Getting to Know the IoT | MindPlus Coding Kit for Arduino Started Tutorial E16
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AshG Sep 18.2021
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Arduino and IOT

Chapter 7 Getting to Know the IoT (Internet of Things)

 

Over the past few centuries, mankind has experienced a series of technological revolutions, and each revolution is guided by a certain mainstream technology.For example: the industrial revolution of the 18th century opened the mechanical age; the second industrial revolution of the 19th century ushered in the electrical age; the 20th century celebrated information age, when Internet and computers became the symbol of the era;In 21st century, as senors, embedded systems and internet popularized, Internet of Things is called as the third wave of world’s information industry revolution after the advents of computers and internet. As the backbone of current smart home development and urban construction, the Internet of Things will be applied to various fields and lead people into an era with increased intelligence.

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Project 1 Learn about the Internet of Things

Task Navigation 

1. Learn about the Internet of Things

2. Understanding the IoT infrastructure

3. Learn how the Internet of Things works

Learn about the Internet of Things 

One morning, you wake up from your dream and find that it was 7:40. The 7 o'clock alarm you set last night did not go off! You are about late for work. You get out of bed in a hurry and run into the bathroom to brush your teeth and wash your face. No time for your messy hair. After you get dressed, you run into the kitchen, open the refrigerator, and find nothing inside as you forgot to buy new food yesterday. There is no way but to go to work without a breakfast. You grab the key, take the folder and come to the underground parking. When you drive the car out of the apartments block, you find that the road to the company is jammed due to rain. You can do nothing to traffic in front of you... Have you even been in these situations in your life?

Next, we imagine another day. At 7 in the morning, the sun shines through the curtains. The curtains in the room open automatically. The sun shines in. The weather forecast automatically broadcasts the weather and transmits the data to the wardrobe, which presents a selection of dress and shoes for you. While you are in the bathroom, the robotic arm in the kitchen picks up the toasted bread, and a cup of coffee, and places it on the dining table. After breakfast, you drive out. At this time, you take out the mobile phone and enter the starting point. The mobile phone has already told you the fastest route. When you arrive at the company, the mobile phone has also pushed the best parking location.

At noon, your mobile phone alerts you that there may be a biological invasion in your home. You immediately turn on the real-time monitoring and find that it’s a cat is lingering at your door. Then you find that the sockets were not turned off and windows and doors are not closed properly. Then you tap the phone, and the sockets and doors and windows of the home are automatically dealt with. The moment the door closed, the cat was startled and feet as if he was shocked by your "smart home".

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In the afternoon, the grandfather calls from hometown and complains that vegetables grown at home withered in the greenhouse in the afternoon for no reason. Now, you use your phone and find that the soil humidity is too low and the temperature in the greenhouse is too high. You tap the phone and the sprinklers start to spray, and the A/C systems start running.

At the end of the day, you just want to lie down comfortably when you are home. So, on your way to home you start your home environment with one tap. At this moment, the air conditioner automatically turns on, the rice cooker starts to work, and the cleaning robot starts cleaning. When you get home, everything you think of a smart home is done for you.

Now you would think, these are the scenes in sci-fi films! Correct! In the future, these will become reality by the Internet of Things. So what is the Internet of Things?

The "things" in the Internet of Things (IoT) are all the items around you. Common things in daily life are: washing machines, refrigerators, and other home appliances; cars, houses and other fixed assets; even tables and chairs are included. Items are not so everyday including: thermometers, speedometers, etc. Therefore, Internet of Things is a world where everything is connected. In the Internet of Things, all items in your life can be connected to the Internet with electronic tags, and then they exchange information and communicate with each other to achieve smart identification, positioning, tracking, monitoring and management.

Understanding the IoT Infrastructure

The Internet of Things, which enables each item to have the same "thinking capability" and "executive capability" as humans. Three basic architectures together make this possible: sensor layer, network layer, and application layer. As shown below.

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The sensor layer is the bottom layer of the Internet of Things. It consists of various sensors and sensor gateways, including carbon dioxide concentration sensors, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, QR code tags, bar codes, RFID tags and readers, cameras, GPS and other sensor-terminals. The sensor layer works like human’s eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and skin, functioning to identify objects and collect information.

