Note: This post is a part of our series InfoBeans Innovation Day 2019. You can learn about how it all started in our first post here.
While our first technology conference- InfoBeans Innovation Day 2019 turned out to be amazing for all the attendees, we’d like you to be a part of it too. In case you missed the session, we’ve got you covered.
The Internet of Things has extended itself to be a part of many items that we use in our day-to-day lives, says Anshul Saraf, leading our third presentation of the day. Further explaining the impact of IoT in our lives, he shared the concept with an example of a smart bottle.
Consider two bottles- a regular bottle and a smart bottle. When you drink water through a regular bottle, it just acts as a passive medium to help you stay hydrated. While on the other hand, when you use a smart bottle for the same purpose, it sends you alerts on regular intervals to remind you for drinking water. Isn’t that amazing? It does this by using IoT technology and therefore, acts as an active medium for keeping your body hydrated. With our busy schedules and hectic work style, such devices can make a significant change.
How IoT is Changing the World?
Any item that we use in our regular routine can be integrated with IoT to be transformed and used as a smart device. In fact, the impact of IoT is being realized by applying it to different aspects of our lives. And therefore, many new applications are coming into the picture to showcase the impact of IoT on the world around us.
- Smart Homes- Smart homes are considered as one of the most popular applications of IoT. But what exactly is it? Well, a smart home is a residential house that makes use of IoT (devices connect via the internet). It allows you to monitor and control devices and appliances in your home such as air conditioner, television, temperature controller, refrigerator, etc. from remote locations.Consider an example where you’re in the parking lot of your building and you wish to switch on the AC of your living room. Well, a smart home will allow you to do so just through the click of a button. By the time you’ll enter your home, the temperature of your living room would have reached the desired level. Smart, isn’t it?
- Smart Cars- Ever felt too tired to drive? With IoT, that’s not a problem anymore. Smart cars automate your driving experience by allowing you to experience features like self open-lock doors, music streaming according to your choice and driving automatically and helping you reach your destination through the shortest route. They also ensure the safety of the passengers by calculating the chances of potential mishaps by communicating with other nearby cars.
- Smart Farming- While smart homes and smart cars can be a choice for the luxury class, IoT offers solutions for the economic class as well. Smart farming is an innovative solution for farmers as it allows them to use technology for improved business. IoT allows farmers to monitor crops and ensure their good health. Apart from this, they can also monitor the soil moisture and if the land is too dry, sprinklers can automatically turn themselves on. Another great example is cattle monitoring. With IoT, farmers can perform a regular check on the health of their cattle from remote locations. Smart devices also help them to call for a vet immediately in case of an emergency.
Anatomy of an IoT solution
On hearing the term ‘IoT device, we often tend to miss the fact that it is not a single component. Rather an IoT solution is a combination of multiple elements such as sensors, actuators, etc. Taking the presentation ahead, Anshul Saraf shared the elements of an IoT solution which enable it to perform specific tasks according to the given commands.
- Sensors: A sensor is a basic device which can analyze the change in regular physical activities and convert them into electric data signals. It is used to detect signals in the form of light, smoke, movement, temperature, etc.
- Actuators: Opposed to a sensor, an actuator is used to convert electric data signals into useful energy
- Control center: A control center acts as the brain of IoT solutions and it consists of microcontrollers, I/O ports, and network connectivity. A microcontroller consists of the set of instructions that allows the device to act according to given commands. The I/O ports are used for transferring of signals while the network connectivity component allows the IoT solution to communicate with other nearby devices.
The network structure of the IoT solution depends on its usage. For example, if you’re uploading data on remote location, cellular data is a good option or if you’re in need of a medium range connection, a Bluetooth or wifi is the right choice. In case of a closed network, NFC can be opted.
How IoT works?
The InfoBeans team further explained the working of an IoT solution through a remote control demo application which could operate with multiple devices. While we have a remote controller assigned for each device such as a TV and an AC, this IoT based remote controller can take commands for both the devices (and even more) and act accordingly. But how does that happen? Let’s go through the step-by-step process:
- The following components are used in our IoT solution:
- Arduino board
- Bluetooth module to ensure connectivity (CI-CC)
- TSOP center and infrared emitter (data IO)
- Microcontroller Programming using C and C++ (Arduino IDE is used to do that)
- The control interface is created by doing application programming by coding in:
- Swift and (iOS)
- Java and Android Studio (Android App)
- Infrared command codes are extracted from individual remote devices/appliances (TV and AC remotes) by a one-time initialization activity. These remotes are pointed to the TSOP center which is connected to the Arduino board that acts as a control center.
- The control sends these infrared data to the IoT solution system which again sends it to the firebase data storage. The control interface coordinates with firebase storage and syncs it.
- When the interface is launched, it syncs all the data of firebase and when any button is pressed, it sends the specific command of the button via Bluetooth through the control center.
- The control center sends a series of light pulses which corresponds to the received command. Everything is stored on firebase and not on the control center. Therefore, the solution can be extended for anything that is operated on Infrared.
- While the individual remotes for TV and AC allow to only turn off the appliance that they are connected to, our demo IoT solution enables the appliance to be disconnected from its main power supply as well.
- In order to do that, the actuator needs to be placed in between the appliance and the main connection. After this, the control interface sends a command to the control center. The control center analyses the command and instructs the actuator to either connect or disconnect the main supply.
While this demo application defined the working of an IoT solution comprehensively, we’d like to share another simpler example. Consider a scenario where you’re going to a networking event. Often in such events, people exchange their personal contact information through their visiting cards.
However, collecting paper-based cards doesn’t seem very feasible as the chances of losing them are higher. Moreover, when you get back to your working space after the event, you’ll need this data to be put in spreadsheets for convenient usage. That’s again a cumbersome process. The solution? IoT enabled Smart ID.
Our IoT team created an IoT solution for creating smart IDs by using near field comm technology that ensures the safety and security of one’s identity. This IoT solution can be used to share personal details by using the Smart ID.
Where is IoT Heading?
IoT is making a significant change in many business domains. Let’s go through some of them.
Retail- With the introduction of Smart LED screens, retailers are removing the practice of using manual price tags. The IoT enabled system determines the current price of any product in real-time on the screen. It also compares the product pricing with other options in the markets sold by other retailers via the feature of online price search. With this, the system can automatically modify the product pricing according to different seasons. For example- Sweaters could be automatically set on higher prices in the winter season.
Wearables and Healthcare- IoT is making a major impact in healthcare and wearable industry. For example- If someone falls sick and is in a critical condition, their wearables can automatically detect the change in their physical state and call for an ambulance or medical assistance. It can also send the vital data of the patient to the medical team in order to allow them for taking quick actions. This pro-active approach can help physicians to plan better treatment options.
While our IoT team had a lot more to share on their booth, the team concluded the presentation session by sharing that IoT is a new-age revolution similar to the internet. As IoT is backed up with the power of cloud computing and data analytics, it’s definitely going to make a huge impact on our day-to-day lives.