The Internet of Things

Can you imagine being able to turn on the heating of your house from your mobile phone? Can you imagine a city where taxis broadcast their position in real-time? Can you imagine receiving a notification when someone knocks the door of your house when you aren’t home? Seeing him on real-time? Are you ready for the Internet of Things? 

Smart Objects

A smart object is an item equipped to interact with the physical world and communicate with the outside world and other smart objects. For example, a light sensor collects information from the environment and when it’s going dark, it orders the light-controller to switch on the lights and it also orders the window-controller to lower the binds. All of this devices are Smart Objects and they communicate between them in a Smart Grid.

Smarts Objects are equipped with a sensor or actuator, a microprocessor, a communication device and a power source. Moreover, technical aspects take into account such as power consumption and physical size, as well as  network mechanisms and structures had to be design.

Communication between Smart Objects

Smart Objects transmit information that they collect to other smart objects and they also receive information from other ones. Because of that, it is necessary to design network protocols, mechanisms and structures to allow an efficient communication between them taking power consumption and low-speed into account.

The current situation of smart objects is like some kind of islands where they communicate with an own protocol. Differents islands are interconnected by complex multi-protocol gateways. Although, Internet Protocol for Smart Protocols Alliance and IEEE working groups are currently standardizing protocols, architecture and mechanisms:

    • end-to-end IP-based architectures.
    • IPv6 Adress.
    • Low-power and Lossy Networks (LLNs) made of smart objects interconnected by unstable low-speed links.
    • Routing at the network layer (IP).
    • UDP (small packet headers, not packet control mechanisms) to send data in networks with smart objects like automation, temperature, sensors which may periodically report data.
    • TCP (high packet headers, packet control mechanisms) to send data to smart objects networks where is more important reliable delivery of data than high throughput.
    • Three models of connectivity:
      • Autonomous Smart Object Networks Model: internal smart object network without connection to the public Internet.
      • The Internet of Things: any Internet user will have access to the information provided by smart objects either directly accessing the device or by means of intermediate servers.
      • The Extended Internet: smart object networks partially or completely connected to the Internet with security protection.
    • Energy Management with Time-Synchronized Power-Saving Protocol (TSMP) . This protocol consists on constantly switching the physical radio frequency on which packets are sent and switch the radio off as often as possible.
    • Communications patterns divided into one-to-one communication, one-to-many communication and many-to-one communication.
    • Three different mechanisms to Physical Communication Standards divided by the range of physical signals:
      • IEEE 802.15.2: radio transmission mechanism for only a few meters.
      • IEEE 802.11: radio low-power transmission mechanism for serveral hundred meters.
      • PLC: wired transmission mechanism to send data over power lines. It has many uses ranging from long-range and it provision high-speed broadband.


Smart Object Networks applications cover a wide range of areas:

  • Smart Grids: the electric power grid will in the future be replaced by smarter components that talk to each other.
  • Industrial automation: automation of industrial processes by means of modern computer-assisted technology.

  • Smart Cities and Urban Networks: a large IP network interconnecting devices via various links for support these services like traffic management, speed control, vehicle tracking, emergency warning, education networks, biometric card systems, climate control, data collection and monitoring, social networking… 

  • Home Automation: multiple and diverse applications that include lighting control, security and access control, comfort, energy management, remote home management….

  • Building Automation: applications to save energy in buildings and provide critical functions such as fire emergency evacuation.

  • Structural health Monitoring: monitoring the conditions for a physical structure such as a bridge, tower, building or heavy machinery. 

  • Container Tracking: track the movement of containers. 

One thought on “The Internet of Things

  1. Pingback: The future in a post-PC era | Byteway

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