You’re already hearing and reading a lot about it but go to more. We refer to the Internet of Things; a reality with many promises ahead is made possible by technologies that have been developed in recent years.
Starting the IoT – Internet of Things – we are surrounded by small networks and new technologies that have a single purpose: to connect the maximum of objects around us, between them and us.
Objects connected and Smart Cities, the most “visible”
The first steps in the Internet of Things leaves two main fields of action. In both the ultimate goal it is transparent to the user that their environment is connected and simultaneously useful and usable.
The closest example IoT is in the home where household appliances, services or small gadgets like light bulbs are already connected to the Internet. The other major scope of IoT is advanced cities or Smart Cities.
In them, the Internet of Things is used to measure certain external parameters (temperature, energy, activity, light, humidity, bugs, etc.), automatically and without human interaction and that data traveling to a processing center for appropriate real – time decisions. For example, there are many cities that are deploying sensor networks in many points as alarms, lights, sewers, vehicles, lighting … and there are interesting improvements is expected to achieve, as the quantification of pedestrians passing through a given crossing to automatically optimize traffic in that area.
But what are the key technologies of the Internet of things are? IoT has a sequence of layers, each responsible for a task and has been designed with care to fulfill its function. From data extraction, shipping and receiving and further processing to yield results. Let us begin.
The new batch of processors
One of the requirements of the Internet of things is that devices – then see your mission – should be small, and we knew that the processors had to change about what we knew before. We are not worth processors, say, ‘classic’ computer has to be something much smaller and more efficient. No matter whether simple or underpowered, what prevails above all are those two points.
Smartphones processors and their evolution in recent years, with the SoC format already established, they have helped a lot. ARM solutions meet expectations: they are small and, although underpowered compared to other chips on the market, covering the stated requirements.
ARM market has a huge catalog of SoCs, in which the best known product is its smartphone SoC. But the Cortex-A are not alone and with them the Cortex-R and Cortex-M are ideal for IoT devices. In both cases we speak of RISC processors of 32 bits in which, as always, ARM’s designs but does not manufacture; they are other third – party companies that are responsible for this phase.
While Cortex-R are integrated into devices like hard disks or in industries such as automotive, Cortex-M they are better known because of its usefulness in closer to end user devices. For example thermostats, speakers, ovens or personal quantifiers take advantage of current models. ARM has an ace up its sleeve: provide multiple product ranges to adapt to different market requirements:
We cannot forget that ARM has gone shopping recently put the spotlight put on the IoT, so we soon teach new related to this market.
As you can see, Intel projects are as varied and range from covering the market Smart cities to the most personal and commercial IoT, focused on all types of users. Yes, its products are still under development prototypes that need time to continue to grow, so we’ll have to track them closely to see how they evolve.
Besides these two industry giants in the most recent times we are seeing how other manufacturers such as MediaTek (remember the shoes with GPS?), Samsung and Qualcomm are making their first steps to get your piece of cake in the market. Yes, they have just begun and still will take a few months or years in their products.
Arduino, one of the pillars of the current IoT (and a genius for makers)
Along with the more traditional manufacturers have also experienced the birth and subsequent rise of an element of technology that is now essential for many, and is closely linked with the Internet of Things: Arduino, adored by the community and based mainly on processors RISC Atmel, allows almost anyone with a basic knowledge of electronics and programming to design and implement their ideas.
In this regard thanks to Arduino are being created multiple initiatives to meet the needs of the IoT, such as sensors for home, circuits with control and management of video surveillance cameras or even type thermostats Nest. And the future may be even more relevant in the DIY market Internet of Things by their approach to Windows 10.
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The sensors, as indispensable as invisible
The processor and platform are responsible for ‘managing’ the information, but it must come from other devices: sensors. It is the hardware element that interacts between our technology and the environment, capturing the data we want.
Old electronics was limited to an almost purely professional level, but the arrival of Arduino has allowed anyone to make their first steps. It has largely helped the low cost of the components and the huge catalog of accessories we have available.
Looking only category of sensors official store we will find a lot of elements, including from simple buttons, ultrasonic sensors, light or away. If we open the range to other stores we will find touch sensors, accelerometers, tilt, potentiometers, temperature and humidity, altitude, pressure … just about anything you can imagine measure ‘something’ is in Arduino.
If we leave the world Arduino, it is usual that many of the companies behind the IoT have the ability to design and manufacture its own sensors, so that their possibilities are limitless. As they go exploring new needs in the market will conveniently creating sensors to meet them.
Low power communication
We already have data stored on a small computer, but this is not powerful enough to process them quickly. What to do? Move that information to another computer via a communication channel.
And here it is twofold. Many of the traditional communication protocols still in force in IoT and future improvements will be key. We talk for example LAN connection via Ethernet or wireless transmission through mobile connectivity, depending on the requirements at each location.
For example, these two options are those provided by Vodafone and IBM in their connected cities, where connection speeds that will allow the next protocols, such as 5G will be the basis of long – range connectivity IoT.
But there are also new protocols that have been designed thinking of the IoT and communication of objects between them and a short distance. An example is NFC or even Bluetooth 4.0, which has the name of LE ‘Low Energy’ precisely because it is intended to be implemented in systems with small batteries such as quantification bracelets.
The energy aspect has been for many years a battle element in communications precisely by high consumption of these components, and designers and manufacturers currently have it in the spotlight to continue its improvement. That will be careful about eating associated with communication standards that will be coming to us in the future as Lifi, data transmission through the light.