Why Precise Optics Is Vital to the Growth of the Internet of Things


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Fiber optics provide unmatched advantage when it comes to the Internet of Things. It provides more security with hundreds of separate sensing points.

As the Internet of Things world expands, people start to see a lot of connected devices’ ability to see the world around to understand the surroundings better. Most of the machine learning abilities of the IoT devices today are a direct result of computer vision capacities that have evolved into the ability of recognizing real world objects.

To recognize objects in the real world, the computers and devices should have the computer equivalent of eyes, otherwise known as cameras. For the IoT, there’s going to be a growth in the demand for quality optics to enhance the power consumption and accuracy of the devices. The camera systems nowadays do not cut it much of the camera systems and vary greatly in image quality.

The unequalled advantage of fiber optics is that, unlike discrete sensors that need to be placed on the precise detection space, linear fiber sensors use the whole length as a continuous detector for providing hundreds of separate sensing points.

The benefits of using fiber optics for communications are very well-known. The less known is that the same kinds of fibers could give a remote warning of conditions that lead to possible losses. While the technology is used already in apps like oil and gas drilling operations and fire detection in highway tunnels wherein averting adverse situations is vital, it is hugely untapped by another industry that is greatly focused on prevention, like insurance for instance. Insurers could profit by an inclusion of fiber options sensing in their data-driven, IoT loss control resources.
The rationale of fiber options use in the insurance IoT is as simple as the famous adage: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Linear fiber sensing systems could be utilized to exactly predict where and when preventive action would be needed, lowering the risk of losses as well as reducing the costs of maintenance. The systems monitor in real time how machinery is functioning, determine changing conditions, process data to predict wear, anticipate possible failure and avoid other high-risk instances.

The fiber optics capabilities are particularly relevant in specific IoT apps that are already popular these days. The first two that come to mind are drone and automotive. Both verticals are very popular areas of innovation for machine learning as well as artificial intelligence fields and both need numerous cameras. The reason that both drones and cars need multiple cameras is that no individual camera could see 360 degrees around any object and for full environmental awareness, it requires numerous cameras. Meaning that one has to constantly keep all cameras on and regularly trying to detect objects to prevent or use for contextual purposes.

In terms of self-driving and piloted driving cars and drones, the role that optics play in safety is huge. Most vehicles rely heavily on cameras around to see the lines, other vehicles, street signs and most of all pedestrians. With quality optical systems, a great self-driving car could outperform a human driver in avoiding accident of other vehicles and people. Sometimes it is difficult to see people as they’re partially obstructed by other objects. However, a well-tuned precise optical system could help the computer vision algorithms inside a self-driving car to see a person even with only one appendage showing. With lower quality optical systems, a computer may be unable to determine specific objects fast enough as body parts and will not be as safe and effective.

Today, computers, smart phones and tablets are connected to the internet, with the development of telecommunications technologies. The network supported by fiber optic cable is the best solution with significant advantages, such as:
1. Security. Fiber optic network is the most secure one. It will be quite possible to attach a copper line to hack into the system. Nevertheless, as the fiber optic is made out of glass, and the only way of hacking into the system is to break it, which will cause the entire system to go down and alert if the system is hacked. With most things connected to the web, security is a critical thing to take into account in the IoT reality, and fiber optic could support the demands.

2. High bandwidth and speed. The signals of transmitted on fiber optics runs at a speed of light, which could not be achieved through other medium at present. Fiber optics also enable much longer transmission distance as well as high signal rates compared to any other medium. Fiber optics network removes one large obstacle on the way to the internet of things.

3. No electromagnetic interference. If and when fiber optic cables have to be run in close or near to an electrical machinery, particularly ones with high-frequency noises, fiber connectivity enables controlling signals to be carried without interference or error, making fiber the number one choice for the internet of things’ network.

Without doubt, as fiber optics pave the way to the Internet of Things, the IoT would drive massive build-out of supporting optical infrastructure.


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