Introduction to IoT & Getting Started

Introduction to IoT & Getting Started

That was the title of the workshop I conducted. This talked about the current state of affairs in the IoT domain and what we could do to get started! We have all heard the hype of the explosive growth of IoT including the recent Mckinsey statement that all the predictions are likely to be off the mark. They say the numbers of connected devices and the revenue/spending will exceed the estimates! Mckinsey also goes on to say unless you invest in this market in the next ten years, you are going to lose the opportunity altogether.

Given all that, the immediate concern would be to understand the market as it exists today and how to enter it. The workshop presented a view of the state of the art and how to get started, if you need to.

A very top level abstraction of the domain is as follows. At the bottom most layer we have sensor and actuators working through processors many a times.


Sensors help monitor parameters in the vicinity. The data thus collected goes through low power and lossy radio networks to reach the Internet and communicate with the cloud. Once the data is in the cloud, you could do any kind of analysis and slicing & dicing of the collected data. This analysis would let you decide what actions you need on the connected things. the actuators can be used to actuate devices through local logic or through decisions arising from analysis in the cloud. Several kinds of these hardware nodes or WSNs (wireless sensor node) are available already.

Three kinds of constrained devices have been defined in this WSN space. The overheads for regular TCP/IP communications would impose quite a bit of overheads. Besides limited processing power, these nodes (or motes, as they are often known) need to conserve power. The communication protocols at this level need to take care of the peculiarities of these devices. Several are in the works and one promising one is the 6LowPAN. Class 0 and class 1 things/objects/motes also need to communicate through gateways and protocols are in development. This area is certainly evolving. When undertaking product development, you need to be certain which protocols are likely to survive the test of time. You communication software will depend on it and  supporting a protocol that falls into disfavor will cut your product’s life.

The detailed presentation takes you through other important areas that are already in place for you to get started. Operating systems and other tools available have been discussed.

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