IoT (Internet of Things), on the scale of Cities!

IoTs are rapidly gaining popularity. Advancements in wireless communications, such as the development of highly efficient, high-performance ICT communication systems, and improved electronics following Moore’s law and innovations that could take advantage of the effects, have facilitated the development of low-cost networks of sensors. This sensor + network combination can be leveraged to provide high resolution, high precision data, rich in the spatial and time domains. Spatial because many smaller sensors can be deployed to cover a large region, and temporal because data can be pulled (or more accurately, polled) more frequently.

Applications of IOTs

They can have varying applications depending upon the fields they are deployed in. A sensor network consists of a large number of sensor nodes or “motes” that are deployed in a region. There is reasonable flexibility in where these nodes are deployed, allowing rapid deployment in emergency situations or applications in remote regions. Consequentially, this means that the algorithms and networking protocols used in these networks must possess self-organizing capabilities. When equipped with a processing system, these motes can perform rudimentary computations in the field and transmit already partially processed (or “pre-processed”) data for further action. These “Motes” are densely populated, can be prone to failures depending upon environment, typically use a broadcast communication paradigm (as opposed to an ad-hoc paradigm), and are limited in terms of power, computational capacities and memory.

A great resource on this is “A survey on Sensor Networks, Akyildiz et al,2002

An abundance of sensor nodes/motes scattered inside a “sensor field” from Akyildiz et al,2002

Based on the way in which multiple individual systems and infrastructure components within a city function, they can be thought of as sub-networks of a larger network, in a way the whole thing is a network of networks. When brought online and interconnected through ICTs, they essentially become what is known as the “Internet of Things” or IoT, for cities!  This has tremendous implications on Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning for instance, where high-resolution data for various aspects of cities can be polled for an accurate understanding of what needs to be improved, from the policy end.

The network considerations, however, are a bit different from conventional IT networks, as the devices typically used in the field of mobility have different characteristics from consumer devices that are typically used to access the internet.

Chirag is a Media Technologist Originally from the Himalayan region of Shimla (India). He holds a MSc in “Medientechnologie” from the German University TU-Ilmenau, and a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering.
Passions include drones, cameras, astrophysics, and making life here on planet earth a little bit better.

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