Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT): a world of connected devices, smart factories, cities and homes all powered by the latest technologies available from RS.

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What is the Internet of Things?

While the term the Internet of Things or the IoT is relatively new the idea of connected devices has been mentioned in science fiction since the genre was born.

Imagine a coffee machine connected to the internet. Its 10:30 and time for a coffee break. You check an app on your computer to see if the pot has finished brewing. Not quite ready, you’ve just avoided a wasted trip to the machine.

The “Trojan Coffee Pot” was invented at the University of Cambridge to save wasted trips down the corridor.

The year was 1991.

Two decades later the core technologies from sensors to wireless protocols have matured and come together to make the Internet of Things a commercial reality.

With a predicted 26 Billion connected devices by 2020, work with the latest technologies at RS to ensure your design or environment is making the most of the connected world.

IoT Block Diagram

IoT Architecture

There are three core elements typically frequently referenced in the IoT architecture.

  • Things - Devices that have a means of connecting wired or wirelessly to a wider network.
  • Network – Similar to your router at home, the network or gateway connects multiple things to the cloud.
  • Cloud – Remote servers in a data centre consolidating and storing your data safely and securely.


Things generate data – small bytes of simple data representing sensed information such as, temperature, humidity or position. This is often described as ‘little data’ as it is small in size.

Once multiple devices pass this small data up through the network to the cloud it is consolidated and tracked over time, often becoming ever larger over time. This is often described as ‘big data’ this is where the IoT really becomes clever. Big Data allows you to interrogate thousands or millions of data points in order to learn, understand or control something better.

This could be analytics from sensors such as allowing you connect events to results or actions. For example knowing that it is getting darker later in spring using ambient light sensors on street lights and turning them on later saving electricity. Or noticing that a machine is vibrating more than normal and that it may be a sign it might potentially be about to fail allowing you to order some parts and schedule some predictive maintenance.

IoT Protocols

There are lots of languages or protocols emerging suited to the IoT, from traditional WiFi or Bluetooth to newly defined LoraWAN and Sigfox.

Each is suited
to different uses dependant on several key factors.

  • Data Rate – How much information is being sent?
  • Power Consumption - For example wearables only have a small amount of battery life?
  • Range – Does it need to be transmitted a few meters or a few kilometres?
  • Frequency – What frequencies are available to use in the region?

Designing for the IoT

A lot of the technology required to build the IoT isn’t new, more that each element has reached a maturity and cost effectiveness where is it now easily available.

Modules are now available to easily build your solution such as the WepTech 6LoWPAN router but also the discrete components such as the TI CC2538 which is built around to design your own. Even the passives and connectors are changing to meet the new demands innovative IoT projects are driving. USB-C will allow us to have less cables connecting our wearables and multilayer ceramic capacitors just 0.6mm x 0.3mm will allow them to be smaller than ever.

Connecting the Home of Tomorrow with TE Connectivity

The idea of an automated home is one that consumers have been enticed with for decade but until now, the reality of cost and complexity has kept the connected dream just out of reach.

At last this is changing. We have hit the point where home automation is within our grasp and is becoming accessible at a reasonable cost to the average home owner. Now the latest generation of connected technologies is set to transform our homes into intelligent environments that can monitor our actions, anticipate behaviour and respond to our needs.

TE Connectivity sits at the heart of this evolution, creating connectivity and sensor solutions that can be integrated into a wide range of household devices, enabling manufacturers to push the boundaries of what is currently possible.

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