The RIoT community is quick to say that the Internet of Things is really about people – our innovations, our solutions, our partnerships. But Paul Peterson, Senior Field Applications Engineer with Arrow Electronics, took this a step further yesterday when he had the RIoT community act out an IoT device and network. Different people were cast as devices, routers, etc., and the exercise became a stage for the basic function of IoT.

Paul started by appointing a group of people as a “thing” – a smart device (for this example, a smart refrigerator). As the “thing” fridge group huddled together, Paul designated more groups – a modem, a WiFi Access Point, a Service Provider Router, the Cloud, a Cloud Server, and finally, a Data Dashboard on the Cloud Server.

Together, the audience picked an IP address for our cloud server (creatively we picked, and then we started sending data.

The “thing” smart fridge group wrote the IP address on an envelope, wrote a note about a data point (ex. fridge temperature: 37°), then put the note in the envelope. This data “packet” was carried by the modem group to the WiFi Access Point. Watch it here:

Not recognizing the IP, the access point shared the packet with the service provider router, which then sent it to the cloud. The cloud server was able to direct the data to the correct dashboard, which tracked the data point (in this case, the interior temperature of the smart fridge).

This process was repeated several times in the course of a few minutes, to demonstrate the devices and connectivity required in the Internet of Things.

The session, An Introduction to the Internet of Things, did break away from the basics and discuss some exciting initiatives, including:

– Cellular for IoT, and emerging tech like NBIoT/CatM1
– Data analytics, and the sheer data (millions of terabytes on a daily basis) being generated by IoT
– The data economy, and new business opportunities emerging from this space
– Gateway technology, computing on the edge

But the hands-on focus on foundational IoT concepts was a throwback to the basic nature of IoT, giving participants a chance to ask questions about both fundamental network concepts and potential innovations on the horizon.


Arrow Electronics is a global provider of products, services and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. Arrow serves as a supply channel partner for more than 150,000 original equipment manufacturers, value-added resellers, contract manufacturers, and commercial customers through a global network. The company maintains over 300 sales facilities and 45 distribution and value-added centers, serving over 80 countries.

RIoT is a non-profit economic development organization capturing and creating IoT opportunities locally, regionally, and globally. The next official RIoT event is Building Intelligent Infrastructures with IIC at SAS Campus on 02/15. Follow RIoT at for news and updates about partners like Arrow Electronics and more upcoming Lunch & Learn events.