One of the key enablers of Industry 4.0 is the communications technologies that allow users to connect to the many devices that make up cyber-physical systems. These have the catchy name ‘the Internet of Things’ (IoT).
You don’t need to be a Computer Scientists or Network Engineer to understand how IoT will bridge the physical world with the Internet; a systems-wide view will still enable you to talk with confidence about the technologies and societal impact we expect to see emerge over the next few years. We’ve collected some resources that can help you get your head around the core ideas.
The IoT is made up of millions of devices all interconnected, providing information about their status and taking commands over a low-speed, low-power wireless networks. Think of it like the first step towards the ‘grey goo’ that was talked about at the turn of the Millenium! With the world covered in devices capturing data on the status of buildings, the environment, industrial processes and utilities this data can be collected and synthesised – providing us with a better understanding of the world at a system-wide level. Local governments will be able to better assess traffic flows, parking provision and environmental monitoring; businesses can track stock movements and measure fuel efficiency and time management in their fleets; Utilities can use IoT to take meter readings or identify and predict faults in their networks. For the consumer, IoT offers the potential for effortless home automation and costs savings as the products they use become ‘smarter’ and more efficient.
A first reading in IoT and Industry 4.0
If you’d never heard the term ‘Industry 4.0’ before you picked up this issue of EYE Contact you’d do well to begin with a literature review that can cover the key principles, while offering you potential avenues for you to dive deeper into. Audi’s working paper ‘Design Principles for Industrie 4.0 Scenarios’ is a great place to start.
Many of the companies making products that will make up the Internet of Things have whitepapers and infographics detailing where their products fit into the IoT ecosystem; particularly good ones are Cisco’s ‘The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet is Changing Everything’ and Bosch’s series of papers, which range from industrial applications to intelligent business systems.
A burgeoning industry wouldn’t be complete without a raft of pundits; IoT News Network, IoT Weekly News and IoT World News are only a few of the dedicated sites out there aggregating IoT news. Established computing and electronics news outlets also often have IoT and big data sections; The Register and Computer Weekly being more technically aligned, while the likes of Venture Beat and CIO focus on the business side of the industry.
Getting deeper with online courseware
Online courseware is a great resource when looking to diversify your skillset – Coursera offer six-module courses from UC San Diego and UC Irvine called ‘Build your own Internet of Things’ and ‘Create your own Internet of Things Device’ respectively that offer the rigour of an assessed course and industry backing (Qualcomm in the case of the UC San Diego course). These courses have a price associated with each module, but you can enrol for modules without the assessments for free. Related modules that will be of use on cloud computing and cloud networking are also available. Coursera courses are typically flexible in their timing, and you can learn at your own pace.
Future Learn are offering a fee course on IoT in conjunction with King’s College London with the option of a certificate of completion at the end for a small fee. Run much more like a conventional college class, the course lasts four weeks with an expected level of participation each week.
If you’re already familiar with IoT concepts you might want to develop a specific skill or area of knowledge – have a look at MIT’s Open Courseware for access to nearly all of MIT’s college-level class materials, or EdX for classes from a wide range of universities from across the world.
Press the flesh, hit the bricks!
Now you’re on your way to being an IoT expert, why not attend an event where you can get up close and personal with the people who make IoT?
Your first stop will of course be the Hannover Messe during the next EYE Conference! At Hannover you’ll get insider knowledge from the likes of SICK and SmartFactory with the company visits, as well as the chance to roam the fair on Thursday.
Conferences on big data and IoT are also very popular at the moment; many of these are inexpensive or free to attend, and offer you the chance to talk to people developing the enabling technologies or the entrepreneurs planning to make it big with their IoT products and services. If you can’t make it to EYE@Hannover but can get to the UK the M2M World Congress is in London 26 – 27th April and offers speakers from the network providers and operators that hope to enable Machine-to-Machine communications (M2M) using their cellular systems.
In mid-May three events happen simultaneously – the Internet of Things Summit in London, Building IoT in Koln and the International Workshop on IoT 2016 in Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia. Check the EYE Webpage for a select calendar of the best free and inexpensive events we can find.