Introduction to IoT

Internet of Things


Most of our focus from the past 20 years has been basically on applications on Internet of People.  Whatever it may, it is all about us, that is people.  But things are not people. A lot more can happen on things than people.  We will have to just stay tuned to see the fact that how the things around us would get connected.  I got to come across one statement from John Chambers, the Former CEO of CISCO, that there will be 500 billion things that will get connected by the end of 2024 which means that 100 times the number of people on the planet.

                  I often wonder about the beauty of things unlike people, they can be put anywhere like inside the stomach as a pill, deep inside the coal mine or middle of the desert.  All these might not be possible by people but proven to make them happen by things.  Another point to be added up on to that is that Things can tell us more than people.  The main mechanism that people use to tell applications(give an input) anything is a keyboard, and most applications use some type of form to collect simple amounts of data from individuals. But Things are not restricted to one in particular, they have many more sensors; a cell phone has nearly 14-15 sensors including a GPS and a radiation detector. Industrial Things like wind turbines, gene sequencers or high-speed inserters can easily have more than 100 sensors.

              Not only that Things tell a lot, they do talk a lot constantly too.    Most of the data from IoT applications comes from either encouraging us to buy something or making it part of the hiring process. In short, people don’t enter data frequently into an e-commerce, HR, purchasing, ERP application. On the other hand, a phase measurement unit can send data 65 times per second; a high-speed inserter can send data once every two seconds; and many more devices can transmit and send data much quicker than people which is why I feel things are more advanced than that of people.   In addition to all the above, I can strongly say that Things can be programmed whereas people can’t.

              There can be question that why is that we would have to use software built for Internet of People work for the Internet of Things.  But ideally, there is a lot of opportunity to build new software for the machine, new products to connect these things, pretty new software to collect the data, learn from it and finally new business models for companies that build machines and those that use them.

Simply put this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.  This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.  As I mentioned, if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT.  The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected device, that’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion).  The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also sometimes include people).  The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

We are moving from a simple living to a smart living which is the biggest innovation of the times. From the time, we will be waking up to all the routine things we will be doing and finally when we will go to sleep everything will be smartly done. We feel like the most relaxed person whether you are at our home or at the office when we will be able to control everything with your super intelligent gadgets.

All these seems to be so interesting for me and I would like to know practically how all these work which is why I have taken this course.  Moreover, doing a project on my own is something got me really excited so that I can investigate and spend a lot of time in doing the same.

Domain that I am interested in 

There are various applications of IoT in the day-to-day life as discussed by the Professor earlier in the first class.  Below figure depicts the extent of the application being used.

IOT 2.png

            At its most basic, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected physical objects embedded with sensors. IoT allows these devices to communicate, analyze and share data about the physical world around us via networks and cloud-based software platforms.

              I would like to extend my investigation and perform a project on either Home appliances which are considered to be the most important part in our day-to-day life or Retail where in we see IoT applications on retail everyday wherever we go.  Below is the pictorial representation of how IoT had its importance in our past,  present and near future.  The trends and predictions were estimated last year and I hope IoT has satisfied all those were expected without any remarks in the year 2016.  Hopefully, the same would be continued and be successful even more than that of the last year this year 2017.


In the case of RETAIL, the “things” can include RFID inventory tracking chips, traditional in-store infrared foot-traffic counters, cellular and Wi-Fi tracking systems, digital signage, a kiosk, or even a customer’s mobile device.  With IoT, we can now understand the context (the time and the place of the customer) to identify when we are certain the customer needs help or an incentive to purchase, and we can respond proactively.

