A brief overview of IoT

IoT (Internet of Things) is a computing concept that describes a future where every day physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices. In a world where just about anything can be connected and communicate in an intelligent fashion, the physical world is becoming one big information system.


IoT usually use RFID as the method of communication, although it also may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes. Internet of Everything (IoE) seems to be more frequently used by Qualcomm and Cisco. On the other hand, IoT is more likely a mainstream term. At this moment, both terms didn’t made much distinction between one another.

How does it works?

What is Internet of Thing (IoT)? How it works? For example a door access control system, it uses facial recognition to unlock the door. In the morning when workers come back to the work place, their face scanned and unlock the door, the system then send signal to the cloud with an assigned IPV6 address, therefore HR department can based on their time attendance record for payroll, the door-access-system. The management on the other end, can based on the generated data for appraisal, this in turn reduce the manual managerial work for supervisor. It benefits the HR from manual collect punch card in the end of the month, and also save workers from the hassle of carry the traditional RFID card with them every day. With integration between the access control and the HR system, we makes it possible to detach the HR department physically from the workplace, whether the HR staff can be worked from home or via shared-services provider, we can centralize control in a remote location. This is especially more efficient for company which has more than one factory location.

With integration between the access control and the HR system, we makes it possible to detach the HR department physically from the workplace, whether the HR staff can be worked from home or via shared-services provider, we can centralize control in a remote location. This is especially more efficient for company which has more than one factory location.


Motivation and key drivers

Implementing IoT is definitely for the interest of a better society. The rationale lies in the question of we are living in a dynamic world where things move so fast, how we cope with that. IoT will revolutionize the life we live, it change the way we do things in the day-to-day activities, and for example household appliances can be automated to deliver without human intervention. This concept turns into a renaissance, it increases the productivity of human being with the facility of IoT connected devices. We will be in the transition to a new society, where human can be the creator of unlimited creativity, we focus in the development of various IoT gadget and devices set to drive up the productivity. While conventional point-of-view afraid of Machine to machine (M2M) is going to take over human job, and increases the unemployment rate. “(M2M) is a broad label that can be used to describe any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans. While M2M is indeed intelligent to perform the programmed-task, but we know what machine automation is lacking, it is still far from human consciousness to produce cognitive intelligence and emotions. Expert with optimistic point-of-view believe machines and computers cannot totally replace human insight, M2M is indeed creating more opportunity for human work force. At this point of time, we can see there is still long way to go to fully integrate fifth generation language, every IoT devices eventually need engineer to code the algorithm into the program. Machine can’t just runs on its own, in order for things to get really “smart”, this definitely needs more creative human collaboration.

Once the company embark on this direction, the R&D team will get more learning opportunities, designing a better sensor and choosing the best suitable connector. There will be more opportunity to expand the product line such as predictive maintenance sensor, it warns electrician department in a factory about the machine’s consumable part is going to worn out, thus preventive maintenance can be auto schedule.



How IoT relates to big data and analytics?

“Information consists of data, but data is not necessarily information. Also, wisdom is knowledge, which in turn is information, which in turn is data, but, for example, knowledge is not necessarily wisdom. So wisdom is a subset of knowledge, which is a subset of information, which is a subset of data.”

IoT reach out for things to monitor things, observe things to provide intelligence value, and facilitate users in massive data analytic. The concept of digital factory is a hype, on a fingertip, employees are able to drill down the time-based performance trend. For example, the daily clock in-out surely generate a huge amount of big data to the cloud. Massive data must be organized in a way (perhaps graphical chart) to provide informative presentation such as the absenteeism, or when is the estimated time of arrival of the truck based of the driver’s clock-out time. If user know how thing is going, how thing is feeling or their parameters and where things are, then they can better manage things. But here comes another challenging question, why does not the surveillance camera cannot perform the same job? The answer is eye judgment sometimes fails for accuracy, it is costly to allocate manpower to sit in front of the monitor and key in the clock-in time. With the system hooked up into the network, the data is automatically generated without fail.

