The Internet of Things: Smart World

2010/06/01 Leturia Azkarate, Igor - Informatikaria eta ikertzaileaElhuyar Hizkuntza eta Teknologia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

The devices currently connected to the Internet network are mainly computers. Both the computer servers of the providers of websites and services, as well as the computers of users or mobile phones that can be considered computers. And their flow of information responds to the actions or demands of people. But more and more, other devices, as well as simple objects and things, will connect to the Internet to communicate with each other or with other computers and services. They will form a collective and global intelligence. There are many new uses that will allow, many of them unthinkable for the moment. Internet of things (the Internet of things) is what is known as the future of this new Internet.
Internet of Things: Towards a Smart World
01/06/2010 | Leturia Azkarate, Igor | Computer scientist and researcher
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There are already several devices that are not computers and that are connected to the Internet: sensors of weather conditions (temperature, pressure, wind speed...) that send information automatically to a server, webcams that are constantly being transmitted placed in different places, GPS devices that emit the location of taxis or buses to a central, traffic sensors... The services based on these applications take time between us.

But this type of devices are still not so much, it is estimated that the traffic generated by the machines without the help of people can be approximately 12% of the total Internet. But by developing the Internet of Things there will be many more objects or tools connected to the Internet than people.

Appliances connected to the internet

Logically, the following devices that will connect first to the Internet will be appliances. A practical example of the possibilities that this means is the optimization of electric consumption. Currently there are optimizers of electric consumption in the homes to put in place the washing machine, the dishwasher, etc. At night and intermittently, so if the appliances are connected to the Internet, the electric company will know how many appliances need to be put in place and can coordinate the commissioning orders. This allows for a global optimization. Another example is that by connecting televisions to the Internet you can obtain detailed information about the public. Or we could launch or turn off appliances, even outside.

Even connecting smaller devices to the Internet can get a lot of things. For example, the alarm clock can know when to wake up without telling us, connecting to our online agenda and knowing the traffic status. Or our shoes can automatically send to the driving program of our training how many kilometers and at what speed we have done every day.

Information of any object

However, the concept of the Internet of things goes beyond. Any object without electrical power occupies its place, even if it is more passive, by means of RFID. RFID means Radio Frequency IDentification, i.e., radiofrequency identification. This system is made up of RFID tags and RFID readers, which emit radio frequency signals and when they meet a nearby RFID label (a very small sticker with chips and antennas), it detects their identification number.

In the May 2006 issue, an article on RFID technology appeared in the journal Elhuyar Zientzia eta Teknologia. Among the possible uses mentioned there, in supermarkets we had to make the payment without emptying the cart, if all the articles in the supermarket have the label RFID or that the fridge will warn us when we are exhausted a product that we always have. Combining RFID technology with the Internet, many possibilities are opened. In the example of the refrigerator, for example, the refrigerator itself can make the purchase of what we lack on the internet.

In addition, there are already RFID readers on the market that can be acquired to connect to the home computer and that we can program to perform a specific action when detecting each label. So, for example, by placing a sticker on our children's backpack, we can schedule that when you get home, a notice is automatically sent to our work center email.

Concerns about privacy

Although the ability of the Internet of things is enormous, for it our devices and other things must be connected to it. In addition, they expand the information, in the end they inform us a lot about us. This information can only be used to provide us with the right services (protecting our privacy), but also for social control, advertising bombardment, etc. We have to try to make this Internet of Things that is being created not become a Big Brother.

However, in addition to improving our quality of life on a personal level, the Internet of Things can provide advances in society by leveraging the collective knowledge that is generated in it. The correct global treatment of all this information produced allows for a more accurate and better knowledge of the world and a more efficient organization and management of resources.

Leturia Azkarate, Igor
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Internet; Peripherals
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