TOP IOT SENSORS

Proximity Sensors

Location Sensors

Temperature & Humidity Sensors

Metering Sensors

Industries that could benefit from our smart sensors

Here are some of the various industries that stand to benefit from employing smart sensor technologies

Healthcare

> Contact tracing for limiting the spread of infection among patients.
> Monitor patients’ health status in real time.

Warehouse

> Location monitoring saves much time on searching in the warehouse.
> Temperature and humidity monitoring on the containers.

Tourism

> Tourist industry can utilize the proximity sensors for sending the introduction of items in display
> Figure out the area that has the highest population density.

Retail Stores

> Retail stores can use proximity marketing for attracting more customers.

Home Automation

> Remote control on home appliances
> Smart metering usage

Fleet Management

> Locate the position of vehicles and optimize the route.
> Sense the speed of drivers and send alert if it’s over-speed.
> Alarming if vehicles are not running in the assigned routes.

Cold Chain

> By deploying the sensors,the temperature condition can be monitored.

Manufacturing

> Tracking the locations of products for optimizing the production lines.
> The location sensors enable smart-check to be possible by wearing badges or wristband beacon.

Classification of Sensors

There are different classifications of Sensors, some of which include:

Active Sensors and Passive Sensors: Active sensors are also referred to as parametric sensors and these are sensors that need an external source of power to function (e.g. GPS). Passive sensors (also referred to as self-generated sensors) on the other hand do not require external power sources to function (e.g. thermal sensors).

Contact and non-contact sensors: Contact sensors are sensors that require physical contact with their stimuli (e.g. temperature sensors), while non-contact sensors do not require physical contact (e.g. magnetic sensors).
Absolute and relative sensors: Absolute sensors provide an absolute reading of their data, while relative sensors do not.
Analog and digital sensors: The sensory signal generated by analog sensors have similar dimensions to and are determined by the sensors’ measurements. (e.g. light sensors), while digital sensors convert data digitally.
Miscellaneous sensors: This includes many other sensors like radioactive and chemical sensors.

Why IoT data matters

The data gotten from IoT devices can be useful in a lot of ways which are;
• They help improve or increase human productivity, as the data collected on things like performance can be used to improve the daily operations of the business
• They can help in maintaining equipment, as they can be fitted with devices that can indicate how well the machines are performing at a particular time and when they need to be serviced.
• They can help in the optimizing of business operations as some processes can now be automatically tracked and records kept and to minimize the risk of human error.

The market drive of IoT sensors

There is a growing application of IoT sensors in sectors such as automotive, healthcare, agriculture, and consumer products. This is aided by the reduction in both the cost and size of IoT sensors while increasing their functionality. The performance of IoT has increased, even with the size reduction, and they have a much wider range of places where they can be used. IoT sensors can now be found in smaller devices such as smartphones, wearable, etc.

The rapid growth of the IoT sensor market has been hindered by data privacy and security concerns. The amount of data generated by IoT is immense; IoT devices are entirely data-driven, so it comes as no surprise the amount of data generated by IoT sensors. The protection of these data is of utmost importance, as the loss of data or theft by cyber-criminals can cause a lot of damage to both the companies and the consumers. IoT sensor data is an integral component needed in increasing the IoT environment, therefore any problems affecting the security of data can greatly hinder the growth of IoT.

Numerous opportunities are available which can enhance the growth of IoT sensors. Governments worldwide are now sponsoring IoT innovation projects, these projects are aimed at improving the lives of its citizens, such as improving security systems through the use of smart cameras and IoT motion sensors, energy conversion through smart meters, and others. This increased interest that the government has in IoT sensors can be one of the major driving forces for the growth of IoT sensors in the coming years.

Roles of IoT sensors

There are three stages or layers of the IoT architecture, which are the physical layer, the communication layer, as well as the application layer. The physical layer is the layer that consists of the sensors, the second layer consists of devices that translate the information and transmits it, while the application layer is where the data is received, stored, and also processed.

