Internet of Things Technologies

The "Internet of Things" covers a huge scope of industries and applications. Below we take a look at some of the technologies that are driving the topic, from popular communication options to the different software and data brokerage platforms managing the data exhaust from these systems.

Communication:

connectivity-diagram

communication-iot1
rfid RFIDISO/IEC Standards list

Description:
"A radio-frequency identification system uses tags, or labels attached to the objects to be identified. Two-way radio transmitter-receivers called interrogators or readers send a signal to the tag and read its response. The readers generally transmit their observations to a computer system running RFID software or RFID middleware.

RFID tags can be either passive, active or battery assisted passive. An active tag has an on-board battery and periodically transmits its ID signal. A battery assisted passive (BAP) has a small battery on board and is activated when in the presence of a RFID reader."
- Overview video

Frequency: 120–150 kHz (LF), 13.56 MHz (HF), 433 MHz (UHF), 865-868 MHz (Europe)902-928 MHz (North America) UHF, 2450-5800 MHz (microwave), 3.1–10 GHz (microwave)
Range: 10cm to 200m
Examples: Road tolls, Building Access, Inventory
enocean EnOcean - ISO/IEC 14543-3-10 (Alliance)

Description:
"The EnOcean technology is an energy harvesting wireless technology used primarily in building automation systems; but is also applied to other applications in industry, transportation, logistics and smart homes.

Modules based on EnOcean technology combine micro energy converters with ultra low power electronics and enable wireless communications between batteryless wireless sensors, switches, controllers and gateways."
- Overview Video

Frequency: 315 MHz, 868 MHz, 902 MHz
Range: 300m Outdoor, 30m Indoors
Examples: Wireless switches, sensors and controls
nfc-phone NFC - ISO/IEC 18092 and ISO/IEC 14443-2,3,4,  JIS X6319-4

Description:
"NFC is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 10 cm or less. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz on ISO/IEC 18000-3 air interface and at rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 424 kbit/s.

NFC always involves an initiator and a target; the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries. NFC peer-to-peer communication is possible, provided both devices are powered"

Frequency: 13.56 MHz
Range: < 0.2 m
Examples: Smart Wallets/Cards, Action Tags, Access Control 
bluetooth Bluetooth (SIG)

Description:
"Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances (using short-wavelength radio transmissions in the ISM band from 2400–2480 MHz) from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks (PANs) with high levels of security."

- Overview Video

Frequency: 2.4GHz
Range: 1-100m
Examples: Hands-free headsets, key dongles, fitness trackers
 
wifi WiFi  (Alliance)

Description:
"Wi-Fi is a technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data wirelessly (using radio waves) over a computer network, including high-speed Internet connections. The Wi-Fi Alliance defines Wi-Fi as any "wireless local area network (WLAN) products that are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) 802.11 standards" 
- 802.11a/b/g/n/af, WiFi Direct, WPS
- Overview video

Frequency: 2.4 GHz, 3.6 GHz and 4.9/5.0 GHz bands.
Range: Common range is up to 100m but can be extended.
Applications: Routers, Tablets, etc
weightless-sig Weightless (SIG)

Description:
"Weightless is a proposed proprietary open wireless technology standard for exchanging data between a base station and thousands of machines around it using White space (wavelength radio transmissions in unoccupied TV transmission channels) with high levels of security."
- Overview video

Frequency: Varies with legislation (470 – 790MHz)
Range: Up to 10km
Data Rates: 1kbits/s to 10Mbits/s
Examples: Smart meters, traffic sensors, industrial monitoring
gsm GSM (Association)

Description:
"GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) is an open, digital cellular technology used for transmitting mobile voice and data services. 

Terrestrial GSM networks now cover more than 90% of the world’s population. GSM satellite roaming has also extended service access to areas where terrestrial coverage is not available."
- Overview video

Frequency: Europe: 900MHz & 1.8GHz, US: 1.9GHz & 850MHz, Full List can be found here.
Data Rate: 9.6 kbps
Examples: Cell phones, M2M, smart meter, asset tracking
Additional:

Backbone:

A few key components to an Internet of Things architecture. 
IPv4 and IPv6 Description:
"Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the latest revision of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet.

Every device on the Internet must be assigned an IP address in order to communicate with other devices. With the ever-increasing number of new devices being connected to the Internet, the need arose for more addresses than IPv4 is able to accommodate. IPv6 uses a 128-bit address, allowing 2128, or approximately 3.4×1038 addresses, or more than 7.9×1028 times as many as IPv4, which uses 32-bit addresses.' 
UDP
Description:
"The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is one of the core members of the Internet protocol suite (the set of network protocols used for the Internet). With UDP, computer applications can send messages, in this case referred to as datagrams, to other hosts on an Internet Protocol (IP) network without prior communications to set up special transmission channels or data paths."
TCP
Description:
"The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is intended for use as a highly reliable host-to-host protocol between hosts in packet-switched computer communication networks, and in interconnected systems of such networks."
6LoWPAN
Description:
"6LoWPAN is an acronym of IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks. The 6LoWPAN group has defined encapsulation and header compression mechanisms that allow IPv6 packets to be sent to and received from over IEEE 802.15.4 based networks."

