Placed on – 1 December 2020

Everything you always wanted to know about IoT

Everything you always wanted to know about IoT

Of course, you’ve heard of IoT, but now you really want to know what it is and how you can use it in your organization. And do you want to know how IoT data is secured and what you can do with it? In this blog, Henk Schwietert answers the frequently asked questions about IoT.

What is IoT?
Internet of Things, or IoT, describes the connection to the internet of several items, devices, machines or sensors. Organizations whose devices communicate with the Internet can collect data from these devices in databases and view the data in portals. This is a two-way communication: the device communicates data to the internet and vice versa. The IoT sensors collect all kinds of data: performance data, volumes, temperature, humidity, vibration, GPS and speed.

When was IoT invented?
Around 1985, a student at Carnegie Mellon University was responsible for collecting coins from a Coca-Cola vending machine. He connected the machine to the Internet and the machine started reporting the inventory and the temperature of newly loaded drinks. This machine was the first connected device. As the Internet started to gain some ground during the 1990s, IoT flourished. Initially, the Internet was used to connect various computers from universities whose users were doing research for the US military. Via the Internet, they could exchange files with each other. After that, the internet was opened up for non-military use. With the advent of browsers, people realized that they could do a lot more with the Internet, after which the use of the Internet exploded.

Where can IoT be used?
IoT can be applied in many places. It is already used successfully in many sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, industries and enterprises. For every object you can think of something valuable to collect about it. If the internet continues to be the main driver of information exchange between people and their assets, almost everything will eventually be connected.

Who owns the IoT data?
The company who owns the asset also owns the data from that asset, that’s how Evalan proceeds. We collect data on behalf of a company.

How is IoT secured?
It is notoriously difficult to secure IoT devices but it is really important and very much improved in recent years. When people first started creating IoT systems, security was not high on their agenda. They were not prepared for today’s security threats. This has affected the reputation of IoT. Now there are advanced tools and methods for securing devices on the Internet. There are three main principles. Device authentication is the first principle. During this authentication process, the identity of the device is verified to ensure that only authorized devices connect to a particular network, location or service. The second principle is data integrity. Data integrity is the protection of data when it is sent from the device to the cloud. It ensures that the stored data is exactly the same as the data originally collected from the device. Finally, data encryption is used to ensure that data is altered or deleted when someone tries to access the data without permission. The data can only be accessed with the correct encryption key. This key is unique for each device. The unique encryption key ensures that when one of the field devices is compromised, only that device is exposed to problems rather than the entire system.

Why is IoT important?
IoT enables many functions that allow you to save costs, improve performance and deliver new types of services and business. The collected data gives you a better understanding of what your systems do and enables companies to distribute their products more intelligently, for example by only offering maintenance and repair services when needed. It can also help save energy by turning off appliances when not in use. Many companies nowadays are switching to a data-driven approach. They no longer make decisions based on their own historical knowledge, but their decisions are based on accurate measurement data.

Why do companies choose IoT?
In recent years, we have seen a change in the rationale for an IoT implementation. Previously, companies only started implementing IoT when there was an easily understandable use case or a problem that needed to be solved. Now companies decide to collect data because it gives them valuable insights into their business. Two developments that caused this change are that electronics are becoming cheaper and better and the access to communication networks has improved. More and more reports show that IoT can help reduce costs, for example a report from McKinsey shows that predictive maintenance can help reduce maintenance costs of factory equipment by up to 40 percent. Instead of scheduling downtime or unnecessary maintenance visits to the machine site, or replacing parts that are still good, they can monitor the machines remotely and predict the performance of the machines. Ultimately, they improve their business with a data-driven approach. Compared to 15 years ago, the way we live our lives has changed dramatically due to IoT technology. As IoT becomes more widely accepted and improved, more businesses can benefit and grow from it. IoT adds value and ensures a future-proof business. Curious about the benefits of a data-driven organization? Click here.

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