ISSUE 17 English繁體简体
THEME STORY: From Internet to Internet of Things

From Internet to Internet of Things

Since the end of the last century, the rise of the “Internet” has brought groundbreaking change to the life of people of modern time. The connection of the networks forms an enormous network system that links up information and services around the world. In 2005, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) introduced the concept of “Internet of Things” (IoT) and pointed out that various devices and objects can be integrated to the network system under mature technology. Simply put, every object we use in our daily life, even the accessories or the tools we carry, can be turned into a “Computer” as long as they are linked to the network system to shape the world of the “Internet of Things”.

Connection between objects

With the advancement of communication technology, objects and devices can obtain and transmit huge amount of data and information via the communication chips. The Internet of Things not only connects various objects literally through the network, but it also enables the data transmission between objects and devices. The maturity of artificial intelligence equips the objects and devices with the behavioral capabilities of self-learning, processing, decision-making and control. In the world of IoT, objects can transmit and receive information among themselves while performing analysis and giving instructions in real time basing on these data.

The architecture of IoT is generally divided into three layers, namely, perception layer, network layer and application layer. These three layers are also the principles and processes of the operation of IoT. Objects and devices capture data through the sensing technology such as distance, speed, luminosity and humidity, etc. as well as the identification technology such as text recognition, image recognition, human motion recognition and radio frequency recognition, etc. They will transmit the data to the cloud through the network, and finally apply it to our daily life.

From IoT to Smart City

The integration of IoT and other technology such as 5G and AI is critical to the development of a smart city. The IoT has a wide range of application from commercial, industrial, medical, government services and even all aspects of our daily lives. In the past two years, the pandemic has ravaged the world. When all walks of life are faced with such difficult situations, what is the potential of IoT in making our life much easier? Let’ take medical as an example, IoT provides a smart model to help medical staff to observe and analyse the patients. Different medical supplies and instruments such as blood pressure machines, thermometers, ventilators and laboratory equipment can exchange data via the IoT. The data will be synthesized and analysed such that doctors are able to have a clear picture of the condition of the patient instantly which improves the overall efficiency in healthcare.

What is also worth mentioning is the concept of “Industrial Internet”. The so-called “Industrial Internet” refers to the use of IoT to connect people, data and machines in order to gather real-time data with sensing technology and identification technology, and to improve production and management efficiency through big data analysis and remote control technology. As early as 2011, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the “Twelfth Five-Year Development Plan for the Internet of Things” in which the development of IoT in China and the world was mentioned with the objective and direction for future development being brought forward. In the latest “14th Five-Year Plan for National Informatization”, it is further elaborated that the country will focus on the development of IoT, incorporate the industrial IoT into the construction plan of the public infrastructure, and strengthen the integration and application of 5G and IoT, such as Smart Port and the Energy Internet.

When faced with such a new trend, the Hong Kong government has been advocating “Re-industrialization” in recent years, with a view to promote the intelligentisation of industrial production through innovative technologies such as IoT and AI, and revolutionise the local traditional manufacturing industry. To this end, the government has placed abundant resources to establish the “SME Development Fund (SDF)” and launch programmes such as the “Hong Kong Industry 4.0 Interactive League Platform” and takes the lead to encourage the application of innovation technology in the local industries. rTag is a device developed by ISL specifically designed for IoT with built-in sensors to detect the weather, humidity and temperature, etc. Data can be transmitted via the 4G routers to assist enterprises in monitoring and managing their industrial facilities and equipment, and therefore it helps to reduce cost and enhance productivity.

On the other hand, IoT has also seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. For instance, in the development of “Internet of Vehicles (IoV)”, it requires the application of various technologies such as IoT, 5G network and AI. The connection between the vehicles, between vehicles and pedestrians and even the connection between vehicles and the transportation infrastructure rely on the linkage in IoT, coupled with the analysis and instructions of AI, to ultimately enable safe driving of the autopilot vehicles and improve traffic efficiency. Even at home, smart lighting, smart air-conditioner, smart TV, smart door lock, smart curtain and smart security system, and even the interaction among these smart electrical appliances are all realized in the world of IoT that greatly facilitates our everyday life.

With the application and growth of popularity of IoT, smart electrical appliances, smart cars and a variety of smart devices and tools can all be brought into the world of IoT to make “Smart Travel”, “Smart Life”, “Smart Environment”, “Smart Citizens”, “Smart Government” and “Smart Economy” possible. In the near future, objects around us will serve our needs through our physical interaction or simple verbal commands with the processing and analysis of IoT and AI.