Popular Applications for the Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 4, 2018 9:16:00 AM / by Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer posted in Internet of Things Applications, Internet of Things, IoT blogs, IoT applications, IoT, smart homes, Smart City, wearables

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There are currently billions of interconnected devices communicating with each other over the internet. These devices are constantly gathering information about their environments, and analyzing the data to help make informed decisions or to automate actions. The Internet of Things (IoT) is made up of a wide-range of devices that can be used for various applications. The applications listed below are only a few of the many possibilities for these devices.

Smart Home

The concept of the smart home has generated a lot of attention for the IoT. Smart home devices can help automate your life at home to make everyday things more convenient. Smart outlets can automatically turn devices on/off, monitor power consumption, and create schedules for devices. Smart thermostats can adjust the temperature automatically, create schedules for the temperature at day and night, and can adjust the temperature when you are home or away. These are just a couple of the devices being designed to help improve the at-home experience.

 

Smart City

The possibilities for smart cities are endless. The IoT can be used to help manage traffic, monitor water distribution, manage energy usage, or even monitor the environment. The implementation of sensors within cities can help alleviate a lot of major problems that cities are facing, as well as help create more environmentally friendly cities.

 

Wearable Technology

Wearable technologies are able to collect information about the user. These technologies are equipped with sensors and software capable of monitoring your body for fitness or health purposes. Devices such as smart watches or smart glasses are currently very popular IoT wearable devices.

 

Energy Management

The IoT has become increasingly popular as a means for monitoring power grids. Smart grids collect information about electricity suppliers, as well as the behavior of consumers. This information is used to improve the efficiency of power grids and to help reduce energy usage. Additionally, these grids can detect power outages quickly, making it easier to get power back when it goes out.

 

Connected Vehicles

The use of interconnected devices in the automation industry is progressing more slowly in comparison to in the other industries listed above. However, many car manufacturers and other technology companies are working hard to develop smart cars and self-driving vehicles. This industry has a lot of potential for growth and will likely take large steps forward in the coming years.

 

These examples only scratch the surface in terms of the capabilities and other potential applications for the IoT. The ability to accurately monitor environments through these connected devices and networks holds a lot of value for many different types of applications. The amount of connect devices is growing more and more every year, which means there will be more innovative solutions coming in the near future.

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10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Antenna and Cloud

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 26, 2015 2:08:13 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in access point, antenna, antenna design, bill of materials, BOM, ceramic, circuit board, Cloud, cloud applications, coaxial pigtail, companies, connector, data exchange, end-to-end solutions, gateway, General, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT applications, IoT communications, IoT-enabled device, IPEX, mating connector, metal housing, module manufacturers, on-board chip, pin-out, radio frequencies, radios, router, standard protocol, trace, U.FL, whip, White Papers, wire, wireless signal, wireless technologies

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7. Antenna

Most IoT products use wireless technologies to connect with the world. The type and number of wireless technologies used will impact the type and number of antennas needed. For example, 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios all may have different requirements for antenna design.

Module manufacturers often provide multiple options for antennas, such as an on-board chip or ceramic antennas. They may also offer a wire (or “whip”) antenna, a “trace” antenna, or a “pin-out” so the manufacturer can add their own antenna (either internal or external connector elsewhere on the circuit board). In addition manufacturers may offer U.FL (also called IPEX) connectors for external. In this case, the connection from the U.FL connector to the external antenna is accomplished with a short coaxial “pigtail” that has the mating U.FL connector on one end and the mating connector for the antenna on the other end. The costs of the pigtail and antenna are often overlooked but need to be included in a manufacturer’s BOM for their designs.

When selecting between internal and external antennas, designers must consider the material (metal, plastic, etc.) of the housing and the potential placement of the product within a home or business. If a product is placed behind a couch or under a desk, it may have difficulty getting a wireless signal from the nearest gateway, access point, or router. Metal housings almost always require an external antenna design because the metal in the housing greatly reduces the amount of radio frequencies getting in or out of the housing.

8. Cloud

By definition, most IoT applications include some Cloud-based component. Many manufacturers entering the IoT space are new to Cloud development, which makes decision-making for Cloud applications, such as how and when a product will connect to the Cloud, difficult.

“How” an IoT-enabled device communicates with a cloud application refers to what protocol is being used to communicate with the Cloud. Many early IoT implementations followed a proprietary protocol, where the device manufacturer implements its own protocol to communicate with its cloud applications. Recently, more companies have become aware that a standard protocol is needed for IoT communications to be successful and have started providing third party, end-to-end solutions with platforms to develop and host applications.

“When” an IoT device connects to the cloud, refers to the frequency of data exchange with the cloud application. Devices that are always on (connected to a power supply) can easily stay connected to the cloud constantly. This improves the ability to be “near real time” when communicating with the Cloud application. Battery-powered devices often only connect to the internet and send data periodically in order to conserve battery life. In this case there is a delay, as the device has to re-establish its connection to the wireless router and then to the Cloud server. Battery-powered devices should also consider a “heart-beat,” so that the device connects to the Cloud application periodically without an event to trigger it. This allows the application to know the device is still online and has power or battery-life remaining for when an event does occur.

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>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at iot@gridconnect.com.

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