The impending growth of the Internet of Things with the advent of fifth generation (5G) networks brings with it the challenge of how to keep track of the sheer number of mobile devices on those networks. At Tufts University, engineers have come up with an improved algorithm for localizing and tracking these devices that would rely on the devices distributing the task among themselves, creating a scalable solution. With a projected 50 billion connected products expected to be part of the Internet of Things by 2020, this distributed solution could reduce the critical strain on the networks.
While current systems utilize anchor points (such as cell towers or satellites) to communicate directly with the device, the exponential growth of the number of devices would require an equal growth in the number of anchors and an increased density. Decentralizing the solution by allowing the sensing and calculations to be done locally on each device eliminates the need for central coordination of data at each anchor point.
“The need to provide location awareness of every device, sensor, or vehicle, whether stationary or moving, is going to figure more prominently in the future,” said Usman Khan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts University. “There will be applications for tracking assets and inventory, healthcare, security, agriculture, environmental science, military operations, emergency response, industrial automation, self-driving vehicles, robotics – the list is endless. The virtually limitless potential of the Internet-of-Things requires us to develop smart decentralized algorithms.”
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