Some time ago, we, with partners from Samsung IT Academy, launched an open online lecture hall Samsung Innovation Campus on the Internet of Things. In video lectures for students and beginners, we decided to give the correct, from our point of view, understanding of this area. And this is not about the philistine idea that the Internet of Things is smart kettles and talking refrigerators and not about the pathos of digitalization and the global prospects of Industry 4.0 (a lot has been said here without us). This is about the fact that the Internet of Things is a serious industrial area with really complex, large-scale tasks.
What were the past weekly lectures about (records available on YouTube), and what else we want to tell you about in the framework of this small open educational project, read under the cut.
The Internet of Things in Russia is a young field, and universities have not yet managed to create educational material for it. Working in the IoT requires knowledge of several engineering disciplines. But after several years of operating IoT systems, a growing market has understood why it is important to train personnel, and how the efforts of an architect save a lot of money on a scale even in hundreds of devices.
Not everything is smooth with teaching materials and, in general, a look at the Internet of Things. This is not surprising, because the topic is vast, and the authors write about it in the private context of their competencies and interests. For example, there is a popular approach in which the Internet of Things is viewed exclusively as a telecom industry.
We are closer to the position of the organizers of the InoThings ++ conference, which took place for two years in 2018-2019 (recordings of the speeches of the speakers here in free access on YouTube): each presentation revealed the business or technological side of the Internet of Things in Russia, and sometimes both. The speakers were carefully selected and had specific experience: they themselves participated in the development and implementation of solutions. However, these materials are difficult for beginners. They are designed for a trained audience who not only knows the terminology, but also has an understanding of the technologies involved. Is there something of a simpler level?
Samsung has been implementing an educational project since 2017 IT Academy, which has a track on the Internet of Things. This is an annual practice-oriented course for students of partner universities of the project, which consists mainly of case studies and laboratory work. At the moment, among the partners there are 22 universities throughout Russia. However, we are constantly asked the question: how to take part in a project if I am not a student of a partner university?
Lecture hall concept
This year we decided to move towards the general public and make an open lecture course. We opened an online IoT lecture hall and built a sequential bottom-up program for it. They did not come to such a decision immediately, several classifications were considered:
1. By system components,
2. By skills: hardware, software, data processing,
3. On project work and areas that are must-have, but they are above-project (for example, safety, design, standardization).
Ksenia Sizova, project manager at RedBees, took over the main task of developing the lecture program. It was Xenia’s practical experience that was very important for us, she is perfectly familiar with this business and its specifics in Russia. In addition, she also has methodological experience: for the second year she has been supervising the training program. IoT AM – a project for students of St. Petersburg universities, aimed at training startups and business-oriented teams.
We decided to cover approximately the following range of topics in the following order:
General overview of IoT systems
Project life cycle
Design and UX
It is easy to see that, in general, this list of topics repeats the typical structure of an IoT system and the general range of issues that need to be thought about in one way or another when creating it.
Next, we will talk about the implementation of this plan, and what we managed to do within the lecture hall so far.
All lectures are available for viewing in playlist Samsung Innovation Campus – IoT Lectorium.
Lecture 1. Architecture and typology of IoT systems. Anton Kuropyatnik (Woodenshark), Ksenia Sizova (Red Bees)
The first lecture of the training course was delivered by Anton Kuropyatnik, Senior Product Manager at Woodenshark (IoT R&D), and Ksenia Sizova, Project Manager at Red Bees (IoT R&D).
In this lecture, Anton and Ksenia briefly talked about where, how, why and why IoT is used, what IoT systems are, their components and main functions. Dismantled the IoT system from “simple” to “complex”, decomposed on examples of use in everyday life and industrial areas.
Lecture 2. How to choose IoT technology in order to get the most out of the advantages and not suffer from disadvantages. Anton Kuropyatnik (Woodenshark), Ksenia Sizova (Red Bees), Yuri Sizov (RedBees)
In the second lecture, Anton and Ksenia were joined by Yuri Sizov, General Director of Red Bees.
Our lecturers focused on the first two components of the IoT network – endpoints and data transmission channels to the base station / edge router. We briefly reviewed the technologies and protocols used in the IoT, told in more detail about their characteristics, pros and cons, as well as the main trends of use.
Lecture 3. Infrastructure of transport networks. Roman Andreev (SPbSUT).
Having studied the first two levels of the IoT system, we began to move on, and specifically devoted one lesson to telecommunications. At this lecture we had a special guest: Roman Andreev, Head of the Scientific and Educational Center “Wireless Infotelecommunication Networks” prof. M.A. Bonch-Bruevich is one of the few industry-specific telecom universities in the country.
During the lecture, the topologies of 2G / 3G / 4G networks, the main manufacturers of equipment and functional blocks of the network, the passage of authentication and calls in communication networks, the core of the network and the radio part, taking into account the allocation of frequency resources, were considered. If you have always dreamed of learning how an antenna works from the inside, then this lecture is for you.
