There’s more to the Internet of Things than just deciding upon the desired outcome, designing and selecting the appropriate hardware, software and network infrastructure required to enable things to communicate with each other.
However, one can take the system further by planning the processes of how various entities can work together to find synergy and more opportunity from the investment. These entities can be classed as individual Internet of Things installations. Some organisations such as Cisco Systems have even coined a new term, the ‘Internet of Everything’, which takes into account the people, data, things and the processes of how they can all work together.
Uniqueness can be a possible drawback when designing a system due to lack of compatibility with other systems. Part of the design process also includes deciding whether one wants the system to communicate with others for the benefit of all involved.
Linked systems can work more efficiently together and make life easier for all. This involves coordinating various events in a way that may have been normally achieved by a person who would normally use two or more disparate systems at once to achieve a single goal.
This level of integration can be found in many areas, such as the consumer device and industrial fields. Here are some broad examples of how processes can match two different systems to meet a common goal for the end user.
Traffic and vehicle systems
While monitoring traffic on major roads and arterials is nothing new, the data generated can be used to broadcast traffic data for external services, alter signal timings, and manage variable speed signs and other notices to motorists.
A motorist’s primary objective is to get to their destination as safe and as fast as legally possible. If the IoT system in the vehicle could interact with the separate traffic system by submitting location and planned destination, a customised live route plan could be sent to the vehicle directing the driver to the optimum route. The vehicle could also take fuel consumption into account and the distance to travel, and interrogate the traffic system for the location of the nearest service station if required.
Commercial interests could also integrate live fuel pricing into the system to allow the vehicle to select the cheapest fuel as well. Even law enforcement agencies can create some interesting scenarios that may be useful to administration.
All of these functions then remove the tasks away from the driver, allowing them to focus on driving and safety.
Intelligent hotel HVAC and water solutions
Energy usage in a large hotel may include a myriad of fixed and variable costs. Some buildings utilise standard fixed-thermostat hot water boilers and air conditioning systems that may have a degree of adjustment, but still run when not entirely required in all areas of the hotel. However, if the guest booking system is integrated with intelligent HVAC and water systems, the hotel can save real money on energy bills through greater efficiencies.
By re-engineering or installing new zone-based air conditioning systems into the building that allow greater control of output to various areas or zones, and individually-controlled hot water systems for each room (or each floor), it is possible to shut down complete areas when required. If the hotel’s booking system could allow bookings to occur in certain areas, say by booking rooms in sequential order, whole zones or floors can be kept full with guests, and empty with vacant rooms. By creating processes for the booking system to communicate with the HVAC/water system, energy use could be minimised by shutting down the system in vacant areas.
With customers pre-booking check-in times, individual hot water systems could be activated a few hours before guest arrival and shut down until the next booking, saving more energy. By capturing weather data and understanding the seasons, the booking system could ensure guests are booked into the cooler or warmer side of the building, thus reducing the impulse to ‘turn up the heat’ or ‘crank up the air conditioning’ upon arrival.
A fair amount of planning needs to be taken into consideration with regards to the processes involved in Internet of Things systems that may need to work together.
Planning is the key, and understanding the requirements is paramount. Organisations that seek to move forward with intelligent systems, and set themselves on the path to increased efficiency and profitability can partner with the LX Group for greater success.
LX Group is an innovative contract electronics design company specialising in the design of embedded systems and wireless technologies.