Retail IoT applications

Key applications of IoT for retailers include supply chain, connected consumer and smart-store applications. The below are few areas where retailers are taking advantage of IoT:

  • One could simply pay for the entire cart from his mobile phone and there is no need to queue up at the cash counter. There has to be some random checks to make sure people stay honest and such a system is already prevalent at some of the major retail outlets in Switzerland.
    • Unlocks the smart trolley by pairing their smart phone and opening the App. Saves the frantic rush to find a right size coin from the pocket.
    • Has a bar code scanner which shows more information about the product, such as its origin country, any associates recipes or ongoing personalized offers. Since it is attached to mobile phone, it could be highly customized to offer special incentives to loyal customers.
    • Has an auxiliary charger, just in case I am running low on the battery.
    •  Predictive equipment maintenance is used for managing energy, predicting equipment failure or detecting other issues. For example, every grocery store has a lot of complex equipment – most people recognize refrigeration units. When these units are instrumented with sensors, we can predict maintenance issues that might affect power consumption for savings or monitor temperature fluctuations to ensure food safety.
    •  Moving merchandise more efficiently is one of the goals of smart transportation applications in retail, and IoT can come into play with the maintenance of transport, tracking and route optimization. We know many retailers have been using GPS to track and route trucks in the last couple of years. With IoT, we are able to understand to a much higher degree of accuracy how close a pallet of merchandise is to a given store.


    •  Increasingly, the connected consumer is having an impact on brick-and-mortar locations. Retailers understand that customers are able to check in-store pricing and local inventory levels from their mobile devices. Imagine if we could make a customized best-price offer or provide location-based services right in the store. What if we could target our high-value, loyal customers with concierge services? In the past, it was accepted as the norm that we would send mass promotions to customers with the expectation that some acceptable percentage might be interested in that promotion. With IoT, we can now understand the context (the time and the place of the customer) to identify when we are certain the customer needs help or an incentive to purchase, and we can respond proactively.


      This technology enables devices to alert apps and websites where people landed before when the user approaches certain physical location. Then, the retailer can push messages for promoting or sharing contextual content with the user.  Just imagine going to a shopping mall and receiving automatic emails from vendors near you.

      Basically, beacon technology allows you to send promotions, coupons and more stuff the people, when by your store, to their mobile phones. With more creativity, planning, and strategy, you could build a lovely loyalty program for recurrent customers based on their shopping history or send specific content to people when they are in front of a shelf.

    Customer mapping

    Nowadays, stores are hiring marketing research firms that hire a “mystery shopper” to manually track the amount of people walking by certain areas. If we compare this practice with IoT solutions, it seems expensive and primitive. Locating sensors in different places will let you extract insights like:

    • How many people are walking in specific hours, weeks and months
    • The most popular areas people pass by
    • Where people stop to see merchandise

    And so on. At the end we can get actionable insights for merchandising smarter decisions. Now retailers can use heat maps for visualizing the hottest areas where customers walk by and stay.

    Customer tracking

    In each blog post we highlight the relevance of connecting things. This is not an exception. You could deliver very tailored marketing campaigns by connecting purchase history, customer behavior at physical stores, and online behavior. At the end, you will identify information you would have never consider otherwise and know who is visiting your store — name, likes and average purchase — to deliver a highly personalized customer service.

 Future of IoT in Retail:

In business overall, the biggest challenge with the Internet of Things is the rapid evolution of the scope and variety of the technologies that can be used in connected ecosystems, says Mitchell, noting that it can be hard to “future-proof” investments when change is ongoing.

In retail specifically, the biggest immediate hurdle for companies to overcome is how to manage, analyze and act on the reams of data pouring in from all of the connected devices. The differentiation with IoT will come from a retailer’s ability to sense, understand and act on IoT data with analytics. It won’t be in the technology, the devices or the IoT plumbing. To take advantage of this new promising area, retailers should focus on IoT applications that better serve customers and create value.

IoT Kits/hardware that you are getting and any adventures:


After the first class, I was really overwhelmed on getting to know that we had to do a project that we are interested in.  With all that positive vibes, I have browsed through the links provided by you and have placed order for the same.  I’ve placed an order for Raspberry Pi 3 kit and IoT kit on Thursday(very late infact), with only one confidence that I have Amazon Prime Account, and would end up in fast delivery.  I received an email on Saturday that my order is ready for pick up and I checked out-door for any packages but din’t find any.  Thereby checked in the mail room, but din’t find any. I waited for a day and then there was a Security gentle man who knocked the door and asked if I had ordered anything from Amazon as the box was placed in front of the main door from 2 days.  Finally, I got to receive it and opened with happiness that my IoT kit is ready 😀


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