A Journey to the IoT World- I

This is a three part series

An Introduction to IoT

With lots of noise around the word, IoT or Internet of Things is increasingly becoming the talk of the town. Still, many people are simply trying to grasp the fundamentals of what exactly is IoT, and Google is increasingly being fed with the technical jargon to understand the enigma. Let’s try to unveil this mystery.

IoT-  A Cobweb

Using the analogy, IoT may be referred as the cobweb created by ‘internet’ or ‘the spider’ that crawls across n number of devices connecting ‘each-other’ and the ‘user’. Sounds interesting?

Stating plainly, IoT is all about connecting devices to the internet. This includes everything from washing machines, refrigerators, lamps, wearable devices, to almost anything that you may think of, with an on-off knob. Likewise, the devices will be able to flawlessly converse with us, and with other devices and applications.

This implies that, effectively, the transformation caused by IoT shall be felt across all facets of life. As per Gartner, the number of connected ‘things’ will be around 25 billion, by the year 2020. But what does this connectivity mean to us?

Voyage from Cobweb to Silk

Ever thought of smart cities? Visualize smart traffic signals that control traffic in real time or smart cars that automatically sense these traffic signals in real time. What if your alarm clock not just wakes you up but also notifies your water heater to start heating water? This will simply mean that IoT will creep into everything, which implies – if it’s not connected, it does not exist!

This is merely an iota of what IoT may be able to achieve. Innumerable possibilities with endless connections have resulted in IoT being a much-debated topic. Let us understand what it takes to weave a perfect Cobweb?

The Layers of the Cobweb

Let’s unweave each layer of the cobweb to understand it better.

                         Fig: IoT Architecture Layers           Source: C # Corner

The IoT architecture begins with connected devices or ‘things’ with sensors and actuators, collecting and giving out data in real time, and these need networks to communicate and become useful, moving us to the Network and Communications layer. This layer enables rapid collection and transfer of data, leading to Management layer that stores, manages, and analyzes this data intelligently. Further, the managed information is then released to the application layer for proper utilization of the data accumulated.

This is how a multi-layered IoT architecture works, but can it work flawlessly? After all, the cobweb may suffer from weaving anomalies.

Cobweb in Jeopardy

Security will be the major concern with all the threads of cobweb intertwined. Someone hacks a piece of information from your smartwatch and now it gets easy to draw more information from all the connected devices you have.

This implies that privacy and data sharing will become complicated, and dealing with tons of data getting accumulated from billions of devices will make storage, tracking, and analysis, a challenging chore. This burdens the testing community with the challenging task of ensuring seamless integration of devices, with internal and external environments, along with safeguarding information exchange in the hyper-connected world across the multi-layered IoT architecture.

Safeguarding the Cobweb

As testers are already witnessing testing troubles caused by escalating device and platform fragmentation; the complexity is going to grow exponentially with IoT. Quality Assurance Testing that was successful with new innovations previously is going to stumble upon a paradigm-shift with a deluge of data coming from millions of sensors each day, enhancing the testing zone complexities.

Let us focus on the challenges that testing community is going to face in the next part of this series- Testing Challenges in an IoT Framework