The Internet of Things (IoT) is an area that is growing rapidly. It links devices of all kinds to the Internet for a broad set of reasons including: data collection, data analysis, system analysis, wide scale control, data recording, system recording, and a variety of other tasks. In fact, almost all areas the UNISON RTOS is used in could be considered part of the IoT in some way.
The basic architecture of the IoT is shown in the figure below. Devices are connected, sometimes through intermediate devices, to the Internet and then to the back end cloud for data processing and storage.
The transfer of information over the Internet for storage and analysis has been done for many years. There is nothing really new in this other than the fact that the data collection is growing exponentially as is the cloud storage and analysis, which in turn is rendering huge savings in multiple areas. Now this entire approach is called “The Internet of Things”.
To help understand the IoT from an application point of view, we try to break the IoT down into several areas. Because the boundaries are not cleanly drawn, you will see spillover from one area into another. For example, Machine to Machine communications is a subset, but it overlaps with both the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and with the Consumer Internet of Things. The technology being used may be the same, but the applications are all quite unique. In a similar way, soft radio design for Machine to Machine communications is a subset of Machine to Machine communications and yet is a small subset of the IoT.
The Consumer Internet of Things is one of two main applications areas of the IoT. The Consumer Internet of Things includes the areas of:
- Home Automation
- Wearable and Portable Designs
- Automobile Transportation
The Consumer Internet of Things is the area receiving the most press and is most visible as people see the impact on our daily lives and imagine the huge improvements in our lives which will soon materialize. In contrast, the IIoT is generally known to business people and discussed in terms of specific applications to make business and government more efficient.
Here we will talk about the IoT and the IIoT with all consumer oriented applications discussed as part of the Internet of Things. The subsections of both of these broader application areas are discussed in this section. Other sections such Machine to Machine communications, the Mobile Internet of Things and Medical Systems will be discussed in separate sections as well because they all cut across both consumer and industrial applications.
Machine to Machine Communications (M2M)
Historically, there was only communications to the back end servers. This communication was often at some distance and often the communications was through a satellite radio, other dedicated lower frequency radio or the cell system. This type of system has been termed machine to machine communications or M2M. Today, many systems have M2M capabilities running through the cellular network.
Examples of M2M systems that have been very successful include the following:
- ● Asset track of mobile equipment (satellite and cellular)
- ● Oil well monitoring
- ● Remote data collection (cellular and satellite)
- ● Traffic monitoring and control systems
Machine to machine communications is really a technology approach used within all areas of the IoT. Some description of Machine to Machine communications and the actual design of Soft Radio systems - a subset of M2M are discussed as applications of the overall IoT.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
The IIoT has the same architecture of the IoT. The difference is that the protocols used to talk to machines may be different and the applications are all industrial focused. Some examples of these systems are:
- ● Machine control of traditional, installed CNC and Lathes
- ● Process monitoring
- ● Process control
- ● Lighting management
- ● Industrial energy management
- ● Industrial robot control
- ● Employee safety and monitoring systems
- ● Training systems
- ● Industrial data analysis
By automating the data collection in industrial environments, more efficient means to accomplish the same thing can be achieved. For example, alternate methods of excavation can be compared for the most efficient approach or the noise generated by a construction site can be monitored and compliance with local bylaws can be enforced.
For more details, click here and see how the UNISON and Remedy tools help building Industrial Internet of Things systems. There are separate pages on all the various Industiral Internet of Things areas.
Consumer Internet of Things
The applications in this area include Consumer Internet of Things applications that you would see around your home. These applications provide the following services.
- ● Heating and cooling systems (HVAC)
- ● Security systems and access control
- ● Entertainment systems
- ● Appliances
- ● Lighting systems
- ● Cleaning and maintenance systems
- ● Computer and information systems
- ● Wearables
- ● Sports equipment
- ● Health and medical devices
- ● Travel systems
- ● Camera and video systems
- ● and many more.
These devices require a broad range of sensors. Support for these sensors in the UNISON OS often off the shelf. Remedy tools support rapid development and debugging so prototypes can be done quickly and easily. This area is addressed with a packaging of the UNISON RTOS called ConsumerOS which has all the necessary components to build consumer applications. Note that although automobiles fit into this catagory, the Mobile Internet of Things, which overlaps both the Consumer and Industrial areas, is more suitable for this application.
There is separate pages for Home Automation, Wearables and Portable Devices which really cover the Consumer IoT applications, excluding mobile vehicles.
Mobile Internet of Things
The mobile Internet of Things primarily deals with vehicles and often this involves Machine to Machine communications to connect to the cloud but also utilizes many other sensors and buses to collect the information that is necessary to control the vehicle. As we see in the news every day, self driving cars are rapidly becoming a reality, and it is this sensor information with connections to the cloud that these vehicles will rely upon.
RoweBots has packaged the UNISON RTOS into a configuration called VehicleOS. This subset of UNISON is intended to provide all the various features that users need for vehicle application development. Some of these applications are:
- ● Body, steering and braking measurement and control
- ● Large engine control
- ● Infotainment systems
- ● Green light and fuel economy systems
- ● Lighting control
- ● Trailer systems
- ● Safety and operational logging systems
- ● Mapping and navigation systems
- ● Traffic and travel optimization
- ● Camera and video systems
- ● Train safety systems
- ● and many more.
The Mobile Internet of Things is discussed in this section under Transportation. The UNISON RTOS in the VehicleOS configuration is ideally suited to your mobile Internet of Things application.
Medical Internet of Things
The Medical Internet of Things or Medical Products area is another example of a set of applications that cut across both consumer and industrial. In the consumer part of this space, home health care is an obvious consumer application with our aging populations. To contrast with this, infusion pumps are clearly something that are used in a hospital like setting. Both are medical products and share certification; however, one type of design requiring a consumer flavor while the second is clearly geared towards an industrial solution. The UNISON RTOS MedicalOS packaging has been developed to precisely target these applications.
Applications for the Medical Internet of Things using MedicalOS include the following:
- Home health care systems which measure vital signs of all types.
- Vital signs measurement during exercise or various activities.
- Infusion pumps
- Glasses to help blind people see
- Fall and gait detection
- Smart walkers and wheelchairs
- and many more.
Medical products or the Medical Internet of Things are discussed in a separate page in the applications section.
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