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The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of everyday objects — physical things embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity enabling data exchange.
IOT Sensor Types
IoT sensor devices can be attached to practically anything nowadays, but every IoT use case requires a specific type of sensor. Here are some examples of the most used IoT sensor types and their use cases.
Temperature sensors play a critical role in many IoT applications. For example, maintaining the right temperature is crucial for many manufacturing processes. Monitoring temperature remotely with IoT sensors enables predictive maintenance and reduces expensive downtime. Another use case for temperature sensors is cold chain monitoring in food and pharmaceutical industries.
In waste management, for example, level sensors enable trash bins to be emptied only when needed. Another use case for level sensors is measuring tank levels (e.g. fuel) in liquid asset inventory.
Measuring acceleration can be useful in many use cases, such as monitoring your vehicles. Accelerometer sensors can also be useful in detecting excess vibration of a manufacturing machine or unauthorized movement of an object that should be stationary (anti-theft protection).
Measuring humidity is essential for many manufacturing processes including pharmaceutical manufacture and paper making. Humidity sensors can also be used in greenhouse monitoring.
GPS trackers are used to track an asset’s geographical position. They can be used in vehicles or shipping containers, for example.
What is IOT Connectivity?
Connectivity is the piece of the IoT puzzle which enables the “things” to communicate and exchange data.
The connection can be achieved via wired or wireless network. However, wired network is unsuitable for most IoT applications because its range is only as far as the wire can reach. Most IoT applications require distance.
Connectivity Options for IoT
There are many connectivity options for IoT, such as cellular, satellite, WiFi, low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN), and Bluetooth.
When selecting a connectivity option, there are many factors to take into consideration: range (maximum distance over which data can be sent), bandwidth (how much data can be sent), power consumption (how long the battery will last), costs, reliability, and availability, for example.
What Is Data Processing?
In order to make sense of the massive amount of data our IoT sensors collect, we need to process it. Wikipedia explains data processing as “the collection and manipulation of items of data to produce meaningful information.” In other words, the purpose of data processing is to convert raw data to something useful. Something the end user can react to.
We should also take notice of the difference between data and information. Data refers to raw, unorganized facts, and it usually is fairly useless until it is processed. Once the data is processed, it is called information.
Data is the input, or raw material, of data processing. The output of data processing is information. The output can be presented in different forms, such as plain text files, charts, spreadsheets, or images.
What Is a User Interface?
The user interface consists of the features by which a user interacts with a computer system. This includes screens, pages, buttons, icons, forms, etc. The most obvious examples of user interfaces are software and applications on computers and smartphones.
A user interface doesn’t necessarily require a screen, however. For example, a TV remote has a user interface that consists of various buttons, and devices such as Amazon Echo can be controlled with voice commands.
A term that relates closely to the user interface is the user experience (UX).
The difference between the two is that, while UI has to do with the things a user actually sees and interacts with, UX is the overall experience a user has with a product. It includes the website, application, packaging of hardware, installation, etc. UX might not even be about your UI design.