Internet of Things - IoT

Meaning of “Internet of Things” - IoT for short


Romina Bruhn
Romina Bruhn

Data is automatically synchronized, devices are coupled with other applications, users are networked - the number of devices that work “smart” through Internet access is growing. Users will find a lot of progress in this, as they can access the current status of their data from anywhere and benefit from networking with other devices and users. But industry and business are also convinced of the possibility and the resulting advantages of being able to network their devices and machines: The "Internet of Things" belongs to the new age of digital industry, also known as Industry 4.0. Read what it means exactly and how it works in the following post.

Definition: What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

Defining the meaning of the “Internet of Things” - IoT for short - is not that easy, as there are many different understandings and explanations circulating. But at least the basic assumption is the same everywhere: The term describes the intelligent networking of objects via the Internet. These can be everyday devices as well as machines used in industry. Through their connection to the Internet, these devices can communicate with each other, exchange data and carry out tasks and work steps fully automatically and coordinated.

However, not only communication from device to device is made possible by the connection to the Internet - many of the objects also provide an interface to which a human user can dial in from anywhere and thus control the device.

The goal of the IoT is to improve our way of working and living, for example by optimizing and automating workflows or by offering a more diverse user experience. Examples of devices of the IoT are fitness wristbands, devices or applications of a smart home or machine-to-machine communication - M2M for short.

Basics of the IoT

The fundamentals of the Internet of Things refer to the basic concepts and technologies required to build and operate the IoT. The IoT consists of a multitude of interconnected devices, sensors and actuators that can exchange data over the internet and interact with each other automatically. To realise the IoT, various technologies such as sensors, wireless communication, cloud computing and data analytics are required. Sensors capture physical or chemical information from the environment and transmit it via network connections. Wireless communication technologies enable devices to communicate with each other and exchange data in real time. The collected data is stored in the cloud, where it can be processed, analysed and used for various applications. The fundamentals of the IoT also include security and privacy, as the IoT potentially processes large amounts of personal data. Understanding these fundamentals is essential to realise the full potential of the IoT and develop innovative applications in areas such as smart homes, smart cities and Industry 4.0.

What is the Industrial Internet of Things?

In connection with the Internet of Things, a distinction is made between private and industrial applications. While the aforementioned fitness wristbands or the smart home count for private use, i.e. the consumer-oriented side is used, the industrial sector is about machines and systems that are connected to one another. This form of the Internet of Things is called the “Industrial Internet of Things”, or IIoT for short.

The aim of the IIoT is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of work processes, reduce costs and accelerate processes. This is based on the assumption that intelligent machines can react and work faster, more precisely and more cost-effectively than humans. If the IIoT is used and applied correctly, it can significantly increase the competitiveness and future viability of a company. The IIoT can be used in a wide variety of areas: in manufacturing, in logistics companies, in agriculture or in the medical field.

When talking about IIoT, the term “Industry 4.0” is often mentioned. This term describes a type of project through which the entire industry is to be successively digitized.
Sounds promising and, above all, has a promising future. How exactly does the IIoT now work?

How exactly does the Internet of Things work?

There are two main components in devices that enable them to integrate into the IoT: sensors and actuators. All "things" are equipped with sensors to collect data and transmit these to the common network. Actuators, in turn, are necessary to enable the device to carry out certain actions. So they process data such as an action command. The two types of sensors do not always have to be physically attached to the device; the surroundings of the device are often sufficient.

In addition, the respective devices in the network must be clearly identifiable so that the data obtained can be used and clearly assigned. This is done using an ID that the device receives when it is first installed. Only when the data from the sensors can be clearly identified and used can commands be sent back to the actuators. In order to continuously fix errors and close any security gaps, it is also important that the devices and their software are regularly maintained and updated. The users of the devices must also be managed. This includes their unique identification, their roles, access permissions and property rights.

The way in which the IoT works is based on a number of different technologies, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and connectivity. The combination of these results in a so-called “smart device”, i.e. a clever part that can use the full functionality of the IoT. But what exactly do these smart devices and the IoT bring for companies?

Technology behind the IoT

 The Internet of Things is based on a variety of technologies. These include sensors that collect data from the physical world and wireless networks that transmit this data. In addition, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are important components of the IoT. These technologies make it possible to collect and analyse large amounts of data and extract useful information from it. As a result, the IoT can be applied in various areas, such as industry, health and the smart home, and improve our everyday lives.

Sensors and actuators

Sensors and actuators play a crucial role in the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors are devices that can detect physical or chemical parameters and convert them into electronic signals. These signals can provide information about temperature, humidity, movement or other environmental conditions. On the other hand, actuators are devices that respond to commands and can perform physical actions. Examples of actuators are motors, pumps or actuators that can initiate actions based on information from sensors. By integrating sensors and actuators into IoT devices, it becomes possible to connect physical objects and the natural environment with the digital world, enabling new applications and services. Sensors and actuators are thus indispensable components in the IoT ecosystem.

Networking technologies

IoT is a technology that enables devices to communicate with each other and exchange data. Networking technologies are the basic infrastructure of IoT. They include various wired and wireless communication protocols such as WLAN, Bluetooth, 5G and RFID. These technologies enable devices to be connected to each other and exchange information in real time. By networking devices, efficient processes can be implemented and data can be used for analysis and improvement.

