Emerging IoT paradigm – A technology perspective
There is still huge potential yet to be imagined. Let me replace Internet of Things (IoT) with Internet of Sensors. The old saying goes, ‘you cannot manage what you don’t measure’. The best parallel process I can think of is in the design of instrumentation and control systems – when the most accurate sensors are relied upon to for making decisions about what to do next.
In sensor design, the goal is measuring environmental phenomena with correlation. The device must change the same way the environment does every time to be considered accurate. Once the sensor is considered accurate with what it is measuring, it becomes part of the instrumentation suite for an application. The next step is a control system. Adding a feedback loop – taking those measurements to and applying a change to the environment to those measurements – like a thermometer and a thermostat for temperature control or a water pressure gauge and a pump for flow control.
The main gap between instrumentation and control systems is having them as soon as possible, and the exchange of data delivered economically as possible – while balancing the accuracy the sensor can deliver. With Network Infrastructure constantly being upgraded, the potential of IoT can be realized. When higher fidelity data exchanged between IoT is used to support or check each other, the control systems next command is more confident. If we expand on the thermostat example, when adding information on open windows and doors, humidity, outside ambient temperature and wind speed, the logic on how much to turn up the heat or air conditioner might be very different than just the thermometer alone. The multi dimensional data driven decision will have an objective to maintain user comfort or maintain equipment longevity.
In IoT, I think we are in the phase of discovering more sensors are needed to get the full context of what we are managing – A single sensor alone needs to be combined with other sensors to get the full picture of what is happening and innovations in other sensors are happening to meet this. Different applications will need a different variety of sensors with the spatial dimension being common the need in providing strategic clarity. The challenge of a GNSS chipset in an IoT application needs the supplement of GNSS assistance and GNSS correction services position for positioning quickly and accurately but often constrained by RF physics. When adding GNSS assistance and GNSS corrections services into the inherent connectivity of IoT device, the network of IoT devices can be denser to make a higher resolution picture of what you are managing.
The commonality with all sensors is that when the spatial dimension is accurate and timely the response of the decision maker shifts from reactive to proactive, and changing from managing your sensors, to using the information they bring to you.