In this day and age, we rely on devices and their connectivity to the Internet of Things (IoT) to help us automate tasks and save time. This is an adjustment that we have been pulled into over the last few years with technology advancing at a rapid pace. 

There has been an improvement in business processes through smart monitoring and the designing of advanced systems of interconnected devices, which means that IoT has found its way into the sectors of business and technology.

Common connectivity options available

  • Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • Zigbee
  • Cellular
  • High Data Rate Cellular
  • LPWAN Cellular
  • LPWAN Managed Networks.

Ethernet is easy to implement, cheap, high bandwidth. Ethernet is another example of the most common IoT connectivity technologies. 

Wi-Fi extends Ethernet points’ benefits while providing the flexibility of connecting your device in the locale that it’s required without routing cables to a network switch. 

Bluetooth is a common option with low-power connected devices. This is a limited connection, being linked only for the duration of time that the devices have been linked.  Bluetooth range is roughly within the 3-5m range, and a secondary device is required to bridge the data to an internet connection. 

Like Bluetooth, Zigbee needs a bridge to pass device data to the internet. The range for Zigbee is considerably longer than Bluetooth, and power consumption is higher, making this a popular choice with smart home products like light bulbs and ceiling fans.

Cellular connectivity through mobile phone networks supplies an alternative set of IoT connectivity technologies because of the large-scale infrastructure it utilises, and requires a high level of control and management directly into the IoT system operator’s hands instead of relying on on-site connectivity management. This makes cellular an ideal fit for IoT connectivity when you know that your devices will work in areas across the country with widespread cellular coverage. 

Connectivity options such as 3G, 4G, and the newer 5G, cellular connections provide wide coverage multi-MBps data connections that are well suited to streaming real-time video or other data-intensive applications.

Connectivity of IoT

LPWAN Cellular uses low data rate methods with corresponding low power requirements being utilised, extending the traditional high data rate cellular services. NB-IoT and Cat-M are increasingly popular LPWAN technologies. They are considered ideal for balancing the large-scale connection requirements of a widely distributed IoT system, combined with the low bandwidth requirements usually needed with IoT devices and low power requirements. 

Local self-managed IoT wireless networks or LPWAN Managed Networks are a more common example of IoT connectivity technologies that can be a suitable option when deploying wireless devices with your own select access points and gateways in locations that have little existing infrastructure. IoT-focused LPWAN network provinces are made to operate at lower bandwidths, draw less power, and work in a fault-tolerant way with re-routed mesh network topologies in place.

With all this in mind, you may be asking the question “how does this affect my everyday life?” In essence, it means that the objects that are connected to each other through the web are communicating with our phones and devices, and becoming more specialised, unique and intelligent while adapting to our learnt needs and demands.

IoT every day

Some examples of this can be found in:

Healthcare – Within the health and hospital industry, IoT will aid the development of applications in wearable technologies that help reduce cost, and improve safety and quality inpatient care. 

‘Based on data-capturing sensors and RFID chips, IoT solutions will enable advanced control of hospital resources, process optimisation inpatient care and smart asset management. Also outside the hospital, IoT in health care will increase significantly’ Nordic – IT.

For example, when a prescription is running low, an appointment will be made with your physician through automatic notification. In this way, doctors will also be kept informed about when and how often their patients are taking their medicine. Additionally, with the help of IoT, patients will be able to monitor health issues with indications such as their sugar levels and blood pressure monitored remotely.

IoT energy consumption

Groceries – Smart refrigerators are in operation where you can connect to the appliance and check its contents. In the future, smart refrigerators will notify you when you are running low on groceries and send a grocery list to your smartphone.  Reminders will be able to be pushed to your phone to make sure you will not forget items and have to return to the store a second time. Stores will be able to add reminders to these based on your prior buying preferences.

Energy Consumption – In South Africa, we are constantly striving to reduce the strain on our power grid as well as be kind to our environment. Connected appliances that are known for high-energy consumption will adjust based on dynamic price signals to lower your electric bill. The lighting and thermostats in your house will use learning to store your personal habits and create the optimal setting – based on your daily lifestyle, i.e. adjusting your household temperature to the most ambient setting for you before you return home. Additionally, these smart devices will also sense when no one is home and minimise power needs to reduce costs and waste.

matrix digital

Wearable Technology – This has likely gotten the most attention in the Internet of Things discussion. Many wearable products (eg. smart watches, fitness devices) are already in their second or third generation, offering more ergonomic designs and integrations with other different types of systems. From monitoring sleeping patterns and hearing aids to tracking activity and progress during workouts, the devices we use have become significantly more sophisticated. They also have the option to connect to our social media accounts and track data that can be used to analyse various behaviours and help us improve our lives.

With a wide variety of IoT applications being improved and designed, it won’t be long before their usage is commonplace in many people’s lives. These technological trends connecting us all have something in common – reliable internet service. If you are looking for an ISP near you who will provide trustworthy service to connect you to your digital work, why not get in touch with us?

Sources: IOTforall, TodayWorldPro, ThingSquare.