Introduction To Smart Devices

What Are Smart Devices?

smart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, NFC, Wi-Fi, LiFi, 3G, etc.

They range from small asset tracking devices to wearables that monitor health, to refrigerators and other smart home components. Smart devices use sensors to gather physical data, such as light, temperature, and presence, and deliver that data to be analyzed and used.

Smart Devices Criteria

Lately, a smart device has become synonymous with anything that can be connected to the Internet, but there is more than that for a device to be called a ‘smart’ device. For a device to be termed as a ‘smart’ device it should be able to fulfill the following criteria.

1. Sensor

A sensor is what distinguishes a device from a smart device. A smart device should be able to capture some parameters from its environment, such as temperature, humidity, vibration, etc. It acts as your eyes and ears to know the environment around it.

2. Provide Value

It should be able to offer value to the user. If a device does not give any added value, no one will be ready to pay for it. It could be as simple as the ability to control lights from your phone and use machine learning to understand your preferences during the day. Without any value, a ‘smart’ device is really just a remote-controlled device.

3. Processing Power

It should have the processing power to make intelligent decisions so as to work more efficiently and execute faster decisions, rather than sending all the information to the cloud for processing and decision-making.

Depending on the IoT use case, the processing power requirement of the smart device can vary. If an immediate decision needs to be made, then the smart device needs to have more processing power to make the decision. If the use case does not require immediate decisions, then a lot of that can be done in backend systems.

4. Communication Interface

It should be able to communicate with other devices or to the cloud. They should have the ability to connect us with data that can show insights into our everyday lives and provide predictive analytics based on said data.

There are a wide variety of communication mechanisms available such as MQTT, Bluetooth, GSM, LPWAN, Sigfox, etc. for different use cases — and they are rapidly evolving.

5. Power Source

It should have a power source. It could be a main power line, battery, solar, etc. It may be a one-time battery charge that can last for the complete life of the device or a replenishable power source. 

6. Memory

It should have internal memory to make intelligent decisions and behave in accordance with its external environment. Internal memory is also required so as to install device agents or for some local processing. As the complexity of the use case increases, so will be the memory requirement in future.

7. Ease Of Use

Finally, it must be easy to use. When you have thousands of smart devices to manage, then you don't want it to be difficult to use and manage them. You want it to be as easy as possible to set up and forget about them for long periods of time — all while expecting them to function with minimal or no maintenance. In case a firmware upgrade is required on the device, it should be as smooth as possible.

Advantages Of Smart Devices In Our Day To Day Life

The dawn of the 21st century brought a technological revolution that we are still riding today. Transitioning from the fourth industrial revolution to the fifth, we have become so used to the fast pace of innovation that we continue to expect ever more effective and work efficient technological solutions.

Coming fast on the heels of disruption conferred via the internet and touchscreen smartphones, it’s now the turn of artificial intelligence (AI) and smart technology to head the next phase of global innovation.

Why? Well, because it is changing the way we live, communicate, and work.

Some of the key benefits of using smart devices are as follows:

1. Smart Technology Helps Conserve Energy.

Diminishing fuel sources combined with rising energy costs have made energy conservation a top priority for some. Smart technology helps by automating home energy usage.

Many of us forget to switch off the lights or turn off the thermostat before we leave home, resulting in a huge waste of energy and money, both of which we can ill afford.

In homes that use smart technology, light usage is automatically regulated, heating and cooling equipment is monitored and appliances are shut off if not in use. Homeowners have the added benefit of being able to turn appliances on or off while they are away from home. This not only saves money, but also helps protect the environment.

2. Offers Convenience At Various Levels

Smart technology can make it possible for you to accomplish several tasks with just a few clicks, often without the need to even move. You can adjust the temperature or dim the lighting in the room, control the music levels, lock all the doors and close the garage with just a few clicks.

Some of the more advanced systems are capable of ‘sensing’ your preferences by reading through the light, noise and temperature settings and will adjust automatically so even those few clicks are redundant. That takes convenience to a whole new level.

3. Offers An Unprecedented Level Of Security

Smart technology is far more effective at preventing intrusions as compared to manually operated security systems.

Smart home security systems warn homeowners of potential threats inside the home or on their property. Some even text or phone homeowners to alert them about break-ins while the police or external security company are also being informed.

4. Saves Money

Everyone loves to save a few quid. With the technology available to water your houseplants, feed your pets and much more, you no longer have to pay somebody to do these tasks for you every time you are away. Add this to the energy adjusting features and those savings will add up, quickly returning your original investment and making life much easier.

The Applications of Smart Devices

The smart devices are proliferating across all sectors, creating opportunities and becoming a competitive marketplace weapon as the focus of primary benefits, shifts from both internal and external improvements of the worldwide industries (Gartner, 2016). Sectors benefitted from the smart devices are:

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