Collaboration over the 'Internet of Things'
Sept. 28, 2015
by Mark Ollig

“Putting IoT to work.”

This was the theme for the first IOTSWC (Internet of Things Solutions World Congress) event, which took place recently in Barcelona, Spain.

Information technology leaders shared their knowledge and solutions with industry and businesses from around the world, during three days of conferences and presentations.

The spotlight was centered on the latest IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, which were discussed in talks given by 120 speakers.

The Internet is evolving into a massive network; in a few years’ time, it will be linked with billions of new IoT smart devices and sensors: the “Things” making up the Internet of Things.

In 1999, Neil Gross summed it up best when he said, “In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin. It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations.”

Providing these “sensations,” in my humble opinion, will be billions of IoT “gadgets,” which are small, electronic components with a computer program, and wireless connectivity to the Internet.

These IoT devices/sensors have the capability for receiving and transmitting data, monitoring and controlling an attached device, and storing information it acquires in a data server on the Internet or “inside the cloud.”

IoT devices/sensors have the potential to provide us with information about every device in our home.

These devices are being used in business, healthcare, industry, municipalities, education, government, and other settings.

Examples of common IoT devices include “smart outlets,” allowing remote control of electrical devices and appliances within a home or business via an app on a phone or computing device.

IoT remotely-controls “smart thermostats” and lighting fixtures in a home or business via the user’s remote commands.

There are even IoT “smart flower pots,” with sensors monitoring the condition of the soil and plant; they automatically water and provide nutrients to the plant per your settings.

You can remotely access this device (flower pot), and get reports about the plant’s condition, soil and room temperature, remaining water and nutrient resources, and more.

I wonder what my grandmother (who loved her plants and garden) would have thought of this.

Look for IoT smart devices to be commonly built into future electronic devices, house-hold appliances, cars, and yes, even our coffee and flower pots.

I foresee collections of IoT devices evolving into a massive “information gathering system-of-systems” operating over the Internet.

Of course, what happens if (when) these IoT devices are accessible by future AI (artificial intelligence) systems embedded within the Internet?

Do you recall the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and hearing the HAL 9000 AI computer saying; “I’m sorry Dave; I cannot do that.”

Once again, I digress.

Nearly 90 technology companies participated during the IOTSWC event.

Intel, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Vodafone, and Hewlett Packard, were just some of the more recognizable companies represented at this year’s event.

Approximately 83 breakout conferences took place discussing the pros and cons of deploying IoT technology for use by healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, business, commercial, and industrial facilities.

An IBM video showed the installation of over 1,000 wireless IoT sensor devices being placed in office rooms, and onto electronic and environmental systems inside an 11 story building, thus creating a “smart building.”

These pre-programmed IoT devices monitored each room’s temperature, lighting, and security; they could even determine the number of people in a given area.

This smart building’s IoT sensors also observed utility usage; such as the heating, venting, air-conditioning, and electrical systems.

The information being collected by was transmitted to a central database via the Internet. The data is then analyzed in order to make informed decisions for improving the operation of the various functions and environments inside the building.

IoT devices are being tested for monitoring and adjusting the processes within the machines and tools used in assembly factories.

The IOTSWC event showcased experimentation platforms where real-world situations using IoT technologies were presented.

Track and Trace was one of the featured showcases.

This showcase demonstrated how using IoT can improve manufacturing efficiency, along with maintaining the quality of the parts assembly operation during the construction of a passenger plane on the factory floor.

The power tools used in the factory were Wi-Fi enabled, and could be controlled via a smart IoT sensor/device receiving instructions being issued from a central database.

In one example, an IoT device, using the analytical software it accesses from the database, precisely measures and reports on the individual amount of pressure being exerted on each of the thousands of screws and bolts used to join specific parts of the plane.

Every IoT device coordinates its specific location, identity, and condition of the machine/tool it is connected to, with the database.

These devices receive the data needed for instructing the mechanical tools (such as riveting guns) on the correct amount of force/torque to be used for various rivets, and for tightening screws on a vertical stabilizer and an aircraft window.

If a mechanical tool does not function correctly, it could be quickly powered down in order to prevent accidents.

Interconnection of the power tools with the IoT devices was managed by National Instruments, while TechMahindra was responsible for the database software application programming.

Cisco coordinated the location identification feature for the IoT devices.

It was hoped the showcase presentations would fuel IoT research and development opportunities.

According to a March 2015 Dimensional Research global survey, 70 percent of IoT technology and business investors said they would make better, and more meaningful decisions by using IoT data collection.

Over 4,500 visitors from 53 countries attended this year’s IOTSWC, which is partnered with the Industrial Internet Consortium.

Visit The Internet of Things Solutions World Congress website at: http://tinyurl.com/bytes-iots.

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