Here I offer a framework dividing IoT into sensors and actuators.
I propose stealing the MEMS sensors-and-actuators and applying it to IoT devices, not unlike Jobs stealing that quote from Picasso
What’s important about MEMS, and what’s most applicable to IoT, is that both are transducers: devices that change energy from one form into another form.
Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are computer chips with moving parts that are typically divided into sensors and actuators.
That’s the key to MEMS, IoT, and transducers in general: going between energy in the form of electrical data signals that we can easily manipulate and energy we enjoy in the form of the light we see, the music we hear, or the vibrating pulses we feel.
A sensor transforms interesting, useful energy into electrical data.
By contrast, an actuator transforms electrical data into interesting, useful energy.
Our smartphones are full of transducers — the camera and microphone are sensors whereas the speakers and screen are actuators.
The most popular examples of IoT devices are wearable activity trackers, you can think of Jawbone and Fitbit, as well as smart home devices, like Hue and Nest.
IoT needs more actuators
First, we recognize that although IoT sensors provide useful data, it’s only IoT actuators that provide the So What that the market is seeking.
And second, we see a major challenge in IoT today: there are many more sensors than actuators.
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