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Technology Fundamentals of IoT

Exploring the technological components of IoT systems.
(upbeat music) <v ->Clearly the internet of things is something to do</v> with connecting things to the internet, right? Well sort of. Let’s look at the technologies that have made IOT possible and contributed to its use in so many diverse applications. Let’s say we want to monitor a boat, and check the boat location, though the boat isn’t sinking, and there aren’t any intruders on board. We can put a device on the boat that checks the location using a GPS receiver. We can monitor electrical signals from the boat and use a sensor to check for movement on board.
So here’s a device on boats secure. This monitors the signals and regularly transmits the data by a wireless signal and lets boat owners know if there is any issue that needs attention. One of the key technology decisions is what type of wireless signal to use so that data can get from the sensor’s device on the boat to the central data server. There are many choices available such as wifi, the cellular system, Bluetooth, and the low power wide area networks Sigfox and LoRaWAN. Some of these connect data directly to the internet and some send data via communication platform. There are also systems available for special purposes, industries or environments. A further option is the use of satellite connectivity.
Which technology is used is determined by factors such as signal distance, reliability, power consumption, management responsibility, the product cost and operating costs. There’s a lot of factors to consider. In many IOT applications data is sent to a central computer server, often a cloud platform run by a hyperscale provider such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, or other commercial system operator. These systems host a software application from the business that are responsible for the connected devices. Like both secure and provide services to users on a web dashboard or smartphone application. Let’s look further at what can be done with IOT data. We have to know what the user wants to achieve and how data supports the activity.
In many cases, the action is automated and there’s no direct user involvement. Think about a farmer irrigating a crop. The farmer wants irrigation to operate when the soil is dry, no rain is expected. We can automate this using sensors that check soil moisture and compare to the weather forecast and control irrigation pumps to provide the right amount of water. With the data available in a computer-based application, the possibilities of how water can be managed and crop growth controlled can become very interesting. The farmer wants good crop yield but doesn’t want to be involved directly in controlling the irrigation. He or she may want to regular report of soar condition, crop growth, and water use.
So the farmer could set the desired soil moisture level or the application can monitor and understand crop growth and adapt water to the crop cycle in the ideal harvest time. We can understand in this example the relevance of a sustainable perspective. By petty use of limited water resources, reduce the energy consumption for pumps and reduced fertilizer use for the side crop yield, and more time for the farmer to do other productive tasks. By using data from an IOT system, we can apply techniques such as artificial intelligence or machine learning to create sophisticated algorithms that provide useful outcomes. The may not be immediately obvious but save time, cost, resource use.
The sustainability perspective of technology should also be applied to the product life cycle. From manufacturing to disposal so that planet resources of materials, energy and waste management are properly considered. (upbeat music)

There are many different technological components of IoT systems, from sensors and devices through to wireless signals, data management and data visualisation.

This video provides an introduction to the technology fundamentals of IoT systems. Understanding the technology that can provide critical information and insights from data to inform decision-making to manage, enhance social, economic and environmental impacts.

The next step in this activity delves deeper into the components of IoT systems. If you are interested in reading further introductory texts about IoT (and Connected Environments, as the amalgamation of many different IoT systems), check out this book The Little Book of Connected Environments and the Internet of Things (2019) by Hudson-Smith et al. from University College London.

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Internet of Things (IoT) and Sustainability

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