Lecture 4. The software part of the IoT: what you need to know besides hardware. Dmitry Chudinov (Red Bees)
Here we conducted an experiment and arranged a “baptism of fire” for a student. Why not? You see, this example will inspire others. Dmitry Chudinov, a 4th year student, a trainee engineer at Red Bees (IoT R&D), a graduate of the IoT AM platform, made his debut in our lecture hall. Dmitry has demonstrated extensive knowledge and experience with existing IoT platforms.
In his lecture, Dmitry spoke about the architecture of the IoT software part, how to build and assemble his own platform, as well as what kind of gentleman’s set a developer of software for IoT solutions needs, and where he personally recommends to beginners to start.
Lecture 5. Cloud technologies in IoT solutions. Kirill Svyatov (UlSTU)
Developing the topic of cloud technologies, Kirill Svyatov, Dean of the Faculty of Information Systems and Technologies of UlSTU (Ulyanovsk), our partner university, spoke at the lecture hall. In his lecture, Kirill Valerievich examined typical architectures of software solutions for working with data in the IoT, edge and cloud computing technologies using the example of IBM Cloud. The second part of the lesson was a workshop: the option of building a service for collecting, analyzing and visualizing data received from IoT devices using a code-less approach based on Node-RED in the IBM Cloud was implemented.
A very useful and very intense lesson with an example of a device – a dishwasher sending data. A lot was explained – the basics of working with IBM Cloud using the example of the IBM Quickstart sample, the Cloudant NoSQL database was demonstrated with a short comment on what is the essence of this approach and what is the difference from standard relational databases in relation to IoT tasks, and finally, it is shown access to the IBM Watson machine learning system and work in the Jupyter Notebook. That is, a “bridge” has been laid to other areas of Computer Science – we at the Samsung IT Academy just have training track by AI.
Bonus: lectures on subject areas
We sometimes diluted our course with overview lectures, giving the necessary context. After all, it is important not only to gain knowledge, but also to learn about the practice of applying this knowledge in a particular subject area.
“Intelligent Transport Systems of the Smart City”, Igor Yezhkov (Softline)
Igor Yezhkov, Head of Intelligent Transport Systems at Softline, introduced us to the concept of the Smart City. We have known Igor Gennadievich for a long time, once we spent together with him hackathon on NB-IoT at the radio faculty of UrFU.
What is Smart City? These are smart intersections, traffic lights, surveillance cameras, but also something more: a technological approach to urbanism that simply cannot be implemented as a collection of disparate services. All this gives an effect only in combination, when data is collected and visualized on a single platform. The main thesis, expressed by the speaker, was precisely that – there is no need to reinvent the wheel, study foreign experience in this area, see what ready-made platforms are.
Bonus: lectures on technology
Another option is to lecture about a specific technology, be it a communication protocol, platform, or hardware device. This is a very cool format, especially if accompanied by a workshop.
“Interaction of devices via Bluetooth Low Energy”, Oleg Pekhov (TUSUR)
At Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics (TUSUR), our program is implemented at the Faculty of Security. Therefore, it is not surprising that a packet sniffer was considered at the lecture on BLE as part of the workshop. In addition, the lecture examined the principles and features of Bluetooth Low Energy technology, its difference from classic Bluetooth, the types of devices and methods of connecting them. The lecture was conducted by Oleg Pekhov, senior lecturer at the Department of Integrated Information Security of Electronic Computing Systems.
“SmartThings Platform for Smart Home”, Tatiana Volkova (Samsung Research Center)
The author of this text also took part in the lecture. I decided to show in the stream how to integrate your own device into the Samsung SmartThings smart home platform. The device is very simple – an ESP8266-based “smart light” that connects to the platform via WiFi. It sounds simple, but all this work takes about 40 minutes – you need to register your device within the platform, compile and download the firmware, configure the device authorization scheme, and make a key exchange. It turned out to be a whole thriller. Not everything worked the first time, but it still worked.
At the moment, our lecture hall is located approximately in the middle. What other lectures have we planned:
Economy of the IoT system as of 2021
The life cycle of an IoT project
Cybersecurity in the IoT: Examples of Exploits
As you know, in the abbreviation IoT, the letter S stands for security
Design and UX in IoT Solutions
Crash test of your IoT project: evaluating the idea for viability
Is there life after release? IoT system maintenance
Data Science in IoT
IoT certification: standards, regulations, and more
They will be led by different speakers, including, we will not be afraid of this word, one monster of modern IoT education, but we will not reveal the intrigue yet: after the lecture is over, we will write another post-update.
What other important topics have we not touched upon? What is missing in this thematic plan? Write your suggestions in the comments – how would you create an ideal Internet of Things lecture program for beginners?
Watch lectures as part of streams on Samsung IT Academy YouTube channel and see the archive in playlist Samsung Innovation Campus – IoT Lectorium. Ask questions to our lecturers, write your comments. Or maybe you yourself would like to give a lecture on your topic, which has not yet been announced – we are ready to give you the floor!
Tatiana Volkova, curator of the Internet of Things track of the social and educational program for universities “IT Academy Samsung”