Science & Technology in Action

11th Edition

The Internet of Things


The topic of this lesson is the ‘Internet of Things’(IoT), also known as the ‘Internet of Everything’. The lesson describes the purpose of the IoT and the characteristics required by ‘things’ in order to operate effectively in that environment. The innovative EMC test platform is also described.

Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.

Lesson excerpt

How do the devices communicate? 
In order to communicate, IoT devices have to connect with each other. This is accomplished over some form of network. Up to now a remote device would usually send its data to a data centre for processing. This data centre would be located somewhere in the internet or, as we now refer to it, the cloud. In an IoT scenario the data is often stored and analysed locally, in other words, at the ‘edge’ of the cloud. This is extremely useful in situations that need a rapid local response. For example, if an ambulance is taking a seriously injured accident victim to hospital across a busy town or city, a camera could detect the flashing light on the ambulance and then send messages to the traffic lights in order to ensure that the ambulance has a clear route to its destination.

This mode of communicating, storing and processing the data at the edge of the cloud is called fog computing, fog networking or just fogging. As well as being effective, it is also very efficient because it means that a lot of data does not have to be routed through longer internet links where it might be delayed. Delay in a telecommunications link is known as latency and it is easy to imagine how critical a delay could be in the ambulance example above. In order to achieve the required rapid communication, the IoT devices are often interconnected in a mesh network.

Quiz questions

  1. All communications between IoT devices are transmitted across the cloud. false
  2. Latency is a measure of the frequency of a telecommunications signal. false
  3. Internet Protocol Version 4 will provide enough IP addresses for the future. false
  4. In a mesh network all devices are connected to each other. true
  5. A mesh topology is the only type of computer network architecture. false
  6. All devices connected to the IoT are sensors. true
  7. The fog is generally situated on the edge of the cloud. true
  8. WiFi or Bluetooth cannot be used in a domestic IoT. false
  9. Biosensors will be important to the provision of IoT fast response in critical health cases. true
  10. The INFINITE project called Bluelight is concerned with getting ambulances to hospital quickly. true