Internet of Things
Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics
- © Fraunhofer IML
Alterable Real-Time Logistic Systems on the Basis of Intelligent Agents
»Internet of Things« - a Concept, a Vision, a New Point of View
The basic idea is simple: Packets, pallets and containers are labeled with a chip which stores product information and additionally the product destination. Like data streams in the Internet shipments find their way to the destination themselves. If a shipment arrives at a sorting-machine, it communicates the place of destination to it and is classified and transported to the destination. These processes run fast and autonomously without a central instance.
The Vision of the »Internet of Things«
The life cycle time of a plant is shrinking. It always has to be customized to the logistic process. This operation becomes easier with the »Internet of Things«.
Standardized components with a distributed intelligence of its own (entities) enable a partial initial startup of individual components. Local breakdowns only impact the involved entities. The »Internet of Things« permits an adaption of an existing system to new conditions.
The Internet – a Technical Model
The web is a common day to day phenomenon. A mouse click provides the linked information: at once, at a reasonable price and up to date. It doesn’t matter if data come from New York, from Berlin or from another place on the world. Global nets with standards like the TCP/IP protocol (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) provide the smooth data exchange from one computer to another.
The Internet evolves into an omnipresent medium. Networking is not only limited to computers but also is more and more usual for all things surrounding us. The way to »Ubiquitous Computing« - the availability of artificial intelligence at any place - and to »Ambient Intelligence« in the sense of an intelligent surrounding which adjusts itself to human needs is presaged.
RFID - Broadcasting Tags and more
The base technology for networking between goods, products and their surrounding is RFID - Radio Frequency Identification. This technology uses radio transmission to read data from labels - the tags – without contact and to write to them. So data holds directly at the product. In this way processes in logistics and in many other fields of our daily life, e. g. in medication supply become simplified.
Things know their way.
»Internet of Things« has been named by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft one of twelve top research themes. It is one decisive step ahead of the mere storage of data on an RFID tag. RFID tags and the goods to which they are attached become objects with an intelligence of their own. They find their way through the »Internet of Things« themselves and control the systems in which they move.
This development takes place in several steps which can be illustrated clearly using the example of logistics and material flow control.