Application areas of the IoT

The application areas of the IoT are manifold. In agriculture, the IoT can help maximise crop yields by inserting sensors into soils and plants to measure moisture levels and nutrient requirements. In healthcare, wearables and connected medical devices can monitor patient data in real time and help doctors make accurate diagnoses. In transport, IoT enables smart traffic management systems and connected vehicles that can optimise traffic flows and reduce accidents. In industry, IoT devices can be used to automate factory operations and improve efficiency. These are just a few examples of the many applications of IoT that can help improve daily life in different industries.

IoT in industry

The Internet of Things is also having a major impact on industry. By networking machines and devices, industrial processes can be optimised and made more efficient. With the help of sensors, data can be collected and analysed, leading to better monitoring and control of production. IoT also enables real-time communication between different systems, which leads to improved coordination and collaboration in industry. By integrating artificial intelligence, automated decisions can also be made, leading to further improvements in production and product quality.

Applications in everyday life

Internet of Things applications are now widespread in everyday life and offer numerous benefits. For example, smart home devices such as thermostats and lighting systems can be controlled via a mobile app, increasing comfort and energy efficiency. Wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches monitor health data and help improve fitness. In the area of mobility, the IoT enables vehicles to be connected, leading to more efficient traffic management and increased safety. In retail, IoT technologies are used to track inventory and offer personalised shopping experiences. These applications illustrate how the IoT is revolutionising and improving our everyday lives.

Edge Computing in IoT

Edge computing in the IoT refers to the paradigm in which data processing and analysis take place directly at "the edge of the network" (Edge) instead of sending it to remote cloud servers.

Introduction to Edge Computing

 Edge computing refers to a technology where data processing and storage takes place as close as possible to the source of the data. Unlike traditional cloud computing architecture, data is not processed in a central data centre, but directly to "the edge of the network", in so-called "edge devices". This reduces latency because the data does not have to be sent over long distances to a central data centre and back. Edge computing thus enables real-time processing of data and fast reactions to events.

Advantages and use of edge computing in the IoT

A major advantage is that data can be processed in real time without the need to connect to the central cloud server. This reduces latency and enables fast response. In addition, edge computing can reduce data transmission costs, as only relevant and pre-processed data is sent to cloud systems. This is especially important in environments with limited bandwidth or high data volumes. Distributing data processing to edge devices also enables increased security, as sensitive data does not necessarily have to be transmitted to an external network.

Why IoT - what does the use of the “Internet of Things” bring to companies?

If companies decide to use IoT within their production or logistics, the opportunity arises to offer completely new services or business models. This can result in higher customer satisfaction, more demand and more customers. But not only the product range is renewed, the use of (I)IoT can also significantly increase efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. This includes the energy efficiency that results from the optimized use of machines and devices.

In addition, IoT enables a company to manage and evaluate large amounts of data. It thus enables the current state to be represented and, if necessary, optimized. This also enables the company to take advantage of the opportunity to optimize products and services in order to ultimately ensure higher customer satisfaction and more customers.

The bottom line is that companies that jump on the bandwagon of digitization and use the possibilities of the Internet of Things are, and above all, will remain more promising and competitive. We at EcholoN are happy to help you jump on this train. We are at your side with advice and action on all questions relating to inventory analysis and the implementation of the IoT. Please contact us without obligation.

Internet of Things - IoT / IdD - Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The Internet of Things refers to the connection of devices that are not normally connected to the internet to collect, share and analyse data. It enables direct communication between physical and virtual objects and plays a major role in the deployment of IoT applications in various industries.

What are the applications of the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things has applications in many areas such as automated industry, connected cars, smart cities, deployment of IoT sensors and many more.

What does connected cars mean?

Connected cars refer to vehicles that are connected to the internet and can collect sensor data. This data can be used for various IoT applications in the automotive industry, including remote maintenance and improving vehicle performance.

What business models are enabled by the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things enables companies to develop new business models in which devices and data play a central role. Examples include the business model of connected devices with the internet, the provision of IoT solutions and the development of automation systems in various industries.

How can IoT applications be used in industry?

IoT applications are widely used in industrial automation. By connecting devices and machines, companies can monitor processes, collect and analyse data to improve efficiency and reduce human intervention.

How does the Internet of Things help in the development of smart cities?

The Internet of Things plays an important role in the development of smart cities. By connecting devices and infrastructure, cities can collect and analyse data to support efficiency and sustainability initiatives, optimise transport and improve the quality of life for residents.

What are IoT sensors?

IoT sensors are devices that are able to collect and share data from their environment. They play an important role in providing information for IoT applications and enable interaction between physical and virtual objects.

How do connected cars work?

Connected cars are equipped with sensors and an interface that allow them to communicate with the internet. This allows them to collect, transmit and analyse data. This data is used to optimise vehicle performance, detect faults and simplify maintenance.

What role does the Internet of Things play in the automotive industry?

The Internet of Things plays a crucial role in the automotive industry. It enables the development of connected cars that can communicate with the internet and other vehicles. This enables new features such as driver assistance systems, telematics and infotainment that improve the driving experience and increase safety.

What are the benefits of IoT solutions for businesses?

IoT solutions offer a variety of benefits to businesses. They enable more efficient data collection and analysis, improve customer communication, streamline operations, support remote maintenance and offer new business opportunities.