Part 1: Background
Before we move to IoT, it may be worthwhile to discuss a few things on current status of the telecommunication.
This employed the following technologies:
Circuit switching (Speech and Telex)
- A dedicated connection
- Connection remains till both parties decide to quit
- No delay
- Minimum overhead
- Very ineffecient
Message switching or store-forward (Telex)
- No dedicated connection
- Message sent to switching center (Telex)
- Switching center forwards to the intermediate/final switching center close to the destination when the
facilities become free and continues till the message is delivered
- Delay for long messages
- Minimum overhead (Header information is sent only once)
- More efficient over circuit switching
Packet switching (Data)
- No dedicated connection
- Paths could different for different packets
- Improved way of message switching
- Long messges are broken into small/optimum sized messages and assembled at the delivery point
- Extra overhead (Header information is repeated for all the packets in the same message)
- Delay is expected when the bandwidth is low and there is a congestion in the nework
Telecoms companies have been providing facilities for speech and data communication on dedicated communication
network. Data includes text, audio, and video. In addition to this, they also work as ISP (Internet Service Provider) to
provide internet connectivity to the public at large. Internet uses packet switching.
Internet has changed the landscape of voice communication with VoIP technology. With the availability of
technologies like 3G and above, higher bandwidth communication channels have become a reality. With this, voice
communication is also being transferred to internet technology (VoIP). Already we have examples such as Skype,
WhatsApp, etc. These are very efficient over high bandwidth channels, say 3G, 4G, etc.
Perhaps, in the time to come, all Telecoms will switchover to ISP providing all types of communication services.
Higher the bandwidth better will be the service as the time taken to store the packet before forwarding becomes
This started with data communication over internet using computer terminals at both ends. Some basics about internet
- To transport data from one point to the other we need a communication media
- Electrical/electronic communication started with wired media and later expanded to include wireless media.
Both have advantages and disadvantages
- Till date, both wired and wireless media are used for transporting data from one point to another, dedicated
channels hired by the companies
- As long as the distance between the two pints is not large and the quantity of data is not that high, this method
- Organisations/Companies created their own networks for moving their data from one point to another
- With the arrival of internet, a public network, data movement from one part of the globe to another part
became a reality for all
- This calls for manual uploading of data at sending end and manual downloading at receiving end. Internet
is being used as a public media to transport the data
Internet of Things(IoT)
IoT has given a new dimension to the usage of internet and changed its landscape. The evolution steps are:
- Large data collection from various devices and sending them elsewhere over internet was a tedious task as
the same is manual
- With availability of cost effective micro-processors, all the devices became intelligent and communicable.
They started exchanging the data on their own with other compatible systems over wired/wireless media.
This was a great step forward in remote management of devices and opened up many related areas such as
asset management, big data analysis, etc.
- Today, newly developed devices (industrial and house hold) are increasingly being integrated with microprocessors
making them intelligent for performing their internal functions but also communicable with the
- The intelligent and communicable devices now, on their own, can diagnose their health and send the data to
the remote supervising systems over wired/wireless communication for analysis and actions such as
- The above, when number of devices is high, obviously leads to exponential increase in the communication
load and local data processing
- Large number of devices will generate large amount of data which cannot be processed and analysed locally
- So, what next? Obviously move to internet as communication as media so that the devices can use the
common facilities available elsewhere in the globe for analysis of data
- This calls for all devices to support internet communication (IoT Enabled) which provides and interface to
internet so that internet acts as a “Communication Media”
- Not only the devices can send the data to whomsoever in the world over internet, they can also be remote
controlled over internet
- With this, world is moving towards more and more devices being connected to the internet
In the context of IT/OT convergence popularly used in automation domain, may be, we can call ‘Things’
as OT and the rest as IT.
Part 2: Implementation
The basic idea of IoT is to connect all the devices (anything and everything), collect their data, analyse, and
manage them better.
- IoT is the network of physical objects or "things" embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and
network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data
- IoT is an environment in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the
ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer
- IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)
and the Internet. The concept may also be referred to as the Internet of Everything
The pre-requisite for this are:
- Availability of high speed internet
- IoT enabled devices
IoT enabled devices are:
- Intelligent to gather information from its environment and on its own functioning and health
- Communicable to internet so that the collected info is transferred to the concerned for further analysis and
The typical set up is:
Important points to be noted in IoT are:
- Devices are able to send data to the cloud automatically without any human intervention
- Internet is used as a communication medium
The above is an extract from author’s book Overview of Industrial Process Automation Systems (2nd Edition),
Elsevier Inc., USA, 2016.
The above views by the author is open for review, corrections, and modifications, if required.