IoT sensors are devices that are used to detect and respond to optical or electrical stimuli. These types of sensors allow the Internet of Things to gather data to aid in better decision-making processes in organizations and businesses. Devices that contain IoT sensors include a physical parameter such as temperature, humidity, and speed into an electrical signal that is both readable and measurable.
How Do IoT Sensors Work?
The first thing an IoT sensor would do is to collect data from its environment. This can be a simple temperature reading or as complex as a complete video capturing.
Thereafter, the data is transferred to the cloud. The sensor can send data to the cloud through different ways such as Bluetooth, WIFI, cellular network, satellite, direct connection to the Internet through Ethernet, or low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN).
Then, the data is processed in the cloud. This stage could involve very simple processing such as checking that the temperature data is within the standard range. It could, however, be as complex as trying to use computer vision on the video to identify intrusive objects in your environment.
Lastly, the information is transformed into utility for the end-user. This could be a warning notification on your phone whenever an unauthorized person enters your house. In addition, the user could erect an interface that allows him to proactively monitor the system.
Types of IoT Sensors
Below are 10 different types of IoT sensors to consider.
Humidity sensor refers to the type of sensor that is utilized for the measurement of humidity or the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. Typically, these sensors largely make use of temperature sensors in order to carry out a lot of manufacturing processes that need to be in proper working conditions.
Usually, they are used in essential applications that are installed for certain domains in both domestic and commercial settings. These domains include heating, air conditioning, and ventilating control systems. This is as a result of their swift detection of any variations that take place in humidity. Common places where these types of sensors are used include paint and coatings industry, hospitals, meteorology stations, and automotive industries.
This type of sensor can simply be referred to as the Infrared Sensors. The infrared sensors are used to sense a number of certain elements of its environment by either discharging or identifying infrared radiation. The applications of this type of sensor can be observed in home appliances and remote control, automotive blind-angle detection, optical communication, wearable electronics, breath analysis, infrared vision, and healthcare. In addition, the IR sensor is commonly used to monitor the pressure and flow of blood.
Basically, Image sensors are used for the conversion of optical images into electronic signals. They are used to display or store files electronically. Two forms of sensors are engaged primarily here: charge-coupled device (CCD) and complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS). They are sensitive to light to certain regents, and they have no variations in quality.
Image sensors are best used in thermal imaging devices digital camera and modules, medical imaging and night vision equipment, sonar, IRIS devices radar, media houses, and biometric devices. These are used as IoT sensors for gathering data about various customers. They enable an organization to have a more detailed insight into the number of visitors that come to their store.
These are the sensors that are used in IoT devices to detect smoke or any airborne particulates. Ever since the advancement of technological innovations in IoT devices, these sensors have become widely used. There are two major types of sensors in smoke detection and they are
Optical smoke sensor and Ionization smoke sensor. Smoke sensors are installed in many facilities such as manufacturing industries, building and accommodation infra, and HVAC. The primary purpose of these sensors is to protect the people who are working in such dangerous places.
Proximity sensors are useful devices that sense the presence or absence of a close object. They function by converting the images of these objects into an electrical signal that is easily interpreted by the users. Proximity sensors are quite important in the retail industry.
This is because they have been discovered to be pretty beneficial in the detection of motion as well as the correspondence between the customer and the products.
In fact, there are different types of proximity sensors, some of which include ultrasonic sensors, inductive sensors, capacitive sensors, and photoelectric sensors.
Ultrasonic Sensors are used in harsh conditions and for the measurement of the distance of targets. Inductive sensors are robust and are used for non-contact detection. Capacitive sensors are used for the detection of both metallic and non-metallic objects, as well as in complex applications. Lastly, photoelectric sensors are made up of light-sensitive parts and are used for long-distance detection.
This is a type of sensor that senses any physical change in temperature by measuring heat energy. It converts the data it generates into a readable format for the user or device. Typically, temperature sensors are utilized in A/C control, refrigerators, and other appliances.
In more recent usage, they are used in healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing industries. Temperature sensors are divided into some sub-categories, some of which include infrared sensors, thermistors, thermocouples, and resistor temperature detectors.
