IEEE Talks IoT: Oleg Logvinov
Oleg Logvinov is the Chair of the IEEE P2413 Working Group, Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Director of Special Assignments at STMicroelectronics' Industrial & Power Conversion Division. As an IoT subject-matter expert, he discusses how IoT will impact a number of areas, including energy management, water conservation and human health, as well as the need for an architectural framework to enable the rapid growth of IoT market.
Question: IoT is very broad in scope in terms of technology and its potential use cases. How can IoT have an impact on everyday life?
Logvinov: IoT really is an opportunity for devices around us to start communicating amongst themselves, creating a completely different environment, an environment that learns about what we need, anticipates what we need, and has the ability to react to any kind of stimuli. Most importantly, this environment and all of those intelligent devices operating within it, gain the ability to interact with us and better our lives in many different ways. Whether we talk about improving our health, reducing our stress level, or improving energy efficiency, all of that can be accomplished through IoT technology.
Question: What kind of dollar value is the IoT opportunity, given that it’s so nebulous?
Logvinov: Well, we can certainly argue whether it’s a $1 trillion, $100 trillion, or $200 trillion opportunity. The numbers vary, but one thing is for sure and certain: It’s quite a tremendous opportunity.
Question: Water use and management is already a big issue and a big concern in many regions in the world and will become a bigger issue over time. What are the opportunities for IoT to support water monitoring and conservation?
Logvinov: It’s fair to say water is already a major concern and is already a serious problem in many parts of the country and regions around the world. How can the IoT help us? One simply way is by monitoring water conditions in a way that hasn’t been possible before. It’s the ability to monitor water clarity and water contamination without spending an enormous amount of money. If we can embed sensors where they are needed, they can provide us with information that could potentially reduce the amount of contamination and reduce the amount of spoilage in the water. Another aspect is the waste of water. A faucet that drips one drop a minute would waste approximately 50 gallons of water in one year (http://www.awwa.org). While that is seemingly a negligible amount of water, what if we multiply it by 100 million homes? A billion? Real-time monitoring, accessible through convenient visualization tools available on familiar interfaces such as smart phones, could stop this waste by bringing our attention to a problem that might otherwise be hidden for months if not years. IoT can help us with that.
Question: Energy conservation is also a critical issue. How can IoT help us better manage energy use?
Logvinov: If you look at brownouts and blackouts, sometimes they stem from a lack of produced power, other times we have disruptions in the grid that could also result from the over production of energy. The ability of the grid to heal, the ability of the grid to be able to transfer power in every possible direction, whether it’s power generated by the power station or by a rooftop solar plant, is very important, and that is not possible without a grid equipped with communication – essentially all of those little smart things embedded in every element of the grid that form the Internet of Things in this specific vertical. The next step is breaking the boundaries of the vertical market and connecting with other verticals, such as home-energy management and electric vehicle charging, among others.
Question: How can IoT help the average homeowner, given the growth of smart homes?
Logvinov: A true Smart Grid is not possible without a smart home. The smart home is a necessary ingredient in a smart grid. But a smart home goes far beyond exchanging information with the grid in a smart way. It’s also augmenting our lives making us healthier and more productive. Connected wearables working in concert with devices in our homes create an environment where it’s becoming more and more possible to monitor our heart condition and our vital signs, and based on this information in real time create alerts that haven’t been even possible before – essentially the ability to extend the care that was previously only available in specialized facilities. And there is link with the energy management and conservation, by knowing our preferences, our locations, our daily schedules, or the fact that we could be heading home two hours earlier than normal and that it is about to start raining and the temperature will drop 10 degrees, so our home can start taking action based on predictive analytics, further improving the energy efficiency while maximizing comfort.
Question: What are some of the other medical applications for IoT?
Logvinov: Think about the ability of our smart home to monitor our daily patterns: when we get up, when we go to the bathroom, how long we spend having breakfast, in the bathroom, or taking showers. All of this information has real value to us and to our physicians and health professionals, allowing us to analyze how we feel and how we progress or digress in the condition of our health. It’s impossible to even quantify the benefit it brings to humanity in terms of the reduction of potential healthcare costs, or what it brings to us individually and collectively in disease prevention when we can notice the signs of something that is treatable and manageable today but tomorrow could become a huge problem. Add to that the ability to monitor pollutant levels around us, humidity, temperature, and UV levels and overlay that with personal data like allergies and skin color and all of a sudden understanding the sources of allergies could become a lot easier. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what the knowledge of the location, coupled with powerful data feeds and cloud-based data mining could do.
Question: All of the IoT devices will need to work together, so how will standards be developed to make sure appropriate devices can communicate with each other?
Logvinov: Standards are an opportunity to create interoperable products that can successfully work together—even if they are built by different vendors. That’s the purpose of the standard. And given the enormity of IoT, development requires tremendous multi-faceted expertise, making it clear that no single company can develop an ecosystem of products that goes into IoT. We therefore need to create ecosystems of companies working together, creating partnerships of companies working together building products, including sensors, cloud support, gateways and visualization tools that can help society to harness the power of IoT and create all of those multiple benefits that we discussed.
Question: Will multiple standards organizations be involved in the IEEE P2413 Architectural Framework?
Logvinov: There are many organizations today working on things relevant to IoT, and I think the IEEE P2413 Architectural Framework [http://standards.ieee.org/develop/wg/IoT_Architecture.html] has an important role to play in bringing a lot of collaborative efforts together with other organizations interested in the IoT domain. The goals of the project are clear. We would like to accelerate the growth of the IoT market by enabling cross-domain interaction and platform unification through increased system compatibility, interoperability and functional exchangeability. We would like to define an IoT architectural framework that covers the architectural needs of the various IoT Application Domains. It is important to increase the transparency of system architectures to support system benchmarking, safety, and security assessments. We need to reduce industry fragmentation and create a critical mass of multi-stakeholder activities around the world. And of course, we have to leverage the existing body of work.