What is Internet of Things (IoT)? (Hong-Kong version)

Last Update date : Nov 23. 2020

The term "Internet of Things" refers to the various methods by which tangible or intangible objects are connected in order to provide new services which the individual items could not provide. As the term itself implies, the Internet of Things refers to an internet in which objects are connected together, or an internet composed of objects.

Unlike the pre-existing internet, through which computers or cellphones were connected, the Internet of Things means an internet in which everything in the world– desks, vehicles, bags, trees, pets, and everything else–is connected.

Internet of Things, IoT

The Internet of Things doesn't just connect physical objects like desks or cars– it includes places like classrooms and bus stops, and even intangible objects like a store's payment process.


Internet of Things, IoT


In the simplest sense, the Internet of Things refers to networking between tangible or intangible objects, including devices, people, places, and processes, but at heart it means the way these objects are interconnected to provide advanced new services.

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For example, imagine that a bed and a light are connected. In the past you would have had to get up to turn the light on or off. But in the IoT era, the bed can detect whether a person is sleeping, and turn the light on or off automatically.

However, in order for this convenient technology to be used, tangible objects such as the bed or light, which exist in the real world, have to be configured so that they also exist in the virtual space called the internet.

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If a smartphone or an internet service is configured in advance so that the light will turn off when a person falls asleep, or turn on if a person wakes up, then the user will be able to enjoy the corresponding IoT services.

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Uses of the Internet of Things

Healthcare and Wellness

Healthcare and wellness are based on continuously measuring various physical markers and notifying the user of any major changes in measurements, to inform them of the state of their health based on these numbers as well as of appropriate actions to take. The difference between healthcare and wellness is that, while healthcare focuses on the treatment of disease or illness, wellness focuses on maintaining good health.

Healthcare and wellness encouraged the release of appropriate wearable devices. In 2006, Nike™ and Apple™ collaborated to release a sports kit called Nike + iPod™.

Healthcare and Wellness, Uses of the Internet of Things, Internet of Things, iot


While early health and wellness devices mainly measured individual activity, devices released later on measure data such as weight, BMI, pulse, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, blood sugar, ECG, and other data in order to provide health and wellness services. As healthcare devices began to provide such varied types of data, health and wellness platforms were released in order to analyze this data and link users to health and wellness services. Primary examples are Apple™'s HealthKit™, Google™’s Google Fit™, and Samsung™'s S Health™.

The Galaxy healthcare app S Health is used with a variety of health care and fitness devices. S Health collects health-related data from users in real time and warns them of health issues, or connects them with appropriate services.

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Smart Homes

A smart home is a home with a system that allows the objects within it, or the environment, to be continuously monitored and controlled, either remotely or autonomously.

At first this might seem the same as existing home automation, but instead of using devices like wall pads to control household appliances from a central location, an IoT smart home allows household devices like smart appliances or security solutions to communicate with each other. This makes it convenient for residents to maintain a comfortable living environment.

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A smart home is made up of various devices including smart appliances, kitchen appliances, pet items, energy-saving devices, security-related devices, entertainment devices, health and wellness devices, and more. These are connected to the IoT and the smart home platform via a home gateway which supports short-range wireless communication technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZigBee, and others.

The data which these devices generate is used to deliver the smart home services which are the core of the smart home concept.

A product like Google's Learning Thermostat refers to a user's temperature adjustment pattern and weather information to automatically adjust internal temperature and automatically turn the lights off when it's time for bed.

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Smart Cities

A smart city aims to solve various urban problems using advanced information and communication technology. Unlike existing "U-cities", in which individual elements such as street lights or certain buildings use smart technology, every part of a smart city takes advantage of this smart technology.

In a smart city, various solutions are available to provide and use information, including smart grids which efficiently distribute power, efficient real-time traffic and parking information, information on the levels of rivers and streams.

Smart Cities, Smart City, iot, internet of things


For example, in Barcelona, smart street lights not only act as Wi-Fi routers, but can also measure population density by using noise level and air quality. They measure population density in real time using the voices and movement of people gathering in plazas, and save power by turning the brightness level up when there are more people and down when there are fewer.

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Also in Barcelona, smart garbage bins measure the weight of garbage using top-mounted sensors, and notify the drivers of waste disposal trucks of which bins need to be emptied, helping to reduce traffic congestion.

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Differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz
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With a lower frequency, the signal is diffracted and reflected easily, allowing it to be transmitted over a longer range. On the contrary, higher frequencies allow a signal to travel in a straight line and penetrate obstructions. It is possible for diffraction to cause receiver sensitivity to drop, so it is best to install routers where the signal can be transferred in a straight line. If there are a number of 2.4G routers present, 5G might be used less, which can improve reception due to less frequent overlapping of channels.

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ZigBee technology has been developing since the beginning of the Internet of Things. It aims to achieve low-power, low-cost, short-range wireless communication, and uses IEEE 802.15.4 as a standard. The ZigBee Alliance distinguishes three different communication technologies – ZigBee Pro, ZigBee RF4CE, and Zigbee IP–which vary by usage.

ZigBee uses a 2.4 GHz bandwidth, and although it uses a different channel from Wi-Fi it causes minimal interference. Its strength lies in its low-powered protocol, which allows for two-way communication of data in small packets. In theory it has an effective distance of 10-20 m and a speed of 250 kbps. ZigBee supports mesh networking for connection to and control of devices, and is open standard.

ZigBee, internet of things, iot

This is a low-powered communication technology for monitoring and controlling home automation. It was created by the Danish company ZenSys and developed by the Z-Wave Alliance. Z-Wave uses a source router-based mesh network topology without a master node, and can connect up to 232 devices.

The frequency used differs by country, but it mainly uses the 900 MHz bandwidth. It is relatively free from interference compared with 2.4 GHz-based communications technologies. In theory it has an effective range of 20-30 m and speed of 100 kbps, and it boasts a large working range. It receives little interference from other wireless technologies.

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