28 Apr

Internet of Things (IOT): A Vision, Future Directions and Challenges



The Internet of Things represents a vision in which the Internet extends into the real world embracing every­day objects. Physical items are no longer disconnected from the virtual world, but can be controlled remotely and can act as physical access points to Internet services. An Internet of Things makes computing truly ubiquitous a concept initially put forward by Mark Weiser in the early 1990s. This development is opening up huge opportunities for both the economy and individuals. However, it also involves risks and undoub­tedly represents an immense tech­nical and social challenge.

The Internet of Things vision is grounded in the belief that the steady advances in microelectronics, com­munications and information tech­nology we have witnessed in recent years will continue into the fore­seeable future. In fact, due to their diminishing size, constantly falling price and declining energy consump­tion – processors, communications modules and other electronic com­ponents are being increasingly inte­grated into everyday objects today. ‘Smart’ objects play a key role in the Internet of Things vision, since embedded communication and infor­mation technology would have the potential to revolutionize the utility of these objects. Using sensors, they are able to perceive their context, and via built-in networking capabilities they would be able to communicate with each other, access Internet services and interact with people. ‘Digitally upgrading’ conventional object in this way enhances their physical function by adding the capabilities of digital objects, thus generating substantial added value. Forerunners of this development are already apparent today—more and more devices such as sewing machi­nes, exercise bikes, electric toothbru­shes, washing machines, electricity meters and photocopiers a re’being
‘computerized’ and equipped with network interfaces.

In other application domains, Internet connectivity of everyday objects can be used to remotely deter­mine their state so that information systems can collect up-to-date infor­mation on physical objects and processes. This enables many aspects

of the real world to be ‘observed’ at a previously unattained level of detail and at negligible cost. This would not only allow for a better understanding of the underlying processes, but also far more efficient control and mana­gement . The ability to react to events in the physical world in an automatic, rapid and informed manner not only

Manufacturing Quick response to fluctuations in demand; maximized operational efficiency, safety and reliability, using smart sensors and digital control systems. Enhanced agility and flexibility, reduced energy consumption and carbon footprint.
Retail Stock-out prevention through connected and intelligent supply chains. Ability to predict consumer behaviour and trends, using data from video surveillance cameras, social media, internet and mobile device usage.
Supply Chain Real-time tracking of parts and raw materials, which Reduced working capital requirements, improved efficie-
helps organisations preempt problems, address demand fluctuations and efficiently manage all stages of manu­facturing. ncies and avoidance of dis­ruptions in manufacturing.
Infrastructure Smart lighting, water, power, fire, cooling, alarms and structural health systems. Environmental benefits and significant cost savings with better utilization of resources and preventive maintenance of critical systems.
Oil and Gas Smart components. Reduced operating casts and fuel consumption.
Insurance Innovative services such as pay-as-you-go insurance. Significant cost savings for both insurers and consumers.
Utilities Smart grids and meters. More responsive and reliable services; significant cost savings for both utilities and consumers resulting from demand-based and dynamic pricing features.
Source : Ericsson, M2M Magazine 2013, Zebra Consulting/Forester Research, IBM, McKinsey & Co. Data informed, ZDNet.

opens up new opportunities for deal­ing with complex or critical situa­tions, but also enables a wide variety of business processes to be optimized. The real-time interpretation of data from the physical world will most likely lead to the introduction of various novel business services and may deliver substantial economic and social benefits. The use of the word ‘Internet’ in the catchy term ‘Internet of Things’ which stands for the vision outlined above can be seen as either simply a metaphor—in the same way that people use the Web today, things will soon also communicate with each other, use services, provide data and thus generate added value—or it can be interpreted in a stricter tech­nical sense, postulating that an IP protocol stack will be used by smart things (or at least by the ‘proxies’, their representatives on the network).