To effectively collect, store and transmit data and information from one point to another, a sensor is needed. A sensor’s job is to simply collect analog data and translate it to digital data, and the same is the case for IoT sensors. IoT sensor companies and IoT sensor technology, in general, have made it possible so that IoT sensors can be configured and specifically calibrated to perform specific functions and pick up a specific set of measurements and information like temperature.
 
After these particular measurements have been captured, you now have access to it and can use the information in ways which you deem fit, be it tracking the measurements for a particular period to correctly predict a pattern.

The main purpose of sensors is to collect data in analog form and digitally translate it. In the earlier days, radar was a major method of data collection and transmission, and the data from this technology, aided countries in World War 2 to correctly identify enemy ships and aircraft. Moving forward, another form of sensor data collection known as infrared was used. The data was collected from infrared cameras which could detect and accurately measure thermal energy and heat signatures given off from objects and could see through smoke and even fogs.
 
The process of IoT sensor data capture and the translation process is as follows:
• The sensors are configured to collect data according to a specified parameter e.g an IoT water sensor or IoT soil moisture sensor.
• The sensors are then connected to a gateway, through which they transmit the data to a server.
• The data deposited in the server is then transmitted to your device for you to have access to it.
 

Types of sensors in our daily products and services 

Sensors are now slowly but surely becoming a part of our everyday lives and are being embedded in a lot of the goods and products which we buy and sometimes use.

Acoustic sensors: These sensors pick up and record vibrations in the environment, and as such can also record voices and record people talking or singing. A good example of this is a microphone, which is an IoT vibration sensor that is sold separately and mini-microphones are also embedded in devices like our laptops and phones, which makes it possible for us to make and receive phone calls and also converse over the phone. Other devices like the Amazon Alexa device also have acoustic sensors in the form of microphones to enable us to communicate with them.

Visual sensors: Visual sensors pick up, record, and transmit visual stimuli in the form of pictures, video, and color and are important in devices like cameras whose purpose is to capture pictures. They are also found in smartphones that possess cameras which can also be used to record videos and take pictures.

Weather sensors:They are sensors that are meant to detect temperature and other changes in weather. It is used to determine how hot or how cold an object or place is and an application of this is in thermometers in hospitals which are used to take the temperature of a patient.

Positioning sensors: These kinds of sensors are important for direction, location, and navigation. They are made to indicate and pinpoint the location of an object or objects in relation to another object. A good example and application of this are in GPS location which is found in smartphones, and in which can be useful for navigation.

Wearable devices: Like heart rate and pulse rate monitors also contain and make use of sensors that can take readings and measurements of things like heart rate, pulse rate to enable people to keep an eye and monitor their vital signs. It is especially useful for elder people or people with illnesses that warrant constant monitoring of their vital signs.

Gas sensors: These help to detect the presence of poisonous and toxic gases, as well as to detect changes in the atmosphere such as air quality detected by an IoT air quality sensor. An application of this is in homes that have carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide detectors.

Challenges facing the IoT Industry

• Interoperability 
As there are a lot of various Internet Of Things (IoT) systems, some of which are not compatible and interoperable with one another. Different sensors, with different manufacturers, power consumptions, and securities might produce or provide varying results.
 
• Authentication 
As there are billions of devices interconnected to the IoT, and the connection of all these different devices can constitute some security risks if there are no ways to authenticate the devices.
 
• Proper integration 
As different enterprises employ the IoT, they have to integrate the connected IoT products with the correct platforms, else there would be problems and challenges.
 
• Connectivity
As all the devices are connected to a network, they are all connected over the internet and can only be accessed over the internet. Places with connectivity or internet issues would have more problems connecting to the various devices.

• Analytics 
After the identification, capture, and storage of the data, still needs to be corrected, and the data analyzed and translated into meaningful information to be used.

