Knowing the difference between a Subnet of Things and the Internet of Things
The terms ‘Subnet of Things’ (SoT) and ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) are both terms that describe specific ways of utilising to Machine-2-Machine (M2M) technologies.
M2M technologies are machines capable of connecting to one another through any communications channel; with offline examples emerging in the early 1900’s. In the 21st century however, most M2M technologies are connected to the internet to serve innumerable functions based on the transmission of data.
A Subnet of Things is a network of devices that converge around one or more central computing units. The devices all link to a central hub, constituted by one or more central computers, where information is compiled and transmitted to and from the devices, while the devices may also link to each other directly.
An example of this would be a series of black boxes installed in commercial delivery trucks operating through, and in the proximity of, a central depot. As these mobile assets progress through their delivery routes, they may transmit their coordinates and the volume of completed deliveries back to the hub, where a central mainframe compiles an accurate and up-to-date dataset.
This subnet of things is a prime example of how customer service can be directly enhanced through this modern M2M technology. With the central hub aware of how each truck is progressing, it becomes possible to project tighter delivery windows and even instantly alter the trucks’ routes in the event that they can be made faster or more efficient based on new data.
The Internet of Things is a far larger scale proposition however. This involves the interlinking of all of these connected devices beyond an immediate subnet to serve lateral functions. If black boxes were installed into every vehicle, for example, this data could be used by multiple parties in tandem with online weather sensors and geospatial data in order to accurately record traffic conditions. This up-to-the-minute data could in turn serve any number of road-related functions.
The difference between subnets and an IoT is therefore a question of scope and structure. Instead of connected devices merely converging around set central units, these devices also connect to a larger open network in the IoT to serve any range of functions based on this connectivity.
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