IoT (Internet of Things) and cloud go hand in hand: we explain why and present an interesting case study. The example of a smart device capable of reducing consumption and optimizing energy efficiency also thanks to cloud processing on Aruba servers.
The acronym IoT ( Internet of Things ) commonly refers to the evolution in the use of the network, which allows objects normally unable to communicate with other devices and users to be enriched with “intelligent” functions.
Thanks to the implementation of artificial intelligence algorithms, devices belonging to the IoT world can even “make decisions” based on the instructions provided by the user or by the developers. In India, the term Internet of Things is often used – it is none other than the translation of IoT – to highlight how objects become intelligent (“smart”) thanks to new properties and functions (identification, connection, localization, ability to process data and ability to interact with the external environment). Furthermore, they find the network connection and the “intelligence” in the cloud useful and essential communication tools.
Thanks to the presence of one or more network interfaces and the firmware, the software specifically developed by the manufacturer and loaded into the IoT device, the latter can instantly share the collected data, make decisions based on the processing carried out on the cloud and become manageable without the user having to be physically on-site.
The IoT is a rapidly growing phenomenon in Italy and the world: according to the Internet of Things Observatory of the School of Management of the Milan Polytechnic, in 2017, the IoT market grew to reach the threshold of 3.7 billion euros with an increase of 32 % compared to 2016. There are many application areas for intelligent objects related to the IoT world:
Home automation refers to technologies that help improve the quality of life at home and, more generally, in the environments in which we move daily. IP video surveillance cameras, thermostats, doorbells, intercoms, lighting systems, electrical outlets, and wearable devices – only if “smart” – are just a few examples of IoT products with intrinsic and high added value. However, the possible fields of application are truly boundless:
- An intelligent refrigerator can detect the food stored in it, place an order with the shopkeeper if something is missing, or inform the user.
- An alarm clock can transform itself into an intelligent object capable of ringing earlier in case there should be more traffic on the roads than usual.
- A vase can alert the user when it is necessary to water the plants.
- Drug packaging can remind you when it’s time to take medicine; smart trainers can prepare a report of the daily sporting activity indicating average speeds, distances, and itineraries.
The adjective smart identifies those products that can communicate with each other and with the user’s devices (smartphones, smartwatches, smart bracelets,…), often capable of making decisions when certain events occur and based on previous programming ( or as established by artificial intelligence generally residing in the cloud ).
We talk about smart buildings to refer to the tools and measures that allow us to guarantee greater safety, stability, cost-effectiveness, energy optimization, and environmental protection in the construction and management of a building. Thanks to the Internet of Things, it is possible to implement an intelligent network of electronic devices designed to monitor and control the mechanical, electrical, lighting, and other systems in real-time.
Monitoring In The Industrial Field
The Internet of Things concept finds its natural application, of course, in the industrial field. Using sensors connected to the network makes it possible to monitor industrial processes, optimize production, understand the weak points and margins for improvement, and be constantly informed of critical or potentially dangerous situations based on the parameters collected.
The automotive market will be overwhelmed by the innovations that IoT objects bring with them. Cloud interfaces capable of processing incoming and outgoing data from sensors distributed in the medium and on the road are being studied. Self-driving cars will be able to communicate with other vehicles on the road and, in general, with the surrounding context.
Anyone who buys a smartwatch equipped with sensors capable of monitoring heart rate and other vital parameters already has a taste of smart health. However, smart health is, in general, the concept of IoT applied to medicine: technologically advanced bracelets and smartwatches can be used to collect data on the state of health of patients, anticipating critical situations before they can occur.
IoT devices can capture large volumes of telemetry data and transfer it to the cloud for storage or processing. By inserting these objects, for example, in machines used in various industry sectors, commerce and services, remote control, monitoring, diagnostics, marketing, and analysis functions can be obtained.
Payments Via Smartphone
A last concrete example of IoT devices is POS terminals and smartphones with NFC chips connected to the Internet. By simply touching the cash register or the payment terminal with your telephone, you can now authorize a payment in a contactless mode without reaching into your wallet to extract, for example, a credit card.
Everything takes place in the cloud, and the transaction is automatically authorized without the merchant knowing the details of the means used to settle the debt (credit card, debit card, PayPal,…): NFC, what it is, how it works, and for what it serves.
IoT: The Aruba Cloud And The Smart Domotics Example
Aruba Cloud provides customers with the essential tools for managing IoT devices remotely, assisting and orchestrating their operation, and enabling them to make decisions thanks to artificial intelligence algorithms. An example of success is Smart Domotics, an all-Italian company born to design, produce, and market made in Italy solutions for home automation and energy saving.
The mission of Smart Domotics is to offer innovative market solutions that combine comfort, technology, and simplicity, capable of being functional to energy saving for residential, corporate, or public administration users. Smart-Dom is an electronic device that can be installed non-invasively in the general electrical panel of a new or old building.
It carries out continuous monitoring of energy consumption and environmental parameters: it is a real solution for “energy efficiency 4.0,” which, thanks to monitoring, data acquisition, and archiving of these in the cloud, allows the user to analyze consumption and act accordingly to avoid waste.The device sends the data collected to Aruba’s cloud platform and displays it on an online control panel: the customer can thus check where the waste occurs and take action to reduce it.
Suffice it to say that Smart-Dom integrates an anti-detachment function of the meter (so as not to remain in the dark and not suffer inconvenience in the event of overloads); it can shift consumption to moments of greater electricity production in the case of buildings equipped with photovoltaic systems or based on renewables; it can communicate with the heat pumps to reduce consumption; can optimize domestic hot water production costs; has a smart thermostat feature; helps to obtain “three stars” based on what is indicated in the CEI 64-8 standard; allows you to turn on and off the air conditioning system remotely and much more.
Just as other connected objects do, a device like the one presented here by way of an example mainly plays the role of sensor and intelligent hub capable, in turn, of communicating with other devices. The actual “intelligence” is moved to the cloud: here – on remote servers provided by Aruba – the most demanding processing is carried out. This is the trait union between cloud and IoT: smart objects connected to the network are equipped with the necessary and sufficient computing power to collect data and receive instructions following the processing of the acquired data.
Data processing (sometimes you may have to deal with really massive quantities of data – the so-called big data -especially if coming from a vast array of sensors) is instead carried out in the cloud to extrapolate information from a mass of data often heterogeneous. In the case of Smart Domotics, the acquired data is managed automatically on the Aruba Cloud servers, and then the analysis results are presented to the user.
From a single web control panel, users can monitor, control and supervise energy consumption by possibly implementing corrective actions, cut fixed costs thanks also to the reduction of meter overloads, manage systems remotely, configure the receipt of notifications and alerts via email or SMS to check for any disservices, blockages or malfunctions. Smart-Dom is a project based on connectivity, a clear example of how the Internet of Things can simultaneously help develop profitable and eco-friendly ideas.
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