The next frontier of Data Collection and analysis in IoT

With a lot of these data IoT sensors being deployed and used across various industries and locations, there is a lot of data being collected, but if not analyzed and used effectively, the collection of the data serves little purpose. A solution for proper use and analysis of data would be Edge analytics, as this makes it easier for entities that need to quickly analyze and take immediate corresponding action. The use and advantages of Edge analytics are as follows:
• Real-time decision making, as the data can be analyzed and processed on the spot and at a very fast speed to make quick decisions.
• Edge analytics systems can easily operate in locations where the connectivity to the cloud is not constant and is sometimes limited.
• Improved reliability and performance; it has localized computing powers for processing.
• The Use of edge analytics allows for a shift into predictive data collection and analysis.

Processing IoT data

Raw Data collected from devices sometimes cannot be useful unless it is analyzed and translated into a different form to serve a purpose. All data gotten must be processed before the information obtained and gathered can prove useful; else it is just a collection of random figures and words, and to correctly process any given data from an IoT device, you must be able to:
• Transform the given data into a format optimally compatible with the application.
• Try to sift through and filter out any unwanted or outdated data to get an accurate result.

The Declining Price of IoT Sensors

The price of an IoT sensor as well as an IoT sensor kit has fallen in recent years. About 17 years ago (2004) IoT sensors cost $1.30 on average and as recently as 2019, the price has fallen to $0.44. This fall and decline in the price of IoT sensors can be attributed to the following reasons:

• More IoT vendors: In the past, there were not a lot of companies that manufactured IoT sensors and IoT technology in general, but in recent times, 2017 to be exact there are an estimated 3000 companies that were IoT sensors manufacturers in North America alone. And as the vendors continue to spring up, the prices are expected to remain low.

• Improvement in IoT sensors: Improvements are being made upon IoT devices, one of which includes the ability to collect data over larger areas, thereby reducing the numbers needed and also trying to fit more capabilities into the devices for a lesser cost. 

• Modern technology in IoT sensors: As older models and versions were not usually compatible with existing workplace technology and had to be overhauled whenever a change was made, but nowadays current sensory technology can easily and seamlessly be integrated and connected.

What are the requirements of IoT devices pertaining its sensors?

The requirements of IoT towards its sensors include key properties which enhance it as an ideal IoT sensor. First, the functionality of the IoT sensor can be said to be the basis, but with this are included:

• The cost: IoT sensors should be cheap; increasing their usage in large numbers.
• Size: As small as possible, able to integrate and blend into any environment to the point in which they appear to disappear.
• Connectivity: Wireless, as wired isn’t feasible.
• Energy-efficient: IoT sensors should come equipped with strong batteries that can last a long period, or better still, they should come with the ability to harvest energy from the surrounding themselves.
• Self-reliant: IoT sensors should be self-reliant able to perform self-diagnosis, healing, identification, validation, etc.
• Pre-process data: It would be best if IoT sensors could pre-process data before it is sent to the cloud, this can reduce load.

It should be possible to combine the information gotten from multiple sensors to deduce apparent problems; an example would be the combination of information gotten from IoT temperature sensor and IoT vibrator sensor, which can be used to detect the onset of a mechanical failure.

How much did Covid-19 outbreak affect IoT sensors market progress?

Although there has been a steady rise in the applications and demand for IoT sensors, this has been greatly affected by covid-19 in several ways. The market which had been steadily growing at a rapid pace was severely impacted by the covid-19 virus, leading to a decline in sales up to over 10%. Both the supply and demand for IoT sensors were affected, with the shutting down of industries and supply chains leading to a decrease in the amount of IoT sensors produced, and social distancing reducing the amount of IoT sensors used in a commercial application.

The Regions and sectors most likely to experience rapid growth in the sensors market

The APAC region i.e. the Asian-Pacific region is a very important market for consumer products such as appliances, automobiles, and healthcare products, all of which require the use of IoT sensors. Due to the giant and lucrative market found in these regions for the wider commercial products, it is expected that these regions are likely to experience the highest CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) amongst all other regions. Major countries within these regions expected to be impacted are namely; China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Australia, and the rest.