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The network layer is the intermediate layer of the Internet of Things. It consists of various private networks, the Internet, wired networks, wireless networks, network management systems, and cloud computing platforms. Working like human’s nerve center and brain, it is mainly responsible for transmitting and processing the information obtained by the sensor layer. The internet, together with other networks, transmits all information obtained by sensing layer, and facilitate the transparent data transmission between two end systems. Specific functions include addressing, routing, and the establishment, maintenance, and termination of connections.

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The application layer is the interface between the Internet of Things and users (people, organizations, other systems). It is combined with industry needs to implement intelligent applications of IoT.

At present, the industrial characteristics of the Internet of Things are mainly reflected in its application fields. Currently, a number of industries such as green agriculture, industrial monitoring, public security, urban management, telemedicine, smart home, intelligent transportation, and natural resources monitoring, are enjoying the applications of IoT.

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IoT Applications

Learn How the Internet of Things works

The Internet of Things is changing our lives at an increase pace. Driving, shopping, and even home heating is improved by IoT. With previous introduction to the basic infrastructure of IoT, do you have a clear understanding of how it works?

We implant the surrounding devices with sophisticated sensors and chips, which will continuously collect and send valuable data. These data will in turn give us a better understanding of how these devices are working together. But how should these devices share data at such a large quantity? Also, how should we utilize these data? Whether it is to improve the production efficiency of factories, update the best parking spots for urban residents in real time, or detect personal health conditions, IoT platform has a role to play in integrating information and provide a universal language for communication between equipment and application software. The entire process starts with the device itself. They communicate securely with the Internet of Things platform; the platform integrates and analyzes all the data, extracts the most valuable part, and sends it to applications that satisfy specific industrial needs.

Let's take a simple example: bicycle-sharing. Sharable bicycle is very convenient to use, and their most prominent feature is that scanning the QR code can unlock the bicycle. So the IoT aspect of sharable bicycle mainly uses the "phone-cloud-bike" architecture.

We can use the mobile app to find nearby bicycles, top up, reserve unlocks and more.

The cloud is the server side and the console of the entire bicycle-sharing system. It can communicate with all bicycles, collect information instructions, and respond to user and administrator commands.

The bicycle end is the end that collects information and executes commands, such as GPS positioning, unlocking, and etc.

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Further Reading 

What do you know about practical applications of the Internet of Things?

Fields of application of IoT are everywhere. Besides applications in bicycle-sharing, industry, agriculture, environment, transportation, logistics, security, there are other areas in our life where IoT is doing its job. Let’s have a closer look.

· Convenience Brought by Internet of Things

Almost every community block has some smart package storage lockers. The self-service pick-up and drop system are largely regarded as a new trend in logistics industry.

The smart package lockers can be left unattended. Once courier drops the package in the locker, the recipient will receive a message with a pickup code. The recipient can open the locker with the pickup code.

· Clothing Industry with the Internet of Things

In recent years, RFID integrated system vendors are exploring the overall application of RFID system with merchants. Besides warehouse management, RFID is also applied at front-end store sales process, in order to understand the hot-selling styles in time before the sales data is reported. So merchants can adjust production plan on the fly, and avoid inventory backlog, which is particularly important for fashion and fast-selling clothing.

Every piece of clothing is attached with a unique RFID, so manual check and counting is a thing of past -- from factory to shelf. Because the clothes will "tell" the shop handler of their identity information. At the store, they themselves will report, in real time, how many customers take them off the shelves, or how many take them to the fitting rooms.

Right now, HLA, Decathlon, H&M, ZARA and other brands have all begun to deploy RFID systems. Clothes that can "speak" bring more intelligent production and save a lot of manpower.

· Healthcare with the Internet of Things

Healthcare is surely a major concern of our lives. In before, we need to register when we go to hospital, and we often need to wait for our examination results. Now, we can do registration online, and we can check our examination results on our phones. In addition, we can talk to doctors online, so that resources of the health system are fully utilized.

In our life, applications go far beyond in these three areas. IoT is also contributing tremendously in education, finance, catering, agriculture, film and television, etc. With the development of the Internet of Things, those near-magical scenes we see in sci-fi movies are increasingly likely to happen in real life.

In the previous chapters, we have already learnt the Mind+ programming tool and Arduino UNO mainboard. Other essential tools for making IoT projects are WiFi IoT IoT module and Easy IoT Platform. Let us learn how to communicate with the Easy IoT platform through the WiFi IoT IoT Module and upload local information to the cloud.

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