This article describes the basics about Internet of Things and the role of wearables in this field. Wearables are the easiest way of checking things online, cellular phone is helpfull for checking emails, news etc on the go and in home rather than using some other device like Computers etc.
Wearables include watches, glasses etc and are helpfull in keeping a note on your regular checkups. Forexample wearables are able to check your blood pressure if you're a patient, they allow you to check your local transit by using Internet and checking the local transit information, they allow you to get notified when your appliance has done working and so on and so forth.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things is a major topic for news to talk about and many people are trying to leave their current fields and walk to this new field of computing and digital life. Internet of Things is basically about how we can use our devices to interconnect with each other through an already build network, called Internet. Devices, embedded computers and mobile phones etc would be connected and would be able to control the stuff inside their own network.
Internet of Things is defined by Wikipedia as:
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. Typically, IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications.
So according to the above definition, a connection between your devices through internet (using API or other coding techniques) to make an ecosystem for them to work together. Internet of Things is found to help the possiblity of AI (artificial intelligency) among devices grow.
Internet of Things is not only for the mobile phones, TVs and/or cameras. But it covers a vast amount and number of digital devices that are used by us. It includes your cellulars to your farm devices to your devices set to animals to check onto them to your home appliances like TVs to refrigerators to air conditioners as a whole. Using all devices through Internet it creates a system, where you can control all of your devices from one device.
According to Gartner,
There will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020.
Source for above: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2636073
Example of IoT objects
Internet of Things is a very, very, very vast topic and cannot be covered in just a single article. However, some of the examples can be given so that it is easy to understand the basic concept behind this whole phenomena and what is the Internet of Things and why did they call it as Internet of Things. So let's talk about the examples of IoT, they're as follows,
Usage for our body
Internet of Things and the devices can be used for our body, to keep a check on ourself. Let's take an example of a baby's body, to come to know for when he needs to excrete, when he wants to be fed and so on. Internet of Things and the devices that sense these from the body of the baby can transfer the data via Internet to the connected cloud inside the Hospital, so that nurse and other staff can keep a check on the baby. Edison-based Mimo baby monitor is an example for this.
Patients, mostly forget to take their medicines on time. Internet of Things can help them to take their pills. Well of course not by feeding them, but by causing a trigger for alarm. This would help them to take their pills on time.
Fitness applications have been developed and programmed for the users to keep a note on their physical activities. They would help them to understand their body, requirements and the To-Do checklist for their physical fitness.
Using for our Home
Not only do these devices help us to maintain our body, they also help us in maintaining the house and appliances. We can use devices designed to sense the changes inside our house and update us through Internet on our device that we're using, e.g. mobile phone.
Controlling appliances like oven, refrigerators, television etc can be easily controlled through a single device via Internet. You can easily switch off the lights of the room from your cell phone connected to the Internet.
You can also water your plants if you're not in a mood to walk to your garden. A device would become active and would start to water the plants. You can control for how long it waters, and then shut it down so that plants don't get watered too much (just kidding). This all happens over the Internet.
Using for our City
Internet is a vast network, and thus it is present not only in our own house and and room but is present inside city and countries all over the globe. We can control what is going on in our city, well not us but the governmental official authorities can control and check the details for the stability and security of the city and this would help them cut down the human resources.
Special devices can be installed on the roads to keep a note on the streets to make sure that they're always clean. If there is any trouble in the cleanliness, it might tell the central goverment about it.
Pollution can also be notified for, sensors can be installed inside the city or over the city. They would capture the environmental reports and will transfer the data to the central cloud where calculations would be made to determine the current situations.
Not only these...
Not only these can be controlled, but there are many other facilities of Internet of Things in our lives, a store owner can easily setup a system to keep a note on the store efficiently. Wildlife can be easily controlled and kept a note on by adding special tags to them.
These all run on the Internet so this makes it easy to manage and access the data from any source over Internet. Yes, there is a security added to it!
Requirements for IoT
As per definition of the Internet of Things, it is clearly notable that each device must be uniquely identifiable and for that internet uses a protocol called Internet Protocol and uses a unique addressing method to grant an IP Address to each of the device connected on the network. Using which the network can uniquely identify the device connected so that data to/from can be identified. But since there are a large number of devices to connect to the network there needs to be a vast network identifying method. For that, instead of IPv4 (which uses 4 bytes of data) guys in coat made it compulsary to use IPv6 (which used 16 bytes of data) so that extremely large number of address for the devices can be maintained and the devices can be uniquely identified.
There would be a lot of devices running together and sharing their data with each other and Internet consumption might overhead the limit and might increase the energy consumption which would cause a negative effect on Ecosystem too. For that, there are many companies, like FreeWave Technologies to develop a Wifi system that would consume less energy and would use low power radio wireless data radios. Low power radios are most likely to be used as the networks to provide the internet connectivity to the networks.
Why people love IoT
IoT is a great way to control your appliances and applications for daily usage. The most general cause of the IoT to evolve and get attention of people was the simplicity an ease of usage of it. Since it makes the life of customers easy, people loved this feature. Due to a lot of likeliness to it, developers and other companies tried to step into it to make their impact on the service and to be the pioneers for it.
Google has been into mobile devices and softwares since a lot of time when Android first was released. Google developed the Android OS (Originally wasn't developed by Google, but by a company and bunch of people who were financially backed up by Google, but was taken over by Google after its release and great support and love by users) to start a new era of mobility and now they developed Google Glass and Android Wearables to stay in the Internet of Things.
Internet of Things also include automobile, so why Google should stay one step behind? They also created their Android OS to compete with the automobile technology too, for example, Android Auto is a field to work with them.