One of the major consumer products that these regions produce is automobiles, and one of the IoT sensors used in autonomous cars is the IoT pressure sensor. This is quite an important sensor and experts estimate that a huge bulk of IoT sensors market future value and worth would likely be as a result of IoT pressure sensor applications. The high demand for the IoT pressure sensor comes as a result of growing concerns for safety, comfort, and automobile emissions.

IoT standardization: why should we care?

The use of IoT will bring about the connection of billions of devices; these devices require a common standard to which they can all operate with an acceptable, scalable, and manageable level of complexity. Standardization is an important problem that needs to be solved, to ensure the smooth evolution of IoT, global standards must be created to reduce the complexity of devices communicating and connecting.
Standardization can reduce the gaps between protocols (and associated security issues). It reduces the overall cost of data, the associated transport cost, and the cost needed to manufacture individual components.

The amount of data that will be created in the future will be of utmost importance and determining the owner of the data will prove increasingly difficult as data is moved from one place to another (cross-country). Hence the need for regulations and voluntary compliance. This will help in determining the ownership of data, the ways through which data is collected and distributed, the requirements for privacy, and how the information gotten from these devices are handled.

Misunderstandings involved in IoT sensors and devices generated data

In recent years, the world has witnessed a relatively significant rise in the data generated by loT connected devices and sensors. The IoT sensor-generated data are stored and processed by IoT applications in cloud servers. Data has been proposed to have economic value, and this has now become all the more apparent, with the amount of data that is collected daily from IoT devices and IoT sensors. With this immense amount of data available, there is a burning question as to who owns the data, while some companies have claimed that the data belongs to the consumer, this is not the case for every industry.

The data gotten from these devices can change the entire business of a company propelling them to success. But the exact party that is allowed to access this data and the amount of data has caused series of controversies, an example would be the case of Google LLC and Facebook Inc., but unlike the data gotten from these platforms, the data gotten from IoT devices and sensors is much more extensive, where mismanagement of this data can lead to serious life-threatening consequences.

Crucial enquires of, ‘who owns the data?’ And, under what terms it should be shared with others? Is still an open one, and unless governments and key societal figures and organizations take active steps towards finding concrete solutions and answers, it is most likely that it’ll take a while before there are concrete answers.

Methods of connecting IoT devices to the Internet

The mechanism involved in connecting an IoT device depends primarily on what there is to be done with the device.

The mechanism involved in connecting an IoT device depends primarily on what there is to be done with the device.
• A home router first connects to the ISP, then an IP address is given to it (It is with this IP address that communication with severs and services found on the internet is possible).
• This IP address changes either when the home router is rebooted, or when there is a need to connect again to the ISP.
• If there consists of more than IP, then the connection is done using a proxy server or a VPN service.

Other things you should know:
1.The home router functions as a DHCP server that automatically assigns an IP address to any devices that connect to the home network, like when a PC or mobile connects to the home network it is automatically assigned an IP address using DCHP. It is this IP address that grants you connection access to the particular network.
2.It is possible to connect to a web server running on an IoT device using a certain IP address. Through this method, you establish a network connection by imputing the address into a URL. In this network request, the home router has no purpose, this is due to it being a private IP address.

The protocol used by qualified IoT devices

IoT protocols are an essential part of IoT, they enable the exchange of data in hardware. Quite often IoT protocols and standards are overlooked, with the focus of the industry more on communication, and though communication is very essential to IoT, it will fail without the right protocol.

IoT standards and protocols two major groups are:
• The IoT Data Protocols
• The IoT Network Protocols

IoT data protocols: with the use of wires or Cellular networks, it makes communication possible for users, eliminating the need for an internet connection. Examples include:
• MQTT – Message Queuing Telemetry Support
• AMQP – Advanced Message Queuing Protocol
• DDS – Data Distribution Services
• HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol. And others.

Network protocols: these are set rules that dictate how data can be transferred from between different devices using the same network. Some examples are:
• Wi-Fi
• Bluetooth
• LoRaWAN
• Zigbee

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