What skills are required on the IoT

Internet of Things (IoT)

The terms "Internet of Things", "Internet of Things (IoT)" or even "Internet of Everything (IoE)" are umbrella terms for the networking of all electronic devices and everyday objects that are supposed to communicate with one another.

Technical progress, the availability and spread of corresponding products on the market are important factors that explain an emerging trend.
It must be taken into account here that the technical possibilities with the concepts of virtualization, service and services in the cloud, miniaturization and network coverage with broadband Internet access have improved.
Today computers are much smaller, faster, more energy efficient and cheaper. Access to the Internet has also become much cheaper, faster and more available to more people.

IoT: objectives

"Internet of Things"? What is that supposed to be good for? In the private sphere, it's about making everyday life easier. In business, on the other hand, you want to digitize work and production processes and make them more efficient.

Definition: Things

In principle, a "thing" can be anything. As a rule, “things” refer to devices that have so much computing power that they can be connected to the Internet via a wired or wireless network. In contrast to classic computers, "Things" still only have a reduced hardware configuration.

  • no display
  • no or limited controls
  • low computing power
  • low storage capacity

With increasing miniaturization there are ever more powerful electronics that can be built into everything and thus become the Internet of Things. Nevertheless, when developing standards and products, special emphasis must be placed on ensuring that devices with scarce resources and low hardware requirements can also have access to the network.

Critical voice on IoT

Internet of Things means that the network (Internet) should become an environmental condition. No matter where you go or stand, access to the network (Internet) must be possible. As a result, sensors, actuators and any devices should be able to connect and interact with each other. The bond between man and machine / device becomes closer. Of course, this also increases dependency and fear of technology.
As with every digital innovation, hype goes hand in hand with exaggerated expectations. This is followed by the corresponding social acceptance only after the disappointment and the improvement.

IoT range of topics

  • standardization
  • Networking and communication
  • Architectures
  • security
  • power supply
  • Logs
  • Concepts
  • Applications

IoT: standardization

There is a lot of chaos when it comes to IoT standardization. It's no wonder either. Because there are countless systems and protocols that claim IoT capabilities. However, there is still no overall package that has caught on. To make matters worse, the urgently needed interoperability between devices from different manufacturers practically does not exist without any tinkering. Many products are incompatible with one another and are usually subject to company policy, licensing or trademark restrictions.
Many manufacturers rely on foreclosure and their own protocols to secure a place in the market, which makes networking with one another difficult and sometimes impossible. Because more protocols are constantly penetrating the market, consolidation is not foreseeable, at least in the short term.

IoT: networking and communication

Communication in the Internet of Things has to meet several requirements: It has to function as efficiently and reliably as possible over narrow bandwidths with unstable radio links.
In addition, communication must be secure (authentication and encryption) because available wireless connections can be expected to attack your infrastructure.

The connection of the sensors is a tricky topic: WLAN and classic mobile communications are not available everywhere, too expensive and often not reliable.

IoT: security

The Internet of Things and the progressive connection of all kinds of devices to the Internet also represents a new threat. With the Internet of Things, mini-computers with technology from 20 years ago are finding their way into washing machines, refrigerators, toothbrushes and vacuum cleaners.
You have to be aware that there will be security loopholes that will tempt hackers to smuggle in malicious code that will hold your hand to cool the refrigerator. Or you can only switch on your washing machine or brush your teeth only if you regularly pay an obolus to a cybercriminal.

Mutual authentication of the communication partners and the encryption of communication must be an integral part of the system architecture. In order to operate secure encryption processes in real time, more computing power is required, which in turn results in more powerful devices and higher energy consumption.

Concepts around the Internet of Things

  • Smart home
  • Smart grid
  • Smart city
  • Smart farming
  • Industry 4.0 (Smart Factory)
  • Smart Computing / Augmented Intelligence
  • Car-to-Car / Vehicle-to-Vehicle

Concept: Smart Home

Smart Home provides for the electronic networking of everyday objects with the independent exchange of information without human intervention. Smart home is in fact the implementation of the Internet of Things.

Concept: Smart Grid

Smart grid refers to an electricity network in which the producers, distributors and consumers of energy are networked and communicate with each other. The idea is to generate, transmit and distribute electrical energy as required.

Concept: Smart City

"Smart City" is a collective term for urban development concepts that make cities more efficient, technologically advanced, greener and more social.

Concept: Smart Farming

Smart farming is the digitization of agriculture and animal husbandry, in which agricultural machinery and robot systems are controlled with the help of sensors, GPS and digital technology.

Concept: Industry 4.0

With the keywords "Smart Factory", "Digital Factory", "Industrial IT" and "Industry 4.0", the social and technical developments of digitization flow into the productive world of work and industrial value creation.

Concept: Smart Computing / Augmented Intelligence

Smart Computing describes a technology field in which networked systems create an intelligent environment that supports people in everyday life. "Augmented Intelligence" describes the seamless integration of people, intelligent surroundings and the world of work. In principle, this is an overarching concept of where the Internet of Things is taking us.

Applications in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things extends to all areas of life. The focus is currently on the following applications:

  • Wearables
  • Smart Home (home automation)
  • Digital assistants
  • Connected cars

Application: wearables

Classically, wearables are fitness trackers and their extensions to smart watches (Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, Android Wear). In the future, maybe data glasses such as the Google Glass as well.

Application: Smart Home

Smart Home is a further development of home automation and provides for the electronic networking of everyday objects with the independent exchange of information without human intervention.

Application: digital assistants / assistance systems

The forerunners of digital assistants are navigation systems in cars that can give directions by voice output and take traffic information such as traffic jams, accidents, closures, etc. into account.
In smartphones, they are known as integrated voice assistants who can be asked questions or given instructions. In the smart home, it is usually the same voice assistants that can be operated via networked and interactive microphones or speakers.

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Apple Siri
  • Google Assistant
  • Microsoft Cortana
  • Sony Assistant

The next level is voice control as an alternative form of operating "things". This does not mean that networked devices have microphones, but that a digital assistant in the cloud controls the networked devices. For this purpose, the devices are linked to the cloud by the manufacturer.

Application: connected cars

Connected cars are about the exchange of information about the traffic situation and dangers between vehicles and the environment. The basic idea behind this is that drivers receive information about dangerous situations in road traffic at an early stage.

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