Getting IoT Ready

Preparing the lowest layers of technology for the horizontal nature of the IoT requires manufacturers to deliver on the most fundamental challenges, including:

  • Connectivity : There will not be one connectivity standard that ‘wins’ over the others. There will be a wide variety of wired and wireless standards as well as proprietary implementations used to connect the things in the IoT. The challenge is getting the connectivity standards to talk to one another with one common worldwide data currency.
  • Power Management : More

things within the IoT will be battery powered or use energy harvesting to be more portable and self-sustaining. Line- powered equipment will need to be more energy efficient. The challenge is making it easy to add power management to these devices and equipment. Wireless charging will incorporate con­nectivity with charge manage­ment.

  • Security : With the amount of data being sent within the IoT, security is a must. Built-in hard­ware security and use of existing connectivity security protocols is essential to secure the IoT. Another challenge is simply educating consumers to use the security that is integrated into their devices.
  • Complexity : Manufacturers are looking to add connectivity to devices and equipment that has never been connected before to become part of the IoT. Ease of design and development is essential to get more things con­nected especially when typical RF programming is complex. Additionally, the average con­sumer needs to be able to set up and use their devices without a technical background.
  • Rapid Evolution : The IoT is constantly changing and evolv­ing. More devices are being added every day and the indus­try is still in its nascent stage. The challenge facing the industry is the unknown devices, unknown applications, unknown use cases. Given this, there needs to be flexibility in all facets of deve­lopment. Processors and micro­controllers that range from 16- 1500 MEIz to address the full spectrum of applications from a microcontroller (MCU) in a small, energy-harvested wireless sensor node to high-performance, multi-core processors for IoT infrastructure. A wide variety of wired and wireless connectivity technologies are needed to meet the various needs of the market. Last, a wide selection of sensors, mixed-signal and power-mana­gement technologies are required to provide the user interface to the IoT and energy-friendly designs

Compelling Benefits of IoT

IoT offers compelling business

benefits and value that organizations

cannot afford to ignore including cost

savings, improved revenues and

opportunities to innovate.

  • Cost Savings : Costs can be reduced through improved asset utilization, process efficiencies and productivity. Customers and organizations can benefit from improved asset utilization (g smart meters that eliminate manual meter readings) and service improvements (e.g., remote monitoring of patients in clinical settings). General Electric has estimated that if intelligent machines and analytics caused even a tiny reduction in fuel, capital expenditures and ineffi­ciencies, it would result in billions of dollars in cost savings.
  • Improved Asset Utilization

With improved tracking of asse: (machinery, equipment, took etc.) using sensors and connect vity, businesses can benefit fror real-time insights and visibility into their assets and suppL chains. For instance, they coul: more easily locate assets and rur preventive maintenance on crit- cal pieces of infrastructure an; machinery to improve through put and utilization.

  • Efficient Processes : Organiza­tions can use real-time opera­tional insights to make smarter business decisions and reduct operating costs. They can use real-time data from sensors an: actuators to monitor and improve process efficiency, reduce energ. costs and minimize human inter­vention.
  • Improved Productivity : Pro­ductivity is a critical parameter that affects the profitability or any organization. IoT improver organizational productivity h offering employees just-in-tirr training, reducing the mismatc: of required available skill: and improving labour efficiency

Future of IoT

The acceleration of IoT from loft concept to reality is predicated or the projected exponential growth c: smart devices and the confluence or low-cost infrastructure, connectivity and data. Declining device costs widespread and pervasive connecti­vity, and an ever-increasing focus or operational efficiency and producti­vity is leading to wide deployment or IoT splutions. In a 2012 survey b Zebra Consulting and Forester, only 15% of organizations had an IoT solution in place, but more than hah (53%) had plans to implement one ir. the next two years, and an additional 14% planned to implement in the next two to five years. Roughly 21’c of respondents from the transporta­tion and logistics sector indicated tha: an IoT solution was already in place.

  • Billions of Smart Devices are Becoming Connected : The num­ber of connected smart devices is exploding, with 50 billion devi­ces possible by 2020. Similarly machine-to-machine (M2M connections which are a key pan of the fabric of IoT are also or

PD/April/2016/98         “Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy.”