Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT)

This article is about the introduction to the Internet of Things, the Needs and working of IoT, salient features, Components, and IoT Architecture.

Introduction to the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an advanced automation and analytics solution that deals with artificial intelligence, sensors, networking, actuators, electronic and cloud messaging, etc. to deliver complete systems for products or services. The term “the Internet of Things” (IoT) was coined by Kevin Ashton. This IoT system has great transparency, control, and performance.

The Internet of Things connects everyday things embedded with electronics, software, and sensors to the internet enabling them to collect and exchange data without human interaction. The term “Things” in the Internet of Things refers to everything and anything in day-to-day life which is accessed or connected through the internet.

The Internet of Things (IoT) have the ability to communicate one device to one another through the internet or other networks, it will also track information remotely for providing feedback to assist with decision-making for commercial, industrial and residential purpose. This is commonly done using sensors connecting to a back-to-base system.

Simply an IoT system does the following actions on the systems.

  • Can connect to the internet
  • Talk with other devices
  • Collect and send data to the servers
  • Do physical changes as per the given commands
  • Analyze the data for future trends by collecting data.

How does the Internet of Things Work?

The working of IoT is different for different IoT ecosystems. However, the key concept of their working principle is similar. The entire working process of IoT starts with the device themselves such as smartphones, digital watches, and electronic appliances which securely communicate with the IoT platform.

Internet of Things

The IoT platform collects the data from the devices and analyzes them as per the requirement and at last transfers the most valuable data with applications to devices. This system consists of all the web-enabled devices that collect, send and act on data they acquire from their surrounding environments using embedded sensors, processors, and communication hardware.

These devices, often called “connected” or “smart” devices can sometimes talk to other related devices, a process called Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication, and act on the information they get from one another. Humans also can interact with the device and they can also change the instructions as per their need, they can access the data and analyze them & also get notified through the device.

These collected data from the devices cause a lot of internet traffic because of loads of data that can be used to make the devices useful and also can be mined for other purposes. This internet-accessible nature of devices raises both privacy and security concerns on the system.

Why IoT?

This IoT technology improves the real-time monitoring system that we never had before. Through this, we can monitor our homes, and we can control our devices remotely with networks which will save more power, time, and money also.

On the business side, by continuous automatic monitoring, we can improve productivity and reduces material waste & rejection which will directly increase the economic side of the business. Even we can monitor the whole city environment through respective sensors, and we can reduce road congestion and warn us when infrastructure is in danger of crumbling.

IoT was applied in every field in today’s world, like in home automation, agriculture, education, retail, industries, and even in defense also. We can monitor our vehicles, pets, and energy level through these IoT systems.

How does Internet of Things Work

Features of IoT

The important features of IoT are networking, sensing, data collecting, analyzing, connectivity, etc.

The followings are some of the important features of IoT.


Connectivity refers to the connection between the IoT devices with all the things to the IoT Platform for performing the definite operations in the system by server or cloud.

After connecting with the devices, communication between the devices needs to be at high speed for transferring messages between the devices and server to enable reliable operation performance and it should be secure & bi-directional communication.


Connecting the devices most probably leads to data collection. After that collected a large amount of data needs to be analyzed for doing the required operations in the system automatically.

The correct collection of data from all the devices and perfect analysis make the system super smart.


IoT integrates the various models and devices for improving the system performance and function & user experience as well.

Artificial Intelligence

IoT makes the system smart and enhances the process with the use of data. The dependence on the operation is mostly not required because of its smart intelligence.

For example, in the production line if any component is required for the product assembly but if it is not available in stock, this IoT system will check for the requirement and this itself orders the required component to the retailer & gives the order message to the line in-charge. This type of intelligence makes this IoT superior in this emerging world.


Sensors play a vital role in the Internet of Things because any change in the environment was detected by the sensors only.

This continuous change in the environment was monitored by the sensor and this sensor will update the reports of the devices connected to the network or server. Physical changes were mostly measured by the sensors only.

Active Management

IoT makes the connected technology, product, or services to active engagement between each other. This property is important because it makes the system make all the devices actively engaged with the other components for making the process automatic mode by collaboration

Endpoint Management

It is essential for doing the endpoint management for all the IoT systems or else it will lead to process failure. The endpoint is the final part of a system where the end-user requirement is fulfilled.

