IoT (Internet of Things) - Meaning and Importance for Industry 4.0

The term "Internet of Things" (IoT) refers to all devices connected to the Internet, other than computers and smartphones. Examples of such objects are cars and their components, household appliances, health monitoring devices. There is a strong growth of IoT objects, both in number of units produced and in types of devices.
Business Insider predicts that by 2020 there will be more than 24 billion IoT devices worldwide. This means that every human being will have an average of 4 IoT objects.

The corresponding projected investment is $6 billion, which includes application development, hardware manufacturing, system integration, data storage, security and connectivity. This investment is expected to produce a turnover of 13 trillion dollars by 2025.

Fields of application for the IoT

The area of application for IoT devices is very wide. From the graph we have just seen, it is clear that the three main beneficiaries will be consumers, public administrations and businesses.
The following graph summarises the main fields of application of the IoT, as far as we know today. The estimate takes into account the popularity of the various fields of application, making the resulting forecast particularly interesting. In any case, it must be considered that the public does not have a direct visibility of certain fields of application, such as the last three of the ranking that could perhaps prove to be among the most prolific of initiatives. The future, especially in recent times, is so difficult to predict!
In the first place we have devices for the home, such as intelligent thermostat, interconnected lights, intelligent refrigerator and intelligent lock.
Then there are the wearables, which include among the most popular intelligent watches, fitness trackers and smart glasses.

Privacy and Security

As interconnected objects become more common, privacy and security concerns multiply, making it the biggest obstacle to the growth of the IoT market today.
Cybercriminals can connect to cars, critical infrastructure, even family homes through IoT devices. Cyber security is therefore a priority for many businesses.

Platforms

IoT devices communicate with each other through Internet communication protocols. However, they need an IoT platform that acts as a bridge between device sensors and data networks.

The IoT Ecosystem

IoT devices operate within an ecosystem that allows them to be fully exploited. This ecosystem enables the various entities involved to connect and control IoT devices.
Each entity uses a control device ("Remote") to send a command or request information from an IoT device within a network ("Network").
The device then executes the command and/or sends the requested information through the network so that it can be viewed and analyzed on the control device.
Data generated by the IoT device can be analyzed and saved on both the cloud and the controller, and on the IoT device itself.

Sensors for the Internet of Things

Sensors are the key element of the Internet of Things. The devices, equipped with these increasingly diversified and sophisticated components, are becoming an extension of our 5 senses. They are able to hear what we are not able to hear, to see where we cannot get, to collect information in a quantity and with a precision that would never be possible for any human being.
Knowing the different types of sensors, their technical characteristics, prices and availability, is now an essential part of the work of designing an Internet of Things device.
Thanks to MEMS, which combine the electrical properties of semiconductor integrated devices with opto-mechanical properties, it is now possible to detect everything. With the leap towards a nanometric dimension (molecular electronics and molecular mechanics), it is increasingly possible to capture mechanical and physical phenomena of a molecular dimension, such as odours or the presence of particular gases.

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