Internet of Things
In the contemporary socio-economic background the Internet has a
vital role to play. It has become a part and parcel of human life these
days. The internet enables the concept of a global village where the
geographical distance is no barrier to be connected.
Even small children taste the essence of the Internet these days.
Even if we talk and know about the Internet, I doubt whether everyone
knows about the concept "Internet of Things" well. This article focuses
on the particular concept where knowingly or unknowingly you have become
a stakeholder of it.
What is Internet of Things?
If I elaborate this concept in a lucid palatable way, it is the
network of uniquely identified objects (devices) where each of those
objects is able to communicate over the internet. Most of those devices
have sensors embedded into them and those sensors can communicate with
applications (via different protocols) which are linked to internet like
structures. In the early days, RFID is the main medium of communication
between the device and the internet.
History and some important information from WIKI:
Kevin Ashton proposed the term "Internet of Things" in 1999.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) was a prerequisite for the
Internet of Things in its early inception. These days, apart from RFID,
the tagging of things (object identification) is achieved through
technologies as Near Field Communication (NFR), BARCODES, QR CODES and
If you ponder "How these things are connected?" then the answer is,
the technologies such as RFID, NFR, Barcodes etc do connect them; to
communicate, the objects (devices or things) should have some electronic
gadgets inside them which enable them to talk in the relevant medium. I
will let you know about these technologies in a way that you can digest.
So, another simplest way of expressing the idea of "Internet of
"It describes how a device (a "thing") communicates with an
application over the Internet".
The above reference site has a good image to depict the concept:
When we talk about the concept of Internet of Things, the three words
themselves speak on behalf of the concept: The devices talk with each
other without a human involvement, over the internet. In the modern
world this is not a new phenomenon but as I feel this is THE driving
force that leads the enhancement of technological development and human
computer interaction. It is mainly because the advancement of wireless
communication. So, now let us get into those technologies I mentioned
RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can talk to a networked
system to track every product that you put in your shopping cart.
I assume that you have seen barcodes as these days almost all items
in a supermarket has a barcode in its packaging; According to WIKI a
barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data (special
type of font) to represent data related to the object to which it is
attached. There are devices called bar code readers to read the barcode
which is pointed to the reader.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technique uses wireless
non-contact radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data.
This helps to identify the tags attached to objects automatically. The
tags contain electronically stored information. RFID tags are used in
In super markets, warehouses, supply chains, manufacturing firms,
transportation industry and many other places where inventory handling
and product tracking are being done. What do we have inside these tags?
Mainly there are two parts.
1. An Integrated Circuit (IC) for storing and processing information
2. An Antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal.
The tag information is stored in a non-volatile memory (ROM). An RFID
tag comprises either a chip-wired logic or a programmed/programmable
data processor for processing the transmission and sensor data,
How can we read these RFID tags?
To read RFID tags (to extract data stored in a tag) there are RFID
readers which sends an encoded radio signal to the tag to start a
dialogue. The RFID tag senses the signal and then responds with its
identification and other relevant information. The information may be a
batch number, stock number, production date, sales price other specific
NFC: (Near Field Communication)
This is a technology emerged after RFID enabling smart devices to
communicate with each other and share (send/receive) data. NFC is a set
of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio
communication with each other and the notable speciality is that the
communication is done by touching those devices together or bringing
them into a closer proximity, no more than a few inches.
Most of the smartphones have NFC enabled. If you have a Samsung
smartphone with the latest Android version you might have already
noticed that there is NFC (Settings à Wireless and networks à File/data
transfer à NFC) Samsung S II plus has this feature.
Using NFC you can send data files, contacts to another phone which
has enabled NFC.
How does NFC work?
It is a short-range, low power wireless link technology that can
transfer small amounts of data between two devices held very closer to
each other as I have mentioned earlier. Unlike Blue-tooth, in NFC no
pairing code is needed.
Not only to transfer data such as phone contacts, media files,
images, but also by tapping your phone on a contact-less payment
terminal in a supermarket, airport, train station or cafeteria, is able
to identify your account and takes payment through an application on
Is the most famous android application around, to do contact-less
payments using NFC technology. You can read more on Google Wallet and
its features in the Internet to get more details. On NFC phones, the SIM
is being extended to act as the Secure Element that can hold other apps
such as payment cards.
NFC tags are passive devices that can be used to communicate with
active NFC devices (an active NFC reader/writer) on posters, in
groceries and in public transportation, could contain a web address, a
discount voucher, a map or a train timetable that passers-by could touch
their phones on to receive - or to instantly pay for absolutely
The writer is a software engineer.