The function of these sensors is to measure the number of light rays and then, convert it into readable electrical signals that are useful to the users or other instruments. Particularly, these sensors have utility in monitoring electromagnetic energy including electricity and light.
Optical sensors have applications in several fields like healthcare, aerospace, pharmaceutical firms, and oil companies. Optical sensors can be subdivided into other various types such as photo-detection, pyrometers, optic sensors, and proximity, and infrared sensors.
Motion Detection Sensors
Motion detection sensors are used to detect any physical movements in an area. They operate by converting motion into an electric signal. These electronic devices are highly useful in automated sinks, automated toilet flushers, tollways, automatic door controls, boom barriers, intrusion detection systems, hand dryers, energy management systems, smart cameras, and automatic parking meters.
These sensors are used to manufacture IoT devices. They come in different types such as passive infrared sensors, ultrasonic sensors, and microwave sensors. They are used in the development of smart devices, as well as security management systems.
These sensors are used to detect pressure. They convert it into various electric signals. The value of these sensors, in the manufacturing of IoT devices and systems that depend on pressure to be made, cannot be undermined.
The device can help to maintain pressure at a particular level. In addition, it easily detects drops and fluctuations in pressure in a systematic order.
These sensors are quite similar to chemical sensors in the sense that they are widely used to detect variations in the air quality and gases. These sensors are mainly used for the detection of toxic or combustible gases in the agriculture and health sectors.
These are also further used in other industries and for other purposes such as monitoring hazardous gas in coal mines, chemical laboratory research, detection of toxic or combustible gas, monitoring air quality, pharmaceutical and petrochemical, oil and gas, and manufacturing of rubber, plastics, and paint.
What Issues Exist with IoT Sensors?
Sometimes, depending on your business requirements, accuracy may be an issue with your IoT sensors. This is a common issue with many sensors.
For instance, your humidity sensor would have to be high in accuracy if you are creating a weather station, especially if you are building an alarm system to check if the basement is flooded.
The cost of the IoT sensors for a use case may be very expensive. This will consequently affect the feasibility of implementing that sensor for the required use case.
Security is an issue with a number of IoT sensors. This is because of the inability to encrypt sensitive data before sending it.
Sometimes, due to low quality, some sensor devices are not reliable enough to last through their expected life span and may fail.
This is another issue that affects many IoT sensors. An IoT sensor has to be durable enough in respect to the environment it needs to be installed. Some IoT sensors are unable to withstand corrosive surroundings, extreme humidity, and temperature to name a few.
Low Battery Life
Depending on the specific use case, battery life is another issue that affects IoT sensors. Some IoT sensors are unable to send data without complete replacement of an inactive battery.
In most cases, IoT applications are usually mobile. This means if you need some signal conditioning to interface the sensors with a specific preference, then you would have to factor in the size and power consumption.
Current IoT Sensors Market
Do you know that as of 2016, the world IoT sensors market was valued at about $7.51 billion? This figure has been forecasted to reach an estimate of $27.38 billion in 2022. This, therefore, puts the IoT sensors market CAGR growth rate slightly beyond 24% between 2017 and 2022.
It is evident that the IoT sensors market has been experiencing a significant growth rate over recent years. This is largely a result of increasing demand for IoT sensors in the automotive sector and booming industrial IoT sector.
In addition, the skyrocketing demand for smart Television in the customer electronics sector is also contributing to the rise of the IoT sensor market. More significantly, the rising adoption of smartphones and related tech devices is the driving demand of the IoT sensor market.
It is important to understand that IoT sensors are highly important for businesses that deal with the implementation of technology. The right usage of the sensor types for your smart devices can bring about a transformation in the overall process of automation of different processes.
Through the use of smart technological devices, it is possible for IoT sensors to attain the unthinkable. By tapping into the potentials of the various types of IoT sensors, data collection, and maintenance as become easy. Consequently, we are empowered to live in a smart and technology-driven world where there is an applicable solution for every challenge around us.