· Smart: It consists of the various embedded components such as microcontrollers, microprocessors, sensors, data storage capabilites and the associated operating system and software to operate the product, monitor the key performance indicators and perform required analytics. All these components work together to provide the product or the system with the autonomous action-taking capabilities, thus providing logic-enabled intelligence and hence making the product ‘smart’. Some of the common examples include the smart home automation systems, smart lighting systems, smart refrigerators and lot more.
· Connectivity: Connectivity is the key component amongst the three which separates the ‘smart’ products from the ‘connected’ products and thus forms an integral part for the Internet of Things and Industrial Internet of Things. The connectivity to these smart products can be achieved through numerous modern connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth, antennae, wired and wireless internet. The connectivity between the user, the product and the manufacturer can either be one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many. Tesla Motors, Philips Lightning Hue Light Bulbs and Bridge, Meditronic’s Continuous Glucose Monitoring, iRobot’s Roomba and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Tech Shirt are some of the common examples of the smart, connected products. The varied industries to which these products belong to clearly demonstrates the cross-industry applicability potential of the said connected products and IIoT as a whole.
In order to understand the smart,connected products in better way, let’s consider a very simple example of a smart home automation system.
A user A has employed only a smart home automation system. In order to make A’s smart home automation system to work, the system has to detect the A’s physical presence in the room or when he is using the remote controller in a very close proximity of the room and then perform the required operations such as, switching on the lights or setting up the thermostat to the appropriate temperature levels. This gives a very comforting and a cozy user experience to A.
Figure 2.2: Smart, connected home automation system (Style Template: IAS_FigureCaption)
Another user, B on the other hand has a smart, connected home automation system enabled for her apartment. This automation system, offers the flexibility to control the settings of the lights, and temperature via the web portals or even through her smartphone while she is sitting miles away in her office. In addition to this, she has the flexibility to pre-order her smart-connected dishwasher, her smart-connected washing machine, and her smart-connected vaccuum cleaner to wrap up their respective chores even before she is home. These products may or may not have been connected through a single web portal but the flexibility and interoperability provided by such connected devices has tremendous benefits in the direct customer markets and more so in the modern industrial scenario, where such an extra edge can save millions of euros, prevent accidents and can also have a positive environmental impact.