Explaining the four stages of Internet of Things infrastructures.


Copyright: verdict.co.uk – “The four stages of IoT development: How we get to a fully automated world”


The Internet of Things, or IoT, plays a huge part in automating the world. IoT refers to how different devices are connected via the web and are able influence their surroundings. Now, these devices are increasingly starting to be able to make decisions by themselves.

Driverless cars, self-operating factories and automatic health advice from fitness trackers are just three examples of how autonomous connected devices can transform society. The business implications of these innovations are huge. No wonder that GlobalData forecasts that the global IoT market will reach $1.1tn in revenue by 2024, up from $622bn in 2020.

So how did we get here? There are four key stages in the development of IoT infrastructures. Each stage is categorised by the level of intelligence of connected things. Today, we sit in stage three. However, we are slowly marching towards stage four. At which point, IoT will become pervasive and the digital landscape will look remarkably different.

Stage 1: Passive things

The first stage of an IoT infrastructure has to do with so-called passive things. Passive things can be identified by other devices, but can’t do much else. Also referred to as sensors, they are able to capture information. However, they lack the ability to communicate that information themselves. Particularly important in supply chain management, products can be identified and tracked through radio frequency identification tags. Other variables, such as temperature, can also be recorded. Examples of these sort of devices include fitness tracking devices which are able to record step counts or heart rate.

Stage 2: Active things

Passive things always require an active thing to communicate the information. This brings us to the second stage of an Iot infrastructure, which is when we introduce active things. Active things can exchange sensor data and intelligence with other devices. First collecting the data recorded by a passive thing, formatting it, and then sending it on via an internet gateway, either through wired and wireless, such as wifi, wide area networks.

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For example, a mobile payment system like Apple Pay can enable any device with Apply Pay software to make a transaction when placed near a near-field communication reader. Or for many wearable fitness devices, a smart phone is required to gather analysis and publish data on a network.

A low latency is required between the passive and active thing to ensure a quick response from the aware thing, vital in situations such as heart rate monitors in a hospital, or temperature control in a supply chain.[…]

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