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GS Paper 3: Awareness in the fields of IT, space, computers, robotics, computers, biotechnology and issues related to intellectual property rights.


What is IoT?

 The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the connection of devices — any devices — to the internet using embedded software and sensors to communicate, collect and exchange data with one another. With IoT, the world is wide open, offering a virtually endless array of opportunities and connections at home, at work or at play.

IoT combines connectivity with sensors, devices and people, enabling a form of free-flowing conversation between man and machine, software and hardware. With the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, these conversations can enable devices to anticipate, react, respond and enhance the physical world in much the same way that the internet currently uses networks and computer screens to enhance the information world.


Scope of IoT

Much of the current development in IoT has focused on industrial opportunities. However, IoT for media consumers can open up new, intimate entertainment experiences. Consumers already have access to personal devices that can sync with their daily lives. For example, some smartphone applications automatically lock doors, arm the alarm and reset the thermostat when the owners leave the proximity of the house, tasks that users would have to manually perform on devices that don’t “know” them.

                                        Alphanumeric passwords have long existed as a means to control access and security to technology. However, they are not a biologically intuitive way to prove identity. A more natural and secure method would come in the form of sensors that can read personal attributes such as a fingerprint, or a heart rate. This is the type of man-machine interaction that becomes easier with IoT and can solve for use cases including over-the-top (OTT) authentication. The increasing sophistication of the sensors embedded in technology makes it possible for devices (“things”) to read, gauge and understand consumers at unprecedented levels.

                              Implementing the IoT in Retail/Supply Chain Management has many advantages which include monitoring of storage conditions along the supply chain and product tracking for traceability purposes and payment processing based on location or activity duration for public transport, gyms, theme park, etc. In the shop itself, IoT offers many applications like guidance in the shop according to a preselected shopping list, fast payment solutions like automatically check-out using biometrics, detection of potential allergen in a given product and control of rotation of products in shelves and warehouses to automate restocking processes.

                             The IoT technologies in the field of security and emergencies are tremendously increased in which few are listed; perimeter access control, liquid presence, radiation levels and explosive and hazardous gases, etc. The radiation levels application used to measure the radiation levels in nuclear power stations surroundings to generate leakage alerts and the final IoT application is used to detect the gas levels and leakages in industrial environments, surroundings of chemical factories and inside mines.


The role of Sensors

Sensors will be one of the key drivers of IoT expansion. Sensors measure physical inputs and transform them into raw data, which is then digitally storable for access and analysis. Miniaturization has enabled sensors to integrate into smart devices, expanding their capacity beyond data measurement and analytics to transmitting information via the internet. In today’s context, sensors can measure anything from temperature, force, pressure, flow and position, to light intensity. And they are being embedded into everything, from electricity networks, roads and other infrastructure, to mobile, wearable, home automation and security devices. Among the most discussed applications for sensors are all things smart: cities, environment, water, metering, security and emergency services, retail, logistics, industrial control, agriculture, farming, domestic and home automation, and e-health.



  • Architecture:

Most of the works relating to IoT have been classified in to four types of architectures ; the wireless sensor networks perspective, European Union projects of SENSEI, Internet of Things Architecture (IoT-A) and cloud architecture . The selection of architecture of IoT itself is the big challenge and this paves the way to develop new architecture and modify the existing architecture.

  • Privacy and Security:

Security will be a major concern, wherever network consists of many devices or things are connected. There are many ways the system could be attacked; disabling the network availability, pushing erroneous data into the network, and accessing personal information. It is impossible to impose proper privacy and security mechanism with current already existing techniques.

  • Data Intelligence:

There are huge volumes of data will be collected from connected from network of devices. According to a rough estimate, more than 2.5 trillion bytes of new data every day will be logged by these systems. Analysis of data and its context will play a key role and poses significant challenges.

  • Quality of Service (QoS):

The QoS of IoT applications is measured from the primary factors such as throughput and bandwidth. It is easy to provide QoS guarantees in wireless sensor networks due to resource allocation and management ability constraints in shared wireless media. Quality of Service in Cloud computing is another major research area which will require more and more attention as the data and tools become available on clouds.



An article by Ashton published in the RFID Journal in 1999 said, “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things - using data they gathered without any help from us - we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best. We need to empower computers with their own means of gathering information, so they can see, hear and smell the world for themselves, in all its random glory.” This is precisely what IoT platforms does for us. It enables devices/objects to observe, identify and understand a situation or the surroundings without being dependent on human help.


Previous Year Questions

  1. What is a digital signature? What does its authentication mean? Give various salient built-in features of a digital signature. (2013)
  2. How does the 3D printing technology work? List out the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. (2013)
  3. What is an FRP composite material? How are they manufactured? Discuss their application in aviation and automobile industries. (2013)
  4. In a globalized world, Intellectual Property Rights assume significance and are a source of litigation. Broadly distinguish between the terms—Copyrights, Patents and Trade Secrets. (2014)
  5. What are the areas of prohibitive labour that can be sustainably managed by robots? Discuss the initiatives that can propel the research in premier research institutes for substantive and gainful innovation. (2015)
  6. Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development? (2016)
  7. Why is nanotechnology one of the key technologies of the 21st century? Describe the salient features of Indian Government’s Mission on Nano science and Technology and the scope of its application in the development process of the country. (2016)