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Iot Bridging the Physical and Virtual World
The buildings where we live, play, heal, entertain, work, etc are increasingly no longer just a structure with a roof and walls only. Through the Internet of Things (IoT), buildings are gaining lives of their own. The IoT bridges the gap between the physical and virtual world. The physical world refers to the collection of physical things and devices like devices/sensors while the virtual world includes cloud services, platforms and applications. The IoT system is not just about combining the right technologies but also doing it in a way that is accurate, secure and cost-effective.

Let’s imagine a scenario, you arrive in your office building and you go to your room, the light and HVAC turn on themselves automatically. When you go to the restroom, you don’t need to switch on the light manually, it will be switch on automatically since the sensors detected you coming in. When you leave the restroom and forgot to turn off the faucet or the light, it will turn off automatically. A lot of energy is wasted in an entire building even when they are unoccupied. HVAC systems can now be connected to the IoT, which provides all kinds of benefits including energy saving. The sensors detected that the temperature is hotter than the usual, the HVAC will adjust automatically according to the normal set temperature for the room. Or when the CO2 sensor estimated the increasing number of people in a room will tell the HVAC system to increase the ventilation rate in response.

Also in the specific areas in the building, there are installed CCTV cameras, not just to constantly record a video but also to detect intrusions and ensure safety for the place. Your smart building has its own web portal where you can control and manage the devices/sensors inside the building. Through this, you can analyze data and turn it into actionable insights. Buildings still continue to use energy even when it’s empty. Think about how much you can save in the long run.

GoTensei’s approach to IoT architecture focuses on flexibility. We adjust our IoT architecture depending on the industry, specific purposes and budget. We plan and design it meticulously, giving attention to every element of IoT architecture tailored for the needs of the organization.

Elements of GTI’s IoT Architecture

The IoT consists of several elements which all play a role from simply connecting things and sensors to building applications that serve a certain goal. GTI’s approach to IoT architecture is shown in the above diagram which shows the components of an IoT system and how they are connected all together to collect, store and process data. The aim is to create an IoT architecture that is scalable, secured and flexible. The system is composed of four elements: sensors/devices, gateway, server and a user interface. The effectiveness of an IoT system is directly proportional with the quality of its elements and the way it was designed.

1. Sensors are the IoT equivalent of human’s five senses. But instead of five senses, there are a lot of sensors with different functions, measuring temperature, light, gas, particles in the air and more. Sensors/devices collect data from their environment. They are like the eyes and ears of the gateway, collecting and sharing data. A wireless interface connects the devices/sensors to the gateways. The sensors and devices that we are using are from our partner, Wulian. Founded in 2009, Wulian is a professional manufacturer and supplier for Smart Home products and solutions.

2. Gateways, as its name suggests, are the gateways to internet for all the things/devices that we want to interact with. It acts as a bridge between sensors/devices. They are the information hubs that collect data from the sensors/devices, analyse it and then communicate it to the server through Local Area Network (LAN) connection. Sensors/devices talk to the gateway; and the gateway will then take all that information and talk to the server. In order for the gateway to collect messages from the sensors, a gateway software is needed, which is a program installed inside the gateway device. The gateway software is the heart of the gateway device.

3. The data transported through the gateway is stored and processed in the server or cloud. But on GTI’s approach, we are using an On Premise Server (OPS). The processed data is then used to perform intelligent actions that make all the sensors/devices intelligent. We intended to use OPS in order to have stronger control of access to systems and data.

4. User application is the software component of an IoT system which enables the users to have an access to the IoT system by receiving notifications and alarms; options to monitor and control the devices/sensors. For example, if you want to turn on or off the lights, you can do that by using a web portal. Through the user application, users can monitor the state of the devices/sensors and control it.

GTI’s web portal is composed of the following modules:

• Dashboard
Users can view quick reports through the Dashboard page. In this page, the summary of the status of all the devices in the building, including its total and whether it is online or offline; and so with the summary of gateways used in the building will be displayed.
Also in the Dashboard page, the power consumption is displayed. The users will be able to monitor the electric consumption for the latest period and compare the consumption results over time to save energy and reduce cost. The latest logs and alarms are displayed here.

• Device Operation
Device Operation is an integral part of managing the building. In this module, the user will be able to control and manage all the devices enrolled per floor and room like the motion detector, switches, light, smoke detector, door lock, aircon, television, water valve, etc. You would be able to control all the devices in different rooms through the web portal without being there physically in the room.

• User Management
it’s important to provide control over the users having access to an IoT system. The User Management is used to manage the users of the iBMS portal. This is where you can add, edit, and disable users.

• Notification
The Notification feature is essential for the user to receive real-time notification for all that has been detected by the sensors, including the alarm events.

• Hardware Management
The Hardware Management will help you manage the gateways, modbus, devices, binding and IRs per floor.

• Floor Management
Users will be able to manage the floors and rooms through the Floor Management module. You can add or edit floors, edit room information and view the device mapping where the devices that have been used per room will be displayed. In this module, the user will be able to edit the devices/sensors per room and floor, and the location of devices in the room.

• Logs
The Logs page is where the user will be able to view all the records of the sensors detected and devices controlled.

Binding of IOT devices/sensors

Binding makes devices and sensors work as a group where sensors can be bundled together or sensors can be part of a device. Through binding, we can combine smart devices and sensors based on their functions – may it be sensor to device or sensor to sensor. GTI plans and designs binding of devices and sensors based on the room/building requirements and specific purpose.

For an instance, a motion sensor can bind with other sensor/devices like the air conditioner, light switch and light sensor. When the motion sensor detects someone in the room, the light and air conditioner will be turned on automatically. When the person left the room, the light and air conditioner will switch off on its own.

The temperature and humidity sensor can be bind with the air conditioner. If it detects that the temperature rises above the normal temperature set for the room, it will tell the HVAC to adjust. And if the temperature and humidity sensor detects that the temperature is below normal, the HVAC will adjust to meet the normal temperature of the room.

The gas detector can be bind with the ventilation fan, door lock and panic button. If the gas detector detects toxic gas in all the floors, the ventilation fan will be turned on. If a gas was detected inside a room, the door lock will be automatically open and the panic button will alarm to inform the person responsible to take action if something happens like this.

The smoke detector can work with the ventilation fan, door lock and panic button. If it detects a smoke in all the floors, it will turn on the ventilation fan. And when it detects a smoke in a room, it will open the door lock and alarm the panic button automatically.

Conclusion

In simple terms, GTI’s IoT architecture contains components such as: sensors, gateways, cloud/server, data analytics and user application. The sensors/devices talk to the cloud through some connectivity. Once the data gets to the cloud, software processes it and then might decide to perform an action, such as sending an alert or automatically adjusting the sensors and devices.

Developing an IoT architecture for a particular solution, it’s important to focus on giving enough attention to every element the architecture and making them work together; and making it flexible and scalable.
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