IoT: How Good are Our Sensors?

The internet has revolutionized our world.

The IoT is evolving to become one of the most promising and important topics in the world of technology.

It is found by market researchers that more than 20 billion of our devices are connected. Right from our smartphones, smartwatches and several other devices that we use in our day to day lives, are powered by sensors. These sensors play a vital role and they monitor our air quality, health status, home security, and are most widely used in industrial IoT.

Defining sensors

Before jumping into depths about IoT and sensing, let us take a look at what are sensors. In general terms, a sensor is a tool capable of detecting environmental changes. A sensor alone is useless, but it plays an important role if we make use of it in an electronic device. A sensor can measure and transform an electrical signal into a physical process such as pressure, temperature, and so on.

With smart technology, we can get any job done with our voice command. With the help of Alexa, we can directly connect with the delivery person at our doorstep, dim the lights on our command and what not. But the real challenge lies in the fact of how we are taking these technologies for granted.

Sensors and IoT

Our IoT devices are only as great as the data collected by their sensors. An IoT system generally has innumerable small embedded sensors that are capable of collecting and transmitting data across a wide range of devices. This information is provided live and is extremely precise, which allows businesses to clearly see where they should make improvements and changes to their processes and products.

This is where the real question arises- how good are our sensors?

What is right about the sensor technology?

Performance and system integration are two main problems faced by sensor technology in IoT in the present time. But, the sensor technology has proven itself by overcoming these challenges. For example, in the wake of harsh conditions, sensors should be robust and solid. The software which tracks temperature, liquids, and gases, sound, and vibrations, or light, may be subjected to possible physical harm, creating a weak spot in IoT’s presumed holistic framework. But our sensors are much more resilient than before with the introduction of effective sensing materials, especially with different nanomaterials.

Another necessity for efficient utility is the longevity of IoT sensors, even though we are already using a wide range of sensors for personal fields and industries. The use of such technology is almost universal, right from chemical sensors to image or proximity sensors. The next task is to integrate the sensors into a unified system.

Advantage of the sensors

The biggest benefit sensors presently have, is their rapidly diminishing cost in terms of implementation. The average price of sensors for the Internet of Things systems went down moreover half from $1.30 to 60 cents from the year 2004 to 2014 and is projected to go as down as 38 cents by the year 2020. The lower price of these sensors implies that more could be loaded in an IoT system, maximizing the quantity and quality of big data from the analysis process.

With the growing introduction of IoT products, the amount of IoT App development companies is expected to increase in unison, with a greater volume of sensor designers resulting in increased innovation and competition. For example, the declining size of sensors allows smoother incorporation into current systems, which means that organizations do not need to spend much energy to incorporate these new features.

The areas of obstacles

The sensor technology also has certain hurdles. The naturally running sensor systems must be protected. Data privacy and security should be the two main concerns that should be ensured while using sensors. A hacked device will be disastrous for the whole network for the future IoT infrastructures such as transportation. While the IoT’s great strength lies in the diversity of technologies and sensor types, this also permits a wide range of cyberattacks. In addition to these, embedded devices that are produced in mass could enable a single violation to be duplicated quickly across several devices. Sensor systems are liable for emulating the features of other devices with the capability to upgrade the software to ensure changes that could be done to improve combat and performance increasingly complex cyber-attacks.

IoT sensor networks will also increase internet usage demand. Current internet services focus on video, email, and other business and personal uses at high speed. IoT and sensors will still need solutions that are of low-bandwidth. Companies providing high-speed device solutions could potentially give solutions and/or push the Internet providers to offer sensor and IoT-fit solutions.

About the Author

Prashant Gurav is problem solver and a project manager, responsible for managing large scale project teams comprising of full stack developers solving complex technological challenges. Adept with Amazon, Azure and Google Cloud & infra platforms. Experience of working with 10+ Backend + Front End technologies. Evangelist for lean methodologies and continuous improvement of process, people and technology.

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