I&M in the Internet-of-Things Era
Hot I&M Topics in the IoT Framework

Bruno Andò

The term Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection and interaction of many devices and objects to the Internet, in addition to traditional laptops and mobile devices.

I remember a first experiment in 1995, aimed to remotely connect two measurement stations equipped with standard instrumentation (scope, waveform generator, multimeter) through the Internet. The aim of such activity was two-fold: the remote control of a measurement station and the synergic interaction and data exchange between the two stations. The question is: was this a first example of IOT? Talking about IOT, two main scenarios must be accounted for: Short Range IoT including devices connected within a range of 100 m; and Wide Area IoT, including devices connected through smartphones. IOT applications belonging to the last category involve Massive M2M (Machine to Machine) devices, e.g., sensors for agriculture or smart cities, and systems for Critical IoT contexts, e.g., remote surgery applications, fully automated vehicles and industry 4.0.

Hot topics in the IOT framework are related to the measurement of quality of massive data produced by connected devices (sensors, instrumentation), latency in connectivity and data transmission, and the assessment of the actual number of devices connected in order to estimate the potential demands in terms of communication infrastructure. Privacy, security, interoperability, numbering and standardization are other IOT related topics worthy of investigation.

The IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society has always been attentive to the strict connection between IOT and the instrumentation and measurement world. Sponsored conferences, such as Measurement and Networking, and many papers covering different aspects and subjects of the IOT have been published in Instrumentation and Measurement Magazine and the Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement.

This issue of the Magazine aims to provide specific examples of IOT related measurement subjects. I would like to thank the Guest Editor for this Special Issue, Prof. Ricardo Jardim- Goncalves, Full Professor at the New University of Lisbon, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, and a Principal Investigator at UNINOVA–Instituto de Desenvolvimento de Novas Tecnologia. This is the last issue planned for 2019, and we are working now on the 2020 publications. I would like to thank all of the authors who have valuably contributed to this years' issues. All of the contributors were great at addressing challenging and timely topics, and I'm sure our readership appreciates their efforts. Thanks a lot to all of the reviewers who guaranteed a transparent and efficient peer review process for each article published in this Magazine. Anyway, ending the year with six such well-edited issues is also credited to the work of our editorial team, so thanks a lot to Kristy Virostek and Allen Press for the great job.

Some great news for 2020 is the expected publication of a couple of electronic issues of the Magazine, in addition to the six traditional printed issues...but much more than this is coming.


Guest Editorial - Instrumentation and Measurement in the Internet-of-Things

Ricardo Jardim-Goncalves

The use of sensors and actuators as a way of controlling cyber-physical systems in integrated networks of digital devices has been referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). The term IoT became popular in the late 1990s after it came up with several technologies related to the development and automation of sensors connected to the World Wide Web. Recent developments in wireless sensor networks have driven the expansion of IoT applications in a variety of areas like in industry, home, cities and healthcare. Actually, IoT technologies offer several possibilities by providing efficient and real-time operations over the Internet. However, the integration of many standalone IoT systems over the Internet introduces many challenges that require instrumentation and measurement practice to ensure the accuracy required in the application environment. For example, the advent of Industry 4.0 intends to optimize production, which will introduce new hybrid business models and exploit smart technologies while accelerating innovation cycles. Thus, several efforts have been made in industry to seek automatic cyber-physical interconnection between the virtual and physical worlds by linking the data acquired from the shop floor to manufacturing execution systems.

This special issue brings a set of papers contributing to the advances in the state of the art and application in some of the main aspects related to research and development in measurement and instrumentation in the IoT. A novel framework that contributes for faster and more precise implementation of IoT solutions is proposed on self-test of high-speed Analog-to-Digital converters. As well, a new collaborative IoT-gateway architecture is suggested in support of more reliable and cost-effective measurements. The adoption of the new technologies 5G IoT is discussed, contributing for a visionary new era of communications and measurements in IoT. In the application domain, a smart pen-shaped digital multimeter system based on IoT and cloud is suggested, and a case study is presented and discussed on contaminants detection and classification through a customized IoT-based platform. A survey on supportive IoT technologies for people with dementia is described, together with analytics of data ingested in fog context setting. A remote laboratory design and implementation as a measurement and automation experiential learning opportunity is proposed. The final paper proposes a methodology and its associated software to support satellite functional testing.

Some of the promising research directions on this cutting-edge topic provide further possible directions to be addressed, as well as discoveries to create competitive technological innovation for digital engineering. Hence, instrumentation and measurement in the IoT domain require efficient mechanisms with a unified view of precision properties that must be preferably applied in advance to ensure the reliable use of sensors and actuators in IoT enabled networks. Such future trends have the potential to address precision concerns, which is one of the most important aspects of a full IoT adoption. Although digital platforms are comprised of technologies incorporating components directly related to IoT, such as 5G, edge computing, IoT and low-cost communication, these technologies will create more unpredictable and disruptive advances for humans, where instrumentation and measurement must once again be challenged. They will allow the gap to be filled between the precision of electronic devices and the accuracy of the data in very truthful integrated networks of digital devices able to provide awareness by the use of applications on top of the data received from the physical world.


The print magazine includes a schematic illustration.