“Big data analytics is the process of examining large data sets containing a variety of data types –i.e., big data – to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful business information. The analytical findings can lead to more effective marketing, new revenue opportunities, better customer service, improved operational efficiency, competitive advantages over rival organizations and other business benefits.”

By sorting out the data, it provide more insight by analyzing a higher volume and variety of data types from more sources than ever before, by digging deeper into user information and behavior it enable marketing personalized based on individual preferences, gain faster insight by performing real-time analysis of user’s information to deliver offers at the point of decision.


What would be the challenges when implementing the IoT?

  • Data quality, the collected-data isn’t meet a desired standard, it happens a lot to the real world projects, where some desired data is not be able to be collected. To overcome this problem, BI (Business Intelligence) Consultant need to work hard in requirements gathering, more research on what attributes are critical to the client’s business.
  • Data analysis is not as simple as thought, M2M is going to generate a massive amount of data, but with appropriate analytic to process the data to information does need a lot of expertise cost. Data mining is a technique to undermine the pattern in such massive amount of data, the challenge is how to store, analyze, predict and utilize the data being generated and collated.
  • Cost of buying sensors to install on the thing, the cost comprises of installation, maintenance, connectivity, and power.
  • Networks aren’t ubiquitous, the problem is interconnected networks aren’t available every corner in the world. In city area, we found ease of access to wireless networks, but not on outskirts city especially places with the population rate is low.
  • Security concern, the network segmentation need to be taken into account during implementation, especially when it comes to IoT for business and it involves sensitive data that can’t be expose to the outside world, network engineer need to isolate the network segment of the IoT device into a suitable subnet.
  • The sensor definitely need to go through a lot of improvise as underlying problems are yet to be discovered, there are numerous connection type invented such as NFC, iBeacon, infrared, Bluetooth, etc. Each has different limitation and its advantages, and it depends on the environment and interference, it is necessary to go through plenty of trial-and-error stages when during the implementation of IoT, cost is a burden for business.
  • Security is another concern, a security breach is any incident that results in unauthorized access of data by bypassing their underlying security mechanisms. The access control system sure generates a big amount of data, and the data is sensitive to closely affect the profit and loss of a business. The consequences of the security breach for any web provider will be the loss of revenue, damage to the reputation of the organization confidence, etc. In order to reduce overall risk, we can take the following methods to improve the level of network security for web operators, such as perimeter layer protection (Network Address Translation), provide secure website via HTTPS.



Use cases

Traditional warehouse management model is hardly cope with the increasing complexity of a warehouse. With RFID tag attached to items, company can avoid human resources wastage in locating the missing item. Managing a warehouse isn’t easy, human mistake is unavoidable at all time, if items can be locate by using coordinate or location code, it is surely does more effective in warehousing. To execute the smart warehouse vision, ERP must be modified so they can interface with and monitor IoT sensor-based technology, along with a host of multiple separate manufacturing, logistics, procurement, procurement, order, and other systems that must be integrated into a centralized system. The objective of implementing the IoT integrate with warehouse is to automate the operation, reduce losses and thefts in the storage.  Insurance company also can collaborate with Facial ID access control reseller, with client who implement Facial ID technology in their warehouse system, the insurance premium can be cheaper.

Another proposed integration process is the conjoint use of a label barcode. It starts with the shipping item, the shipper will assign a unique ID to the RFID tag and stick it on the shipping item, and tag’s ID generated via the cloud (which linked to the backend ERP servers of a courier company). The ID links to the information such as shipper, consignee, tax, item description, etc. The barcode label will be scanned by courier driver at the time of pick up, the scanner sends via mobile network to notify the logistic department that there is this collection time, the logistic planner therefore know the volume of today’s shipment, so resources planning can be more accurate. Consignee receive SMS notification there is such incoming shipment, so he/ she knows when to prepare for receiving. Every gateway was installed a RFID reader to detect where is the latest location code of the shipping item. The benefit that the courier service provider gained by the use of Big Data is using the increasingly vast amounts of data generated by customers’ devices to learn about their activities and preferences, so niche marketing can tailor to fit into the individual market.