Imagine driving through a toll point where a smart toll system scans your vehicle’s number plate, correlates it with credit accounts stored in its database, and automatically sends a message to your bank to deduct toll charges from your credit account.
You don’t have to imagine because these systems exist; it’s called E-Tag or E-Toll, and they work under a concept referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). Gone are the days when only computers and mobile phones could be connected to the internet. Every smart device with an on and off switch can now be connected to the internet. The new rule of this technological era is that “Anything that can be connected, will be connected”.
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IoT, therefore, in its simplest definition, is the interconnection of devices over the internet. Interconnection enables these devices to interoperate, and allow human-device interaction; for example, a smart fridge that keeps counts of its stock and notify when the stock runs out. IoT concept has been on Tech discussions for decades now, the first internet-connected device was exhibited at a conference in 1989—it was a toaster.
When handling an IoT related course, as a student you might be given an IoT homework or a research paper assignment that requires you to integrate IoT devices with real-world applications and problems. As a result, there are standards and protocols offered by IEEE, IETF, and ITU to aid the rapid progression of IoT. Some of these protocols are as follows.
This protocol targets Wide Area Network; it provides connectivity to battery-powered devices in a mobile and low-cost bi-communication environment. It is characterized by low power consumption and can support millions of small devices. Its transfer rate is between 1Kbps to 50kbps.
Sigfoxc is a wide-range protocol that uses ISM radio bands to broadcast data over a confined spectrum data to and from connected devices. With a transfer rate of utmost 1Kbps and 50 microwatts power consumption, Sigfoxc provides an effective and ultra-low-power consumptive wireless technology.
Radio Frequency Identification is a technology that uses radio waves to identify or track objects (For example, a library book). An RFID tag is embedded in the object of interest; the tag continuously emits radio waves that are picked by an RFID reader within range. RFID mainly operates in three frequency spectrums:
IPv6 Low-power Wireless Personal Area Network (6LowPAN), an adaptation of IPv6 over IEEE802.15.4 links, is a network layer encapsulation protocol that operates in 2.4Ghz frequency band with a 250Kbps transfer rate. 6LoWPAN through its encapsulation and header compression processes enables transmission of IPv6 packets over IEEE 802.15.4 based networks (For example, a sensor network). It resulted from the idea that even the smallest devices with low power, limited functional capabilities, and low coverage range, should be incorporated in IoT.
Zigbee is a packet-based protocol with a short-range coverage of 100 meters’ maximum, provides connectivity between sensors and control systems. It offers an affordable, power-efficient solution for remote management of smart devices and automated systems.
Raspberry, a small singular-circuit computer developed by Raspberry PI Foundation, is widely used to educate students on programming skills, develop hardware projects and build home automation. As a result, it is normal for students to handle Raspberry assignments, Raspberry micro-controller programming projects and Raspberry research papers. Raspberry runs on Linux; operating in an open-source environment. Some of the common Raspberry components you can use to develop your projects are; Pi-hole, Pi-wheels, and Pi-camera.
In this section, we are carrying out a basic project that involves programming a Micro-controller using Raspberry Pi. The project aims at blinking an LED. Raspberry and Python are used in this project.
Have one of your ‘ground’ pin act as ‘Negative’ on the battery end, the GPIO pin will act as a ‘Positive’ (we are using pin 18 in this tutorial). While the Raspberry PI is off, follow the following steps:
Now it is time to program the chip to activate the LED. On Raspberry’s terminal, create a new file by typing Nano LED.py.
Type the following code
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Source: Tutorials Point
On your Arduino IDE software, create a new file by clicking on New.Source: Tutorials Point
Source: Tutorials Point
pinMode (2, OUTPUT)—This code function initializes an Arduino pin as either Input or Output.
digitalWrite (2, HIGH)—This code commands an Arduino Output pin to be either High (5 volts) or Low (0 volts).
And boom! Your LED should turn on and off.
As IoT grows to be a fully-fledged technology, the amount of data generated and exchanged by millions of devices grows each period. These IoT data and devices need storage and management solutions that are convenient and offer desired security and scalable features. Cloud is among those solutions!
IoT cloud infrastructure is a concept that enables remote storage and access to IoT data. Google, through its Cloud IoT Core, for example, provides an efficient and secure platform to remotely manage IoT devices and data.
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Data transmission in an IoT network risk being intercepted or misdirected by network intruders; where else there is also a risk of unauthorized access and manipulation of data stored.
Redaction or anonymization of stored sensitive data ensures that only the owner of the data can read or manipulate the data. Employing data separation mechanisms and digital signature while transmitting data mitigates traffic interception/sniffing.
Intrusion into an IoT network normally happens through a compromised or rogue node. An intruder either compromises an actively participating node in the network or introduces an outsider rogue node.
To mitigate network intrusion issues, devices participating in an IoT network need to be authenticated before they send or receive data in the network. Two-factor authentications (2FA) and provision of security certificates are some of the mitigating practices.
In case of an intrusion, data transmitted back and forth between IoT devices are vulnerable to interception and manipulation. A wormhole for example intercepts and channels the data into oblivion.
To mitigate this kind of risk, sending nodes needs to encrypt data before transport. A transport encryption mechanism like TLS is commonly deployed.
Ultimately, the creation and deployment of regular firmware updates to IoT devices and applications is the core best practice in the enhancement of IoT security.
It is estimated that about 60% of the world population will be living in urban areas by 2030. Resource scarcity and congestion will be the most undesired consequences for urban migration. With IoT, every aspect of the cities can be conveniently managed. For example; E-toll and smart parking that automatically charges toll users or manage packing, smart traffic management, and smart water dispensers that can efficiently and equally disburse water.
With smart farming; essential insights such as light, humidity, temperature, and soil moisture can be established and monitored without a need for physical interaction. Livestock’s location and health can also be monitored through IoT. The figure below shows a cow with a smart wearable.
Logistics—Track and Trace is what defines IoT in Logistics. With IoT, freight transportation is made easy and secured. Products are easily tracked through sensors fitted into them. A product can easily be noted if it was opened while on freight. Stakeholders track products from warehouse doorsteps to their destinations.
Amazon Go—Amazon is among the companies that have fully actualized the concept of IoT in Business. With its Amazon Go; IoT sensors have partly replaced store attendants. As a shopper, you walk into an Amazon Go store, open your phone’s Amazon Go app and turn it to a scanning device, then walk in to shop. Sensors in the store track products you pick, automatically adding these products to your virtual shopping cart. As you walk out of the store, your Amazon account is automatically charged, and you are sent a receipt.