Internet of things ( IOT) is a system that allows devices to communicate directly with each other without human intervention. A key feature of the Internet of Things is that each device must be uniquely identifiable or addressable. 

Your devices talk to each other, not to plot against you like in a science fiction movie, but rather to help you out. Efficiency can be gained when devices communicate their status without human intervention

IOT will be everywhere in your life and will be a game changer. New experiences business models are born.

IOT and Industry 4.0

In industrial manufacturing for example in supply chain, robotics where driven by computers but they were not yet connected to each other

Machine to machine technologies are enabling companies to optimize their business, take burdens off supply chains and relay more informative data in real time. For example you have Swim. Swim is improving real-time synchronization across multiple systems, reduce project implementation costs, optimizing efficiency using machine learning insights from full resolution edge data and making insights available via real-time APIs.

A Belgian example is Allthingstalk. You can Connect your devices to the network of your choice. In the blink of an eye, you’ll be able to extract, visualize and use the collected data. A mass of information will be given to you, ready to get some of the new gold?

IOT in the consumer market

IOT use machine to machine technologies and deliver convenience to consumers in a new way, it interacts with you through day time by inserting connectivity into your everyday life.

Some examples

Arion guides users to improve their running technique sustainably, helping to reduce the risk of injury and improve performance so they can stay active, and run longer, safer, and further.

Cido offers flexible access management for apartment buildings without physical keys or transponders. Instead, barcodes are used, which are either already present (e.g. on parcels for shipment tracking) or can be generated on demand to integrate them into documents or ID cards. Deliverers scan the barcode of a parcel at the building’s main entrance and Cido turns the shipment itself into a temporary key.

The Xenxo S-Ring is the wearable offering you not only an SOS-call function but a full range of functionalities. It takes calls directly and talk privately, stores your important files, changes music right off the finger, makes payments on the go, keeps track of the fitness goals, make quick calls to favourite contacts, reminds if you forget your phone, call for help without alerting the stranger (SOS), access doors with Bluetooth key, and more.

5 areas of IOT

1. Sensing: Smartphone touch, hear, see all sensors exist for the 5 senses. There is no huge research to do but still to test and capture data. 

2. Communication: 5 G real time of event triggered autonomy and energy saving of the devices. 

3. Securing:  on different levels on the devices, all standard network protection are needed for the different devices. How can we see if a device is hacked?  By comparing data of encircling devices. Visibility of monitoring

4. Understanding  data to analyze behavior

5. predictive scenario by using sensors to predict and use it for Machine learning. 

The roadmap: Convert IOT product ideas in to reality

Start by product idea.

1. Design thinking.

First of all people want to use your created product. The product is based on needs therefor think about the pain/ gain of the consumer. But you can also improve products on the new way devices are connected. This can offer new ways off living and new opportunities for business.

Design thinking is an infinitive loop: 

  • What do you want to observe;
  • What do you want to know?

If you have identify this, you can determine how your solution is implementable. Only if you know this, you can chose your sensors and communication technology

2. Prototyping: technical mockup.

IOT exist of objects or hardware, like sensors, processors, and communications modules. Your device needs these types of hardware to determine what’s going on and to communicate the information. At this stage you have to 

  • develop your prototyping board ( C++, Java, Phyton,…). 
  • develop a mockup app ( IOS/ Android) interacts with you object. 
  • protect the standard box and give the standard box to the end user, observe and learn how they use it ( lean start up)

Design exists of 

  • Mechanical design: shape , volume, surfaces. You can test your first assembly with customers. Make your first prototype in a fablab.
  • Electronic design: chose the components and the PCB Design: electronic board PCB 
  • Software design: embedded software exploration, software engineering


3. Test and pivot.  Afterwards you can engineer.

Don’t forget to check the autonomy of the battery. Make a BOM: bill off material. This are the costs off all materials, you’ve used for all different components and computing power. Test the components on long term availability. Chose the main CPU (central processing unit).

4. Production: 

If you have to choose a factory, chose that one with the wright assembling. They need to have a good quality control on the material and the process. Anyway you are the owner of the electronics. If necesary you can take it away from the factory.  Let make it somewhere else. 
Final assembling can be a real danger: test an final packaging in the factory. Within this step you have to be sure that everything has good quality. Put everything together – also the software- and let it run a test. This is a production step, but it is an important one! Finally step is to prepare the production lines so you know you can go in mass production.

As conclusion remember: keep it simple.

A good device is simple and useful. Have a look on Allthingstalk. Or visit Make it , a startup studio with a mini factory , they have machines and engineers to bring your hardware project a life.

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