logo BrailleNet

10th European e-Accessibility Forum
e-Accessibility in a connected world

30 May 2016, 9am-6pm
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Paris

  Version française
Printable version

The Internet of Things: Technologies enabling objects to connect and communicate with one another

Nathalie MITTON (Lille)

Speaker's information

photo Nathalie Mitton

Nathalie Mitton graduated in engineering in 2003 and earned her doctorate at the INSA in Lyon in 2006. She was appointed a director of studies at the University of Lille 1 in 2011. She has been an INRIA researcher since 2006 and became director of the INRIA FUN research team in 2012. Her research focuses on the mechanisms of communication and self-organising wireless technologies of the Internet of Things, in particular, sensor networks, wireless robots and RFID systems. Among other things, she is responsible for implementing the Equipex FIT platform. She is active on numerous program committees and involved in the organisation of scientific events.



"In this world, you are no longer alone, anywhere"

Internet of Things council (see http://www.theinternetofthings.eu/)

In the Internet of Things, each object must have a unique identifier in order to be able to communicate. For this, a technology known as RFID (Radio-frequency identification) is used. RFID tags are already widely deployed in our day to day lives and can be found, for example, in metro tickets, ski passes, and luggage tags used by airlines.

All RFID tags store a serial number. Some also contain a microchip attached to an antenna. All RFID tags are passive; in order to interact with these tags, an electromagnetic reader is needed. The reader converts the radio waves reflected back from the RFID tag into digital information that can be processed by computers.

RFID systems use many different frequencies. Radio waves behave differently at different frequencies. Ultra-High Frequencies can transmit a signal up to 10 metres.

In order to gather physical and contextual information related to these RFID tags, wireless sensors are used. These are small and battery-dependant and can only transmit information over a small distance to economise battery power. Multiple micro-sensors capable of collecting and transmitting contextual information autonomously can be deployed in order to create a wireless sensor network. In this way data can be transmitted from sensor to sensor until it reaches a central station. Battery dependency varies according to the density of the network and the amount of information transmitted.

The most common wireless networks used to communicate this information between RFID tags, sensors and readers are WiFi, Bluetooth and low-rate wireless personal area networks (LR-WPANs). WiFi is widely used but consumes a great deal of energy. Lower frequency and lower energy solutions, like Lora and Sigfox which can last for several years, are emerging, but these are currently not as fast as WiFi. Solutions using light or phonons to transmit information are also being investigated.

While seeking methods to optimise RFID tags, sensors and wireless networks, researchers are also looking at ways to give this IoT technology the means to move and act in the environment. RFID sensors are being integrated into wireless robots that can operate autonomously in areas where human access is limited. Researchers are working with manufacturers to develop algorithms that will allow robots to self-deploy and cooperate to achieve specific tasks. These could be used in the health sector or contribute to the “smart city” with the aim of improving living conditions for all.

Each new technology or interaction brings new challenges such as how these objects interact, coexist and share frequencies with each other. It is the researcher’s role to find ways to overcome these challenges by finding cost-effective, energy-effective solutions that are operational, interoperable and improve the overall quality of life for all.

Watch Nathalie Mitton's presentation on YouTube (in French). For subtitles, please use the CC button, and if you require a transcript do not hesitate to contact us at contact[at]braillenet.org.


Retour à la liste des articles
Help - Site map - Contact