If the required process is completed but the end user is not notified properly means it will be a loss to process because we cannot predict whether the obtained output is wrong or right without the end user. So, the final part should be managed by the user.

Components of IoT

IoT working mainly depends on the following fundamental components only.

They are

  • Sensors/ Devices
  • Connectivity
  • Data Processing
  • User Interface
  • Sensors / Devices

Sensors or field devices are a key component in the IoT because they collect data lively from the environment. All this data collection may be easy or sometimes complex.

If it is a temperature sensor means we can collect the data easily but in can case of vision type it was complex compared to the temperature. Depending on the application we can use different types of sensors; their complexity will matter. A device may have various types of sensors which performs multiple tasks apart from sensing.

For example, a mobile phone is a device that has many sensors like GPS, touch sensors, etc but other than that we can do many operations.


All the collected data from the sensors need to be sent to the cloud infrastructure. The cloud is nothing but a server accessed over the internet and the software and databases that run on the servers.

The cloud enables users to access the same files and applications from almost any device because the computing and storage take place on servers in a data center instead of locally on the user’s device.

These sensors should be connected to the cloud using various mediums of communication.

Communication mediums like mobile networks, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LAN are used to connect the sensors to the cloud for storing the data.

Data Processing

Once the data is collected from the sensors and stored in the cloud, the software will perform certain operations on the data. It will check the data depending on the programs fed into the software.

Data will be analyzed, sorted, or sometimes filtered as per the requirement. Depending on the processed output we will get the output of the IoT system.

For example, checking the temperature in the oven, and sorting colors in the application using computer vision.

User Interface

At last, the processed data or information needs to be available to the end user in some way which can be triggered by giving a message or giving a notification, or giving a call. So that user can check their IoT system function from anywhere or at any distance from the physical system.

The user can get the visual appearance or visual values of the function in this user interface. We may change the settings and set this interface as per our needs.

For example, our objective is to monitor the moisture level of the sand, for that system is set up with a sensor, cloud, and interface. We can get the moisture level in our device in the mode of the graph, chart, or meter type. The exact date and exact time data can be got through our interface.

Features of IoT
Figure – User Interface Screen

IoT Architecture

There are several layers of IoT built upon the capability and performance of IoT elements that provides the optimal solution to business enterprises and end-users.

The IoT architecture is a basic way to design the various elements of an IoT system so that data will transfer over the network and serve the needs of the present & future depending on the past data.

Following are the primary stages of IoT that provides the solution for the architecture.

  1. Sensors/Actuators
  2. Gateways and Data Acquisition
  3. Edge IT/ Computing
  4. Data Center/Cloud
Four stages of IoT architecture


Sensors or Actuators are the devices that are able to emit, accept and process data over the network. These sensors or actuators are connected to the system either wired or wireless example like Gyroscope, RFID, Pressure, PH level, and GPS.

They need to configure with sensor gateway for transferring the data to the IoT system. We can connect the sensors or actuators through Wi-Fi, LAN (Local Area Network), or some personal network for data transfer.

Gateways and Data Acquisition

Since the sensors are collecting the physical changes in the mode of data on every second, the number of data made on the system was significantly large amount only.

In this case, these data need to transfer at high speed to the IoT system so we are using the Gateways and network for transferring and collecting the data at a maximum speed. This network can be Ethernet, Wi-Fi, GSM, or Mobile network.

Components of IoT

Edge Computing

Edge computing is the process that allows data from the IoT system to be analyzed from the edge of the networking system before being transferred to the data center or cloud. It analyses the pre-process data from the Hardware and software gateways.

The main feature of edge computing is, if we get the same data continuously those data will not be sent to the cloud for saving the data storage area in the data center through the data analyses.

Data Center (Cloud)

The data center was the final stage which comes under the management services. This will process the information through analytics, device management, process control, and security control.

Other than these analytics and security it will transfer the data or information for the end user’s application as per their requirement in the field like retail, medical, automotive, agriculture, and manufacturing.

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