processing of data

Once data is sent to the cloud, the software performs some kind of processing.

This can range from something very simple like a temperature reading or something very complex like using the vision of a computer to identify objects.

But what happens if the temperature is too high? That is precisely where the user steps in.

  1. UI or User Interface

The information is then made to the end-user in some way. This could be through an alert to the user (like text, email, notification, etc.).

To help you comprehend the functioning of IoT, let’s take a quick look at an IoT application used in home automation:

  1. A temperature sensor in a room is integrated with the gateway. The same gateway helps in connecting the temperature sensor network to the internet through the aid of cloud infrastructure.
  2. The cloud or server should have a detailed record of each and every device connected to it.
  3. Connection with the cloud is implemented through the use of web services.
  4. Users like you and I interact with the cloud (and the devices installed in our homes) through an end-user mobile app. The access request is sent to the cloud with device information and authentication. Configuration of authentication is done to ensure cyber security.
  5. The device will identify the device with the help of the cloud device ID and send a request related to the appropriate sensor network using the gateway.
  6. Then, the temperature sensor will read the current temperature in the room and will send the reaction back into the cloud.
  7. The cloud will identify the specific user who requested the data and pushed the requested data to the app. Therefore, the user will get the current information directly on his screen.

Also, remember…

IoT may not always be a one-way street. Depending on the application of this technology, the user may perform an action to affect the system. For example, s/he might remotely adjust the temperature to one of his/her preference via an app on their phone.

And some actions are performed automatically. The system may not always wait for you to adjust the temperature and do it automatically via a predefined set of instructions.

Sudipto Das

Sudipto writes technical contents periodically and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He’s an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He’s got a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation engineering.