How many systems are there in the IoT

May 4, 2018 Gene Frantz, Octavo Systems

This is part three of a series. Read part two here.

What I find interesting about the concept of IoT is that it is a system of systems.  An interesting question to answer is just how many systems make up the IoT?  In a previous discussion I described my view of the systems, i.e., that the IoT is made up of three systems:  the cloud, the aggregator, and the smart sensor. But then, there might be a case where the aggregator looks more like a smart sensor than an aggregator. Further, the aggregator may look like a cloud.  Finally, we may find that a network of smart sensors act both as a smart sensor and at the same time as an aggregator. 

In a later discussion I will focus on a smart sensor being totally autonomous – that is, scavenging its power and wirelessly communicating – but this is not a necessary condition. It could very well have a continuous power source and communicate to either the aggregator or cloud using wired communication methods.

Just as the smart sensor may be wired rather than wireless, the aggregator may be wired or wireless. An example would be a powered computer element with a wired communication, such as a notebook computer or a local server. In the case of the notebook computer, it could be a hybrid, sometimes wired and sometimes wireless (i.e., sometimes tethered and sometimes not).

Finally, cloud computing may have multiple levels of computing elements. Clouds may also have peer systems sharing the tasks. There may very well be local clouds, community clouds, corporate clouds, national clouds and global clouds. I suspect we also have universal clouds.  Some of these clouds are proprietary and some are public.

I can certainly understand why it is impossible to accurately define IoT.  But then, perhaps the inability to accurately define it allows for a simple definition to be possible. That is what I have done. 

Now for a few questions for you to respond to:

  1. What is your definition of IoT?  No fair simply agreeing with mine.
  2. If you are involved with the IoT, What part are you involved with?
  3. What processor(s) are you using?
  4. What communications standard (or lack of standard) are you using?

Gene Frantz is Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Octavo Systems.



Read part four of the series here.

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The systems that make up IoT

As I see it, the Internet of Things is a system of systems. Each of its three components (the cloud, the ag...

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