Internet of Things (IoT)
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the growing network of smart “things” other than traditional computing devices that collect and send data and/or receive instructions over the internet.
Provides access to data
For enterprises, the IoT provides access to a host of data collected from business processes, manufacturing environments, product development, supply chains, and more. Analysis of this data can uncover significant opportunities to increase productivity, enhance safety, enable predictive maintenance and optimise operations.
Analogue to digital data
The term “Internet of Things” was first used in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, who was working on supply-chain optimisation for Procter & Gamble. He envisioned a system of sensors to capture physical information so it could be transformed into digital data. Today, there are nearly 14 billion IoT-connected devices worldwide, with that number projected to climb to over 30 billion by 2025.
Key technologies for the Internet of Things
In order for a device to be a part of the IoT, a few critical components are needed.
Sensors are used by an IoT device to collect information about the physical environment; they are like a digital version of a human’s sense of vision, hearing and touch. Many different types of sensors exist, and what sensors are used in a device will vary depending on what the device does. For example, your smart thermostat certainly needs a temperature sensor, but probably not an accelerometer.
Microcontrollers provide the computing power, memory and internet connectivity for the device. If the sensors are the digital eyes and ears of the device, the microcontroller is the brain. While microcontrollers have limited processing power, as the CPU and memory are embedded on a single chip, their low cost, minimal power requirements and relative simplicity make them suitable for use in many IoT devices.
Network connectivity is needed to move data to and from the device. There are a host of different options available, including Wi-Fi, WAN, LAN, cellular, Bluetooth, NFC, and many others. The choice of connectivity technology to use will depend not just on the type of device but also the environment in which it is being used. For example, while mobile data networks may have limited reach in some plants because of their architecture and building materials, next-gen 5G network connectivity will be required for the devices in autonomous vehicles.
IoT use cases
The IoT is driving advancement in many different markets, from smart homes and smart cities to manufacturing, telemedicine and even precision agriculture. While the full potential of the IoT has yet to be seen, it already has a number of practical, real-world applications.
Transportation and logistics: To help monitor product quality, IoT devices are being used with shipping containers to track and collect data such as location, container openings, temperature and vibration. Vehicle tracking systems, with their ability to monitor idling time, transit times and driving styles, can assist with fleet management, making delivery routes more efficient and improving driver safety. And real-time traffic data from sensors along roads can help drivers get to their destinations more quickly and efficiently.
Autonomous vehicles: While we don’t have fully self-driving cars yet, manufacturers are adding cameras, radar, lidar and other on-board sensors to their vehicles. Today, these devices are being used to collect information about the equipment inside the vehicle as well as the environment around it to enhance safety, such as braking assistance and steering support. In the future, these sensors will connect to a network that will allow vehicles to communicate with one another as well as the surrounding infrastructure, enabling fully automated vehicles.
Smart grid: The IoT makes it possible to replace outdated power grid systems with a smart grid, better able to draw from distributed energy sources and provide greater control to both utilities and consumers. Smart meters and sensors in home appliances give consumers detailed information about their energy consumption and the ability to adjust their energy use in response. For utilities, IoT technology allows them to use real-time data to detect outages, respond to changes in loads and adjust power distribution for greater efficiency.
Healthcare: IoT wearable technologies such as smart watches, fitness trackers and biosensors give consumers easy access to a wealth of health-related data at a glance. More robust devices like smart insulin pens, insertable cardiac monitors, connected inhalers and glucose monitors go even further and help patients monitor chronic conditions and access help if needed. Telehealth and virtual medicine then make it possible to deliver outpatient and long-term care remotely.
The Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0
Many different industries have embraced the IoT to improve their operations. Advances in automation, the ability to add new and inexpensive sensors to existing production equipment, and the convergence of operational technology (OT) with enterprise IT means that many manufacturers are looking for opportunities to increasingly digitise their operations. This imperative has led to a transition to Industry 4.0, which integrates both the physical and digital worlds to transform the manufacturing process, improve business operations and drive revenue growth.
Industry 4.0 would not be possible without the Industrial IoT (IIoT). The IIoT makes it possible for manufacturers to boost safety, optimise maintenance programmes, improve operational efficiency, enable operators to be more effective and reduce unplanned downtime.
Remote condition monitoring of field assets allows technicians to better plan their days and reduce time spent travelling between sites. On the factory floor, sensors can help assess the quality of both manufactured goods and the production process itself, making the final product quality more consistent and uncovering additional opportunities to improve quality. Sensors on moving or rotating machinery can collect critical data on the status of assets, and this data can be used to implement predictive maintenance programmes, reducing equipment downtime and optimising maintenance schedules.
Connect to the IoT with HPE
The IoT offers new opportunities to gain insights from connected people, places and assets. To make the most of these opportunities in today’s digital economy, you need a holistic approach to networking, compute, data management and security. Gain visibility and insight into your IoT ecosystem with support from HPE.
The HPE IoT Transformation Workshop integrates IT and OT data to produce an IoT strategy that improves results. Experts from HPE Pointnext Services can help you integrate IoT solutions and build a framework to help accelerate the deployment of future IoT solutions and advanced business intelligence capabilities.
Better understand the health and performance of your equipment in real time and improve asset maintenance decision-making with HPE Fast Start Condition Monitoring (FSCM) solutions. By bringing together HPE technologies, trusted partners and superior services, we enable you to make smarter equipment-based decisions tailored to your needs, your system and your environment.
For some enterprises, their adoption of IoT applications has outpaced crucial security and compliance best practices. The software-defined platform offered by Aruba is open, cloud-native and built to deliver advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) security features to provide centralised, uninterrupted discovery and monitoring of all network-connected devices.
HPE Edgeline systems integrate key open standards-based OT data acquisition and control technologies directly into the enterprise IT system responsible for running the analytics. This convergence of OT and IT capabilities into a single HPE Edgeline system greatly reduces the latency between acquiring data, analysing it and acting on it, while at the same time saving space, weight and power (SWaP).