The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of devices which contain electronics, transducer (sensors, actuators), software and connectivity which allows these things to connect to the internet or an intranet and interact, and exchange data.
The term IoT can most likely be attributed to Kevin Ashton in 1997 with his work at Proctor and Gamble using RFID tags to manage supply chains. The work brought him to MIT in 1999 where he and a group of like-minded individuals started the Auto-ID center research consortium
(http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/kevin-ashton-describes-the-internet-of-things-180953749/). Since then, IoT has taken off from simple RFID tags to an ecosystem and industry that by 2020 will cannibalize, create, or displace five trillion out of one hundred trillion global GDP dollars, or 6% of the world GDP.
IoT evolved from machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, i.e., machines connecting to each other via a network without human interaction. M2M refers to connecting a device to the cloud, managing it and collecting data.Taking M2M to the next level, IoT is a sensor network of billions of smart devices that connect people, systems and other applications to collect and share data. As its foundation, M2M offers the connectivity that enables IoT.
In a typical IoT system, a sensor may collect information and route to a control center where a decision is made and a corresponding command is sent back to an actuator in response to that sensed input.A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and is able to transfer data over a network. Increasingly, organizations in a variety of industries are using IoT to operate more efficiently, better understand customers to deliver enhanced customer service, improve decision-making and increase the value of the business.
The impact from IoTcan be seen on new revenue streams, reducing costs, reducing time to market, improving supply chain logistics, reducing production loss, increasing productivity, and cannibalization of old business models, to name a few.
Key IoT Use Cases:
- Industrial and manufacturing (energy savings, security, throughput increase through real-time demand, safety system such as thermal sensing, pressure sensing, gas leak, predictive maintenance)
- Consumer (smart home gadgetry – irrigation, lock, lights, thermostats, security; wearables – health and movement trackers, smart clothing/wearables, pets – location)
- Retail, financial, marketing (Target advertising – locating known or potential customers by proximity, asset tracking, insurance risk measurement of drivers, beaconing – proximity sensing customers)
- Healthcare (in-home patient care, dementia and elderly care and tracking, hospital equipment and supply asset tracking, patient fall indicators, pharmaceutical tracking and security)
- Transportation and logistics (fleet tracking and location awareness, railcar identification and tracking, preventive maintenance of vehicles on road)
- Agriculture and environment (To improve yield – smart irrigation and fertilization techniques, drones based land survey, robotic farming, volcanic and fault line monitoring for predictive disasters, preventive maintenance on remote farming equipment via manufacturer)
- Energy (hazardous analysis of nuclear facility, smart electric meters in citywide deployment to monitor energy usage and demand, real-time blade adjustments as a function of weather on remote wind turbines)
- Smart city (Pollution control and regulatory analysis through environmental sensing, Microclimate weather predictions using citywide sensor networks, Efficiency gains and improved costs through waste management service on demand, Improved traffic flow and fuel economy through smart traffic light control and patterning, Energy efficiency of city lighting on demand, Smart snow plowing based on real-time road demand, weather conditions, and nearby plows, Smart irrigation of parks and public spaces, depending on weather and current usage, Smart cameras to watch for crime and real-time automated AMBER Alerts, Smart parking lots to automatically find best space parking on demand, Bridge, street, and infrastructure wear and usage monitors to improve longevity and service)
- Government and military (Terror threat analysis through IoT device pattern analysis and beacons, Swarm sensors through drones, Sensor bombs deployed on the battlefield to form sensor networks to monitor threats, Government asset tracking systems, Real-time military personal tracking and location services, Synthetic sensors to monitor hostile environments, Water level monitoring to measure dam and flood containment)
Altiostar Open virtualized RAN (Open vRAN) helps deployment of IoT
The volume and variety of mobile traffic continues to grow at incredible rates, driven primarily by smartphones, video consumption, and new types of connected devices (IoT). At the same time, communication service providers (CSPs) are under pressure to add and retain customers, offer differentiated services, and maintain superior quality of experience (QoE) in a fiercely competitive mobile services market where average revenue per user (ARPU) is in decline. CSPs not only need to invest in the network to meet rising capacity demands, but they also need to find operational cost savings and develop new sources of revenue to preserve profit margins.
Today, cellular network operators are at a crossroads. 2G, 3G and most of 4G networks were built on proprietary hardware; when a new site or an upgrade was required, network operators deployed dedicated infrastructure. This was a fixed-function device; it used specialized hardware to perform a function, and could not be repurposed. They are expensive, and as the performance of x86 and ARM processors has evolved, they are difficult to justify as single-function devices. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) transfers network capabilities from proprietary devices and dedicated hardware to virtualized software running on general-purpose (“white box”) servers. This gives mobile operators more flexible and less costly ways to expand their core networks, moving functions off of dedicated appliances and onto general-purpose, open platforms that are much easier to manage and have a much lower TCO. To scale up a network site, simply add more general-purpose resources.
As CSPs are under pressure to keep up with capacity demands and launch differentiated offerings in a highly competitive mobile services market, scalable solutions provided by open vRAN is the only alternative to traditional distributed RAN. Open vRAN leverages standard server hardware that cost-effectively scales up or down processing, memory, and I/O resources with demand and infuses the RAN with capacity for application intelligence to significantly improve service quality and reliability.
Open vRAN enables CSPs to cost-effectively scale capacity to meet rising traffic demands on 4G LTE networks today and gain the flexibility, agility, and scalability needed for 5G networks in the future. As billions of IoT devices are connected to the network with applications requiring ultra reliable Low Latency (urLLC), the processing needs to be pushed to the edge for these applications. This becomes important for ensuring applications react in real-time to edge devices.
In addition to this, using databases in the cloud enables the state of the Iot devices to be preserved. This becomes especially important when the frequency of messages may be different based on the application being deployed. Using an Network Function Virtualization (NFV) with scalable ephemeral or perpetual storage will help operators deal with the explosion of connection states they need to preserve for the IoT device. A baseband pre-provisioned for a certain capacity at the bottom of the device will not be scalable. Altiostar products support open standards and works with scalable COTS hardware and scalable virtualization platforms to support edge processing.
Altiostar Open vRAN solution is a pioneering software-defined LTE eNB and 5G gNB which improves performance, reduces costs, and simplifies infrastructure expansion while improving the customer experience.