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Internet of Things: Mumbai students embrace ‘next big thing’ with innovations

Students at various engineering institutes are trying their hands at smaller applications of IoT

education Updated: Dec 18, 2017 14:34 IST
Musab Qazi
Industries are collaborating with the colleges, hoping to use the potential of IoT to improve their facilities.
Industries are collaborating with the colleges, hoping to use the potential of IoT to improve their facilities. (Representational photo )

What do activity trackers, automated homes and smart cities have in common?

All these concepts were born out of a technological advancement called Internet of Things (IoT) — embedding physical devices with electronic devices and internet network which enables these objects to connect and exchange data. While engineers are still exploring the potential of IoT, it has also attracted the attention of students from engineering colleges in the city. It has been termed as “the next big thing”.

Many students, especially those pursuing computer science and electronics engineering, are coming up with innovative ideas to put this still technology — still in nascent stage — to use. Industries are collaborating with the colleges, hoping to use the potential of IoT to improve their facilities.

For example, Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Matunga, is working with L&T InfoTech on a three-year ‘industrial IoT solution’ project. As part of the project, the institute has designed a system to avoid damage and breakdown of turbines at wind farms.

“IoT is used for predictive maintenance and condition monitoring. It helps in predicting damage and breakdown of turbines, thus preventing financial loss to the industry,” said Faruk Kazi, professor at VJTI. The institute will now start working on a similar system for solar power plants.

According to Kazi, it took three years to develop an entire ecosystem around the idea of IoT. He said colleges are setting up IoT laboratories, as it has a vast potential — ranging from home automation to energy sector.

While the industrial IoT project is much larger in scale, students at various engineering institutes are trying their hands at smaller applications of IoT.

A group of students at Vivekananda Education Society’s Institute of Technology (VESIT), Chembur, recently designed an IoT-based system that disconnects power supply of defaulters. Using the system, data from an electricity metre is fed into a computer. When the unpaid bill exceeds a particular value, the consumer is issued a warning. After recurring non-payment, the supply is discontinued automatically.

“The system will prevent power theft,” said Sakshi Patil, a student from VESIT.

Similarly, a team from MH Saboo Siddik College of Engineering is working on a project to replace traditional switchboards with digital boards. These boards have a touchscreen and can be controlled through a mobile phone.

“These boards will prevent short circuits and electric shocks,” said Shivam Rai, a member of the team.

“IoT is said to be bringing a fourth industrial revolution. Due to its wide-ranging applications, an IoT laboratory can cost anywhere between Rs5,000 to Rs 5 crore,” he said.

As for students, their interest in the technology is fuelled by its novelty and seemingly vast applications. “IoT allows me to connect the things that were not connected to internet till now,” said Ashish Ubrani, a student at VJTI.

Ubrani and some of his classmates last year developed an IoT-based system that monitors the fluctuations in electricity supplied generated through solar panels. The project was among the runner-ups at Smart India Hackathon, a tech competition held by the central government last year.