Pretty informative right?
Microsoft is also into this stuff, and they're working really very hard to create "digital everything". As already mentioned above the IllumiRoom, the Xbox360 games and many more. Microsoft is really into it.
And after their Window Phone's Cortana, it is hard to believe that Microsoft is one step behind other companies in this race.
Other companies, like Samsung have created refrigerator that tweets and tells you about the very basic information like time and a few details from internet.
Automobiles have been created that work on their own, park on their own and so many more functions.
These are the very main points that explain why people are loving IoT. It is not just that it is a new concept, but it is that it is a very helpfull concept and idea and technology to help people. According to surveys, people believe that by 2020, IoT would be available and everyone would love it.
What runs IoT
IoT is a platform as a whole where devices connect, share, and maintain data to create their own network to simultaneously update the owner from his devices. The backbone of this network is our very beloved network, the Internet. A cloud (not the natural one) is used to create a hub for all the applications to connect to and share the data. Not only embedded computer devices, but refrigerators, TVs, automobiles etc infact everything that has a digital anything can be a component of the network.
Everything with a digital side is a component of IoT connected to the common cloud through Internet. A common skeleton of the IoT includes a common cloud, user application, some sensors to sense the changes in the environment and a database in the cloud to store them. Once updated, the changes are sent to the application from the cloud using the Internet. A diagram can be drawn like this,
Since this is a seperate framework, there had to be a seperate Operating System for it too. Their complexity had to be made simple but to do that, there had to be another OS that would be a perfect fit for the developers and the consumers and companies.
Chip design company ARM has also stepped into this field and has developed a new OS for the Internet of Things platform. Along-with OS ARM also thinks to sell a few back-end softwares for the network developers of the Internet of Things. ARM thinks there needs to be a better OS which is friendly for both, developers and consumers. 2015 will be the year when ARM would release the Mbed OS and it is also said that it will be free of cost for the ARM processors. It is a big step for ARM, which has never tried to build something this much bigger.
MBed is an event-driven OS, developers and programmers know what an event-driven- thing is. It updates the connected devices as soon as a change occurs in any one device. And also the +1 point for their OS is that it takes only a less amount of memory, as less as 256KB. So it can be installed on small devices like sensors too. It will be Open Source.
Basic components and studies of the researches of the OS that would be built for Internet of Things and the IoT itself share the following information,
Although artificial intelligence is a vast field itself and Internet of Things was never built to overcome the AI field. But most of the tasks of this field are to be more like intelligent features. Collecting data from people, environment etc is also a part of intelligence so that is why, intelligence would be a basic component of the OS.
The architecture and the system of the IoT OS is more likely to be known as an event-driven system.
Size of the system is considered to reach more than trillions, according to Wikipedia:
The Internet of objects would encode 50 to 100 trillion objects.
Many internet giants have already stepped into this field, for example Google Android's wearable devices such as watches and Google glass, Microsoft's Illumiroom are a few examples of Internet of Things now adays and more are to come. Google's wearables are powerfull enough to calculate the basic information about you, your devices, your environment and much more using powerfull Android OS.
Watches are the most commonly used wearable, and alongwith Android many other OSs are working to provide better control over the data and information on your wrist.
Not only providing the biological information about the user, Wearables also constitute a vast area of the Internet of Things field. According to Infoworld:
A new study from Rackspace titled "The Human Cloud: Wearable Technology from Novelty to Productivity" reports that 18 percent of the population in the United States and United Kingdom are using wearable technology, and the majority of those users (82 percent of Americans and 71 percent of Brits) say these devices are making their lives better.
Companies and journalists believe that public will accept this new technology as their friend soon.
Like all other frameworks and OSs, there needs to be a method to create third-party applications for the users. Most of the platforms are giving an opportunity for the developers to build applications for the devices. For examle, Android has provided the examples and tutorials for their Wearable API, that any one can read, learn and use from here.
One thing I like for Android is that the basic API is the same and the coding scheme and syntax is same (Java) so that even if you're writing application for Android phone, Android Wearable, Android TV or Android Auto, the API is same, just new namespace and packages etc. For example, here is a method and description for the developers of Android TV.
Microsoft has also played a part in this field and has provided the developers with the information required by them to develop the applications for IoT platform. These resources can be found at, this link.
All of the frameworks and OS developers and owners provide a documentation for the developers that plays a role as the basic guide to the developers which includes all of the namespaces or packages and the syntax for writing the applications. The guide also include the ideas behind the applications and the principles and the UI guides to develop the applications. This helps the developers to create a native application.
IoT includes a lot of new stuff and new fields to surf to. Most of the companies are calling the developers to take a part in this project and program, and develop new stuff. Microsoft has started a program and it is to ask the developers to join the program to build IoT applications for the Windows OS. Microsoft is also found to move the Windows OS to the IoT field and to build OS for small devices that would take part in IoT communication devices.
Points of Interest
I learnt the IoT on my way to write the article, the resources, qoutes have been used and captured from news and media journals and surveys. Mostly Wikipedia has been used, but copy/paste has been avoided.
First version of post.
Afzaal Ahmad Zeeshan is a computer programmer from Rabwah, Pakistan, currently living in The Netherlands, likes .NET Core and Node.js for regular everyday development. Afzaal Ahmad works at Adyen as a Developer Advocate.
He is an expert with Cloud, Mobile, and API development. Afzaal has experience with the Azure platform and likes to build cross-platform libraries/software with .NET Core. Afzaal is an Alibaba Cloud MVP, twice he has been awarded Microsoft MVP status for his community leadership in software development, four times CodeProject MVP status for technical writing and mentoring, and 4 times C# Corner MVP status in the same field.