Internet of Things Hardware:

wireless-soc
Wireless SoC (system on chip)

Manufactures like Gainspan, Wiznet, Nordic SemiconductorTI and others are creating self-contained, RF-certified module solutions that have TCP, UDP and IP on chip. These solutions include built-in security features, can reduce certification times and allow companies to add communication to any microcontroller-based (MCU-based) product with little RF expertise.
iot-prototype
Prototyping boards and platforms

From the Arduino to the Raspberry Pi to the new BeagleBone Black, there are a large number of community DIY and prototyping platforms available that are making its possible to create your own Internet of Things project.

You can see a directory of some of these prototyping hardware here.
From "Smart Dust" systems that can be embedded (and even ingested) all the way to the satellites driving an Interplanetary Internet system. The range of hardware devices that will drive an Internet of Things is huge and too broad to cover effectively in an overview article.

Software

riot-os Riot OS

Description:
"RIOT OS is an operating system for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It is based on a microkernel and designed for energy efficiency, hardware independent development, a high degree of modularity."
  • Support for 6LoWPAN, IPv6, RPL, TCP, and UDP
  • Built for maximum energy-efficiency and low resource requirements: Min RAM (~ 1.5kB) and Min ROM (~ 5kB)
  • Ability to operate on several platforms (Embedded devices and common PCs)
  • Standard programming in C or C++ and can run both 16 and 32-bit platforms 
thingsquare Thingsquare Mist

Description:
"Thingsquare Mist brings resilient wireless mesh networking and true Internet-connectivity to the Internet of Things. The Thingsquare Mist open source firmware is exceptionally lightweight, battle-proven, and works with multiple microcontrollers with a range of radios.

Thingsquare Mist typically runs on hardware with 64-256 kilobytes of flash and 16-32 kilobytes of RAM."
- View more Internet of Things software projects here.

Protocols

CoAP



Description:
"Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is a software protocol intended to be used in very simple electronics devices that allows them to communicate interactively over the Internet. It is particularly targeted for small low power sensors, switches, valves and similar components that need to be controlled or supervised remotely, through standard Internet networks.

CoAP is an application layer protocol that is intended for use in resource-constrained internet devices, such as WSN nodes. CoAP is designed to easily translate to HTTP for simplified integration with the web, while also meeting specialized requirements such as multicast support, very low overhead, and simplicity"
RESTful HTTP Description:
"Representational State Transfer (REST) is a style of software architecture for distributed systems such as the World Wide Web. REST has emerged as a predominant web API design model. "
MQTT 
Description:
"Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is an open message protocol for M2M communications that enables the transfer of telemetry-style data in the form of messages from pervasive devices, along high latency or constrained networks, to a server or small message broker." 
XMPP 
Description:
"The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is an open technology for real-time communication, which powers a wide range of applications including instant messaging, presence, multi-party chat, voice and video calls, collaboration, lightweight middleware, content syndication, and generalized routing of XML data." 
- View a complete list of Internet of Things Protocols.

Data Brokers / Cloud Services

thingworx ThingWorx

Description:
"The ThingWorx platform provides a complete application design, runtime, and intelligence environment - allowing organizations to rapidly create M2M applications and innovative solutions that unleash the value found at the intersection of people, systems, and intelligent connected Things." 
evrythng EVRYTHNG

Description:
The EVRYTHNG Engine provides high scale, industrial technology to create and serve millions of Active Digital Identities™ for a company’s products and other objects. These unique online profiles create a persistent, unique digital presence for any physical object on the Web. Think of a Facebook for Things™ where individual objects, just like people on social networks, have their own unique digital profiles that enable communications, apps and services." 
sense Sense

Description:
"Open.Sen.se an open platform for all those who want to imagine, prototype and test new Devices, Installations, Scenarios, Applications for this globally interconnected and immersive world. Designers, developers, tinkerers, students, hobbyists, R&D departments, artists, self quantifiers, dataviz maniacs, whatever your skills are, we tried to make Open.Sen.se easy to use and yet powerful for you. Needless to say Open.Sen.se is free.' 
- View a more comprehensive list of IoT Platforms.

Machine Learning

grok Grok Engine

Description:
"Grok is software that breaks this bottleneck with three unique capabilities: a high level of automation in analyzing streaming data, the ability to learn continuously from data, and the ability to drive action from the output of Grok's data models." 


Image Credits: RFID (CC xampl9), Enocean (CC foto@jens-braune.de), NFC (CC sam_churchill), Bluetooth (CC bfishadow), GSM (CC NightRStar)