What is IoT

IoT Explained

IoT is an abbreviation for the term Internet of Things. It refers to devices with some sort of network capabilities that are exchanging data across networks. While many people nowadays are familiar with the term, the deployment of IoT-enabled devices became viable only recently after computer chips, and network capacity became significantly improved. Virtually any electronic device can be IoT-enabled. In IoT-enabled networks, the devices are part of an interconnected ecosystem that utilizes IP networks. In contrast to M2M, IoT devices do not transmit data to standalone equipment but to gateways or a cloud. The cloud acts as a middleman that computes, sends, and receives all data.

How do IoT-enabled devices transmit data to the cloud?

IoT-enabled devices are typically sensors with network capabilities. In order for these devices to transmit their gathered data to the cloud or gateway wirelessly, they utilize a connectivity protocol.

There are several different connectivity protocols these devices can use. They may use sim cards and the connectivity protocols every smartphone user is familiar with, such as 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G or 5G, or they may use a connectivity protocol that was designed specifically for IoT use, such as:

  • NB-IoT
  • LTE-M
  • LoRaWAN®

While in some use cases using protocols, such as 3G or 4G may be sufficient, most IoT ecosystems would benefit from investing in services that have dedicated IoT protocols. NB-IoT, LTE-M, and LoRaWAN® are all so-called LPWANs. LPWAN stands for Low-Power, Wide-Area Network, and this term summarizes the requirements for most IoT ecosystems perfectly.

When choosing the right protocol, most IoT-enabled devices will have the following requirements:

  • Long-range: IoT-devices are often remotely located, suspended in air, submerged in the depths of the ocean, or located in deep tunnels. Thus the standard they utilize needs to allow for long-range data transmission
  • Low battery consumption: Since switching out their batteries is a major hassle, if a company has thousands of remotely located IoT-devices, the battery consumption of the chosen standard should be minimal. Ideally, the batteries would be able to run for years.

Which Sensors can be IoT-Enabled?

Literally, every electronic sensor can be IoT-enabled. There are no exceptions to this. The most prominent types of sensors incorporated into IoT environments include:

  • Temperature sensors
  • Proximity sensors
  • Water quality sensors
  • Infrared sensors
  • Pressure sensors
  • Chemical sensors
  • Gas sensors
  • Smoke sensors
  • Level sensors
  • Accelerometers
  • Gyroscopes
  • Optical sensors

Which Industries is IoT set to disrupt?

IoT-enabled devices are becoming increasingly cheaper to deploy and operate. IoT SIM cards can be purchased at bulk prices and are dedicated to connectivity technology specifically for IoT use, such as NB-IoT, LTE-M, and LoRaWAN®.

As a result, the deployment of an IoT network becomes a viable undertaking for companies looking to advance their infrastructure. It is believed that the following industries are set to benefit the most from deploying IoT infrastructures:

  •  Agriculture
  •  Logistics
  •  Retail
  •  Construction
  •  Energy
  •  Industry
  •  Environmental Sustainability
  •  Healthcare
  •  Banking
  •  Manufacturing
  •  Oil and Gas