Sensors are at the remote end of the IoT stack. Appropriate sensors are deployed depending upon the monitoring need. Sensors have built in communication capabilities to connect to the network.
Geospatial Sensors - Report their location to the network, allowing the data to be linked to location (geospatial information). For example, a vehicle can report its location and other information to update the network on travel times, weather and other information.
Environmental Sensors - Report in situ data, enabling remote monitoring of systems and processes or early detection of severe weather events. Wave sensors in the ocean monitor and report on wave and storm activity.
Biosensors - such as smart watches, activity bands and rings, along with emerging implantable devices monitor and report status of humans and animals. They enable remote monitoring by either humans or machines, providing early detection of potential health concerns.
Equipment sensors - Embedded in standalone machinery, or as part of larger integrated systems and processes. Sensors detect and remediate issues to prevent equipment losses or maintain process/production quality and efficiencies.
The network enables sensors to transmit data to the computing platform. The network consists of both short range and long-range communication protocols.
Short Range: For short range communications, low power technologies such as Bluetooth and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) allow sensors to communicate between themselves and with the long-range network.
Long Range: Communication of data over longer ranges occurs either via cell services or non-cellular networks such as Z-Wave or Wi-Fi. New 5th generation (5G) cellular networks bring faster speeds, lower latency and the ability to connect more devices such as phones or sensors.
The computing platform performs multiple tasks, ranging from managing communications to analyzing data and either making autonomous decisions or alerting operators of situations requiring their intervention.
These platforms can be either located in dedicated data centers or as cloud services provided by third parties such as Amazon Web Services. The platforms perform low level processes such as communications and device management, but also provide sophisticated services such as application enablement, analytics and decisioning.