Real-time Technology Glossary

An ever-growing repository of technical terms around real-time technology and beyond.

IoT (Internet of Things)

The Internet of Things, frequently shortened to IoT, refers to physical devices fitted with sensors and network connectivity which connect and exchange data with other devices and systems. 

Many industries in the IoT space will focus on a specific implementation and over the years a huge variety of applications have been developed. Some of the more familiar examples include:

  • Home automation with lighting, heating, air conditioning

  • Home security with connected locks, cameras, and alarms

  • Voice assistants

  • Exercise equipment such as heart rate monitors

  • Medical equipment such as blood pressure monitors

Regardless of where or how it is deployed, all IoT devices have many properties in common:

  1. Power efficiency. Changing device batteries can be time-consuming, labor-intensive, and expensive. IoT devices that do not require batteries will still remain on continuously so power efficiency is important.

  2. Internet connectivity. Although the device does not need to have a public internet connection, this is often the simplest approach, especially when integrating with cloud services or connecting via GSM. 

  3. Sensors and processing power. Any device will need to gather data, process it, and send it over a network connection.

  4. Cost-effective. Although not a strict rule, most use cases require a large number of devices so cost is a large factor. Cost considerations drive design decisions such as removing unnecessary components, e.g. storage.

  5. Security. Any internet-connected device should be secure but this is especially true when potentially sensitive data is being acquired over an extended period of time by unattended devices.

IoT devices may also have other features and capabilities, depending on where they are designed to operate.

How can PubNub help with IoT solutions?

PubNub supports serverless processing and a highly-scalable architecture.  This allows your entire fleet of IOT devices to publish into a single communications channel which can be filtered on the server to take the appropriate action, for example:

  • Invoking a web hook when sensor data goes beyond a predefined threshold.

  • Displaying data on a real time dashboard

  • Storing telemetry for later analysis

We have helped many customers successfully deploy IoT solutions such as Peloton, and Logitech and we offer a large number of SDKs specifically aimed at IoT . PubNub also offers out-of-the-box support for MQTT, a protocol ubiquitous in the IoT space meaning you do not have to manage a separate MQTT infrastructure.

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