Connected Object

What is a connected object?

A connected object is an object capable of communicating various information to another object or to the Internet. It can capture, transmit (via different types of connectivity) and sometimes process data to help decision-making or initiate action.

The object can have its own functionality, whether mechanical or electrical. It is designed to communicate, often simple information, such as light detection or temperature measurement, for example.

The concept of a connected object goes from a simple sensor to an intelligent object, that is to say an object capable of processing either autonomously or in a dialogue with a smartphone or a platform for collecting and processing IoT data.

It operates using connectivity that can be existing from the start or added later, and integrates into the IoT network infrastructure.

IoT applications are numerous and diverse within the public and private sectors: smart cities, industry 4.0, logistics, personal health and safety, energy transition, agriculture, etc.


Definition of a connected object

A connected object plays four main roles, always in association with the other elements of the IoT infrastructure:

  • collect data from its environment thanks to the network with which it communicates
  • transmit the data of the different actors
  • allow the analysis of information thanks to the IoT platform with which it is connected
  • enable action to be taken on the alert it generates, or to initiate action often through an application.

Take the example of an automatic watering that is triggered according to data transmitted by a connected weather station, or a surveillance camera installed in the house and connected to a phone.

A connected object sends the collected data to dedicated infrastructures thanks to its connectivity. The data is stored, analyzed using calculation algorithms and then returned to the user in the form of usable information.

A connected object is distinguished by three essential characteristics:

  • Its ability to collect data through sensors: location, distance, temperature, vibration. Take the example of a person who is unwell. She doesn't move any more. The sensor does not detect any movement for a while.
  • Its ability to transmit, process information and initiate action if necessary. This person is wearing a remote alarm. The smart object will pick up the information and send a signal to the calling platform.
  • Its ability to transmit, process information and initiate action if necessary. This person is wearing a remote alarm. The smart object will pick up the information and send a signal to the calling platform.


Operation of a connected object

To function, connected objects need 4 components:

  • Sensors: these are devices capable of transposing a physical measurement (temperature, movement, etc.) into digital data. The purpose of the sensors is to collect information.
  • The energy source: a connected object requires a significant source of energy. It can come from 4 types: power supply, battery or batteries, energy sensors (such as photovoltaics) or passive objects without batteries that are powered by electromagnetic waves from readers (RFID, NFC, etc.).
  • Actuators: sort of the opposite of the sensor. The actuator is the device that transforms digital data into a physical phenomenon through an action. Actuators are alarms, motors, switches or dimmers to control a bulb for example, etc.
  • Connectivity: this is, by definition, the main and differentiating element of a connected object. It makes it possible to connect the object to an infrastructure or to another connected object via a communication channel. The connected object integrates one or more IoT network.

To transmit the collected data, connected objects use different dedicated communication technologies such as bluetooth low energy (BLE), WiFi, RFID, Radio Frequency (RF) and cellular connections (from 2G to 5G), LPWAN networks or satellite, for example.


What are the connected objects by sector of activity?

There are two major complementary markets in the Internet of Things field Internet of Things field :

  1. The home market: connected objects intended for the general public improve user comfort and safety.
    • In home automation, smart objects are developing and democratizing, providing security, comfort and energy management functions. The Internet of Things includes, for example, security systems, thermostats and heaters, shutters.
    • Connected objects are very present in the field of health and well-being: watch or bracelet, bathroom scale, pillbox, etc.

  2. The professional market: B2B connected objects accelerate the digital transformation of companies, via multiple applications, for all sectors of activity:
    • Smart cities: parking management, traffic improvement, lighting optimization, waste management, management of electric charging stations ...
    • Industry 4.0: logistics optimization, predictive maintenance, safety of teams and infrastructures, quality control, energy management ...
    • Personal health and safety: mobile and fixed remote assistance, remote monitoring of patients, bracelets for seniors or lone workers.
    • Energy transition: energy optimization of professional buildings, public establishments and individual homes.
    • Agriculture: robots, connected weather stations, geolocated boxes on tractors, collars and bracelets for animals, etc.

Billions of connected objects populate our daily lives, both personal and professional; this is why it is essential to ensure data security. 


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