IoT setup? Not plug and play yet!

An IoT device is like a mini-computer. Equipped with sensors and a built-in processor, and a hotspot, they offer the end user information that’s derived and interpreted from the data they collect.

IoT sensors perform a lot of tasks, some that replace mundane, routine work and others that have enabled new possibilities. For example, the video camera in your smartphone is a sensor that captures images. Also on your smartphone is the GPS sensor that provides your location on the map. The gyroscope/accelerometer determines the angle of the phone from the ground, and movement to plot your map correctly. This is the science behind how your Google Maps can behave like a Harry Potteresque Marauder’s Map.

The use of sensors in consumer devices caught on easily. There were two areas where sensors lent themselves to a range of products: health monitoring and security devices. With security devices, audio and video sensors now got smarter, improving surveillance. WIth health, however, it introduced the possibility of monitoring and detecting problems faster. With faster access to medical intervention, it has taken off in popularity. The rate of development has been phenomenal and IoT devices are able to provide readings that match non IoT devices. The potential of sensors and IoT devices to provide helpful statistics is exciting for both manufacturers and consumers. For instance, monitoring of breathing was possible with medical equipment in hospitals. But now, IoT has enabled smart devices to monitor breathing, at home, and without anything connected to the body. Artificial intelligence works in the backend, processing the breathing rates, to offer a record of breathing patterns and indicate breathing difficulties.

Take sleep monitoring. To detect sleep apnea, the conventional test was to have the person sleep under observation in the hospital. With IoT, the person is able to self-detect this, at home, with a sleep monitor!  

All IoT devices rely on an internet connection to transfer the collected data, which is where the smartphone app comes into play. The smartphone app enables the IoT device to connect to an internet connection, serving as an interface between a local internet connection and the device, and also between the device and the user.

Teething issues

Because it’s still a new technology, no one’s got it perfect yet. There’s learning along the way, some expected but plenty that’s not.  Even leading tech companies have stumbled when it comes to set up, and addressing customer issues. For instance, audio quality came up as an issue with the early smart home devices. Now, Google Home comes with 2 mics while Amazon Echo has 7! But perhaps the one area that’s still a bone of contention with customers is the absence of a plug and play option. IoT devices need set up time.

Setting up an IoT device

When you buy an IoT device, it comes with a set-up requirement. On a good day, the set up will be a breeze and take no more than five minutes. It’s far more common to find the set up a little tedious, since there are multiple steps to get through:

Registration: Most IoT devices require a login. This is to personalize and customize the experience.

Connecting the IoT device to the smartphone app: This series of steps allows the device to make the connection with the smartphone, in preparation for the next step. The IoT devices come with their own hotspot, which facilitates this connection.

Connecting device to the home network: Once the app is synced with the device, the next steps are to facilitate the IoT connection with your home internet connection.

Helpfully, IoT devices use LED lights as indicators to inform how you are progressing with set up. As long as the home network remains the same, the device will reconnect if connection or power is lost. If you change the WiFI network, you’ll have to redo the setup once again.

Router requirements

One of the main roadblocks during setup is related to the router network. Most routers offer dual band networks of 2.4Ghz or 5 GhZ network. The difference between the two is the penetrative range – 2.4GhZ has a penetrative range, which means if your router is in the Study and the IoT baby monitor is in the nursery, the connection will still happen. On a 5Ghz network, there is no penetrative range which would mean the IoT device must be placed in the same room as the router.

While smart home devices may run on a 5GhZ network, where the router is located in the living room along with the device, in the case of baby monitors, this just won’t work. This is the reason why we insist on the 2.4 GhZ network, and not because the device is less than adequate or worse, faulty.

To read more on baby monitors and tech, click here

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