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IoT platforms (presentation)

IoT platforms (presentation) Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Ioannina 12/08/2016 English
Internet of Things IoT cloud computing analytics

We start with an introduction to basic notions of the Internet of Things.

According to the ITU, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. IoT devices are expected to generate large amounts of data from diverse locations, raising the need to aggregate, index, store,and process such data effectively.

The following picture (courtesy of a European Commission page on the Internet of Things) provides a figurative view of concepts connected to the IoT universe.

In recent years, the potential of the IoT to improve people's lives has elevated it to a key policy objective of many governments and organizations.  For example, the IoT has been a strategic direction in the EU Agenda for some time and the European Commission (EC) has been cooperating actively with EU member states and third countries towards the development and future deployment of the IoT technology. A key EC goal is to create a European Single market for a human-centered IoT and invests in fostering an innovative IoT ecosystem.

The following video from the IBM Think Academy provides a nice exposition of the key concepts underlying the Internet of Things:

A recent (2016) Ericsson mobility report (pdf) estimates that 1.5 billion IoT devices will be interconnected through cellular subscriptions by 2021. Within the IoT space,two major market segments with different requirements are emerging:

  • Massive applications, characterized by high connection volumes, low cost, requirements on low energy consumption and small data traffic volumes. Examples include smart buildings, transport logistics, fleet management smart meters and agriculture.
  • Critical applications, characterized by extremely high reliability and availability coupled with very low latency. Examples include traffic safety, autonomous cars, industrial applications, remote manufacturing and healthcare.

Now let's go over some key concepts within the IoT ecosystem:

IoT devices are typically embedded computing systems interconnected via a wireless networking technology so as to support dynamic self-organization of their communication infrastructure under arbitrary physical placements. The dominant wireless networking technologies today include Wi-Fi (based on the IEEE 802.11 family of standards), Bluetooth (previously standardized as IEEE 802.15.1 but currently controlled by the Bluetooth SIG), and ZigBee (based on the IEEE802.15.4 standard). More information about wireless networking technologies can be found here.

IoT devices typically combine wireless networking capability, limited processing capacity, and one or more sensors. Sensors are devices that allow for the retrieval of data from the environment around them, such as temperature, moisture, airflow, as well as other types of data such as position, etc.

An instance of the IoT devices deployed at the UoI testbed is shown below:

Automation in IoT systems is made possible through the use of actuators, software or hardware components (e.g., robotic arms) that perform control actions (such as adjusting policy parameters in software systems, controlling relays, etc.).

An IoT platform is a middleware system that connects sensors and actuators to application logic, which mediates between the IoT ecosystem and end-users. To support large scale IoT applications, an IoT platform should be interoperable and federated to tackle the heterogeneity and geographical spread of IoT environments.

We will next briefly describe two examples of IoT platforms, one that drives municipal services (otherwise known as 'smart city' services) in the city of Santander, Spain, and another that drives educational and data-center services and provides the IoT infrastructure for this course, hosted at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Ioannina, Greece.

Smart cities: The example of SmartSantander (

SmartSantander is a project of the city of Santander, Spain that aims to create a large-scale facility for research and experimentation with IoT architectures, enabling technologies, services and applications in the context of a city.

The following diagram provides an overview of the SmartSantander architecture.