The Four Key Technologies in the IoT Solutions

The four key technologies in the Internet of Things (IoT) are:

Identification and Tracking Technology

This includes technologies such as RFID systems, barcodes, and smart sensors. RFID systems, composed of an RFID reader and RFID tags, enable the identification, tracking, and tracing of devices. RFID systems are increasingly used in industries such as logistics, supply chain management, and healthcare service monitoring.


RFID systems provide real-time information about the involved devices, reducing manual costs, simplifying business processes, improving inventory accuracy, and enhancing operational efficiency. There is still significant potential for further development and application of RFID-based solutions. To further advance RFID technology, it can be combined with wireless sensor networks for real-time object tracking.


Emerging wireless smart sensor technologies, such as electromagnetic sensors, biosensors, outdoor sensors, sensor tags, standalone tags, and sensor devices, further facilitate the realization of industrial services. Integrating data from smart sensors with RFID data can create IoT applications that are more suitable for industrial environments.

Communication Technology

IIoT involves heterogeneous networks such as wireless sensor networks, wireless mesh networks, and wireless LANs. These networks facilitate the exchange of information in industrial IoT. Gateways play a role in enabling communication between various devices on the network, and they can also handle complex node communications on the network.


Different devices may have different Quality of Service (QoS) requirements, such as performance, energy efficiency, and security. Many devices may operate on batteries, making energy consumption reduction a prime concern. Industrial IoT also involves leveraging existing internet protocols and major communication protocols and standards such as RFID, NFC, IEEE 802.11 (WLAN), IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee), IEEE 802.15.1 (Bluetooth), multi-hop wireless sensor networks, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and traditional IP technologies like IP and IPv6.


Networking Technology

Wireless networks have various cross-layer protocols, such as wireless sensor networks or ad hoc networks (AHNs). Devices in industrial IoT often have different communication and computational capabilities, as well as varying QoS requirements, which may require modifications before being applied in industrial IoT.

In contrast, nodes in wireless sensor networks typically have similar hardware and network communication requirements, making modifications unnecessary. Additionally, industrial IoT leverages the internet for information exchange and data communication, while wireless sensor networks and AHNs may not require internet connectivity for communication.


Service Management

Industrial IoT service management refers to the effective management of high-quality IoT services to meet user or application needs. The OSGi platform is a good example that applies a dynamic Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) to support the deployment of intelligent services. The OSGi framework, as an efficient service deployment modular platform, is widely used in various environments such as mobile applications, plugins, and application servers.


In industrial IoT, service composition based on the OSGi platform can be achieved using Apache Felix iPoJo. Services can be categorized into primary and secondary services. In a service-oriented industrial IoT, the following steps can be followed to create and deploy services:


1) Develop a service composition platform.

2) Abstract the functionality and communication capabilities of devices.

3) Provide a set of common services.


Service identification management includes context management and object classification. Industrial IoT can also create a mirror for each real object in the network. Industrial IoT further has an architecture that is service-oriented and context-aware, where virtual and physical objects can communicate with each other.


Smart Grid

The power grid encompasses three fundamental functions: generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. Traditional power grids suffer from various inefficiencies, such as inefficient appliances, lack of intelligent technology, inefficient power routing and distribution, unreliable communication and monitoring, and the absence of energy storage mechanisms.

Additionally, power grids face challenges such as growing energy demands, reliability, security, integration of renewable energy sources, and aging infrastructure. To address these issues, the concept of a smart grid, based on information processing and communication technologies, has emerged, with industrial IoT playing a significant role. IIoT can greatly improve the efficiency and security of smart grids by providing smart devices or IoT devices (e.g., sensors, actuators, and smart meters) for monitoring, tracking, analyzing, and controlling energy consumption.


Intelligent Transportation

Industrial IoT is playing an increasingly important role in the transportation and logistics sectors. With more objects equipped with barcodes, RFID tags, or sensors, transportation and logistics companies can achieve real-time monitoring throughout the entire supply chain, from the point of origin to the final destination.


Moreover, IIoT holds promising solutions for the transformation of transportation systems and the automotive industry. IoT technologies can track the current location of vehicles, monitor their movements, and predict their future positions. Other applications include monitoring underwater conditions using unmanned maritime vehicles, data collection across oceans, and more.


Mining Safety

Due to the working conditions in underground mines, mine safety is receiving increasing attention. To prevent and reduce mining accidents, IIoT can be used to sense disaster signals in mines and provide early warning and disaster prediction, thereby improving underground production safety. By using RFID and wireless communication technologies on the surface and underground, the location of underground miners can be tracked, and critical data collected from sensors can be analyzed to enhance safety measures.


Additionally, chemical and biological sensors can be used for early detection and diagnosis of diseases among underground miners. These sensors can extract biological information from the human body and organs and detect hazardous dust, harmful gases, and other environmental hazards that can cause accidents.


Food Supply Chain

The food supply chain (FSC) is characterized by large geographical and time scales and complex operational processes, leading to challenges in food quality management, operational efficiency, and public food safety. IIoT can accurately track the entire process of food production, processing, storage, distribution, and consumption.

Future FSC systems will be safer, more efficient, and sustainable. A typical IIoT solution for FSC includes on-site devices such as WSN nodes, RFID readers/tags, user interface terminals, backbone systems consisting of databases, servers, various software, and small-scale computers connected through distributed computer networks, and communication infrastructure such as wireless LAN, cellular networks, satellites, power line communication, and Ethernet.


With the pervasive connectivity provided by IIoT systems, all these elements can be distributed throughout the FSC. Furthermore, IIoT provides effective sensing capabilities to track and monitor the grain production process.


Healthcare Services

With the ubiquitous identification, sensing, and communication capabilities in IoT, all objects in healthcare systems, including people, devices, medications, etc., can be tracked and continuously monitored. Through global interconnectivity, all healthcare-related information, including logistics, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, medications, management, finances, and even daily activities, can be effectively collected, managed, and shared.


For example, a patient's heart rate can be collected by sensors and transmitted to a doctor's office. Based on IIoT, healthcare services can be more mobile and personalized, using personal terminals and mobile internet access.


These are just a few examples of how IoT is being applied in different industries. IoT's potential extends to many other sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, retail, energy, and more, revolutionizing processes and enabling new capabilities in each domain.

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