Internet of Things

At a glance

Generally speaking, the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a system of networked things. These things can be devices, machines, sensors or entire systems.

Technical Basics

The Internet of Things uses wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile phones to allow a wide variety of devices to communicate wirelessly with each other. Even wired devices can be part of an IoT. Many scenarios also require networked devices not only to be able to communicate with each other, but also to send and receive data over the Internet, e.g. to use services available online, store data in the cloud or retrieve data from a database available online.

Automation with IoT

One of the main applications of the networked devices is the automation of various processes. The devices communicate with each other in such a way that human intervention is no longer necessarily required to control certain processes. As a rule, there is also an additional interface through which humans can intervene in the system, e.g. via an app for a smartphone or via a web interface.

Application areas

The Internet of Things is used for both private and commercial purposes. In the private environment, one example is the smart home: networked devices here range from wirelessly controlled light bulbs to voice assistants and smart door locks. The Internet of Things enables private users to control many different aspects of their home via smartphone or have them controlled automatically. Examples:

  • A smart thermostat can dynamically adapt the heating behaviour in the home using geofencing and weather data.
  • The brightness and colour of the lighting in the house is automatically adjusted depending on the time of day.
M2M Communication
Independent communication between machines is an important prerequisite for automated production plants, for example. Many scenarios in Industry 4.0 are based on machines communicating with each other in order to coordinate work steps and optimize processes. This can increase efficiency in production and logistics. IoT or IIot (Industrial Internet of Things) provides the technical basis for networking individual devices and sensors.

Smart Factory
A Smart Factory uses IoT and many related technologies such as Big Data to automate and optimize entire production chains. This advanced automation makes it possible to produce even the smallest batch sizes at low cost: All systems work flexibly and are largely self-organizing - it makes little difference whether a machine is equipped for a single piece or for a large series, since steps such as setting, measuring or tool change are carried out independently by the devices. In a Smart Factory, people still mainly perform tasks such as the (virtual) design of the products or the construction and monitoring of the systems.

Further examples
  • Smart City
  • Smart Building
  • Wearables
  • Connected Cars