Taking advantage of this
groundswell of support and production is becoming increasingly
important for IT leaders and digital businesses worldwide. However,
it can be difficult to find a single source that provides a useful,
clear guide to IoT architecture and design.
It’s a big decision to take the
plunge into the world of IoT, whether you’re using or developing.
Here’s what you need to know about the process of IoT
The Anatomy of an IoT Solution
IoT solutions are diverse. Every
company and application has unique needs and problems that their
IoT solution will need to address. IoT design must bridge the gap
between the physical world of Operations Technology (OT) and the
digital world of Information Technology (IT). Accordingly, each
solution will be customized to fit local requirements.
Just a few of the anatomical
elements that a particular IoT solution may need to take into
- Things (OT):
An IoT solution needs something to
control, or it’s just another program. The thing or object the
solution controls can be anything from a room to a refrigerator to
- Sensors (OT):
For an IoT solution to manage a
thing, it needs to keep tabs on the state of that thing. Depending
on the context, sensors may monitor temperature, weight, speed,
pressure, light, location, or any other element of the
- Actuators (OT):
Once a device has identified the
state of an object, it can then work to change that state. An
actuator can turn on lights, activate a motor, or adjust a
thermostat, along with other jobs.
devices (OT): For an IoT device
to actually communicate with the Internet, it needs a communication
device. This might be anything from a mesh network to a mobile
An agent connects the OT and IT
elements of an IoT solution. Agents are components that connect
sensors and actuators to the Cloud, helping process commands and
deciding when to transfer data.
(IT): An IoT device needs an
application in order to control it. The application allows users to
input data and keep things secure. Input data is any command given
by the person in charge of an IoT device.
- Analytics (IT):
For devices that work to learn from
their users, analytics programs are crucial. They track device
usage and collate data to learn patterns and habits to better
predict future needs.
The process of bridging the
physical and digital worlds requires care and dedication to achieve
professional results. The sheer number and diversity of use cases
and potential operational needs lead to a broad array of IoT
Endpoints. Each project will see different combinations of
communication protocols, data management, and analytics
technologies, as well as corresponding deployment
The Components of an IoT Project
The parts of every IoT task will
be different from other projects. However, there are still some
skill set components that are always important. These skills
comprise the foundation of IoT development and the core of any IoT
Embedded Software Development
For an IoT device to function
appropriately, it relies on a combination of software and hardware.
As a result, embedded processors which contain software to
facilitate communication between the device and associated firmware
are a necessity. Without a solid set of embedded software, sensors
and actuators may not function and the device may not work at all.
Common embedded software languages include C and C++.
If there’s one tool that’s vital
to the majority of IoT devices, it’s wireless networking. As IoT
projects proliferate and become more mobile, wireless device
networking is essential to avoid cables and unnecessary tethering.
Understanding IoT implementation and managing wireless networking
IoT systems is a fundamental element of any successful IoT
In addition, IoT projects often
require more complex networks than other devices. Many of these
systems involve a large number of individually connected items,
such as sensors, cameras, and actuators. Designing a network that
can handle each of these devices involves a lot of work. You need
to adjust to each of the standards, protocols, and technologies
that are currently utilized in the field. Doing so while keeping a
network secure is a fine-tuned balancing act.
Machine Learning and Data Management
The rise of machine learning has
revolutionized many technologies, and none more so than IoT.
Machine learning and its associated artificial intelligence help
devices in a given IoT network make smart decisions based on data.
The machine learning processes assist to identify patterns,
anomalies, and irrelevant data.
Accordingly, implementing data
management, machine learning, and AI into an IoT project is
crucial. Any given project may require only a basic level of AI.
Yet, as the technology continues to improve, it is going to grow in
importance within every field, IoT included.
Stages of Development in IoT
The general stages of developing
an IoT process typically follow four steps:
- Networking things
- Developing sensor data aggregation and data
- Producing edge IT systems
- Managing and storing data
1. Networking things
Before anything else can be
done, a developer must connect sensors and actuators into a
network. For an IoT device to do its job, it must be able to sense
the environment and actuate change. Determining the sensors and
actuators needed for the project and connecting them is the first
stage of the development process.
2. Developing sensor data aggregation and data conversion
The next step moves away from
the physical reality of sensors and actuators. IoT architecture
requires systems to actually process the data from these
These systems include sensor
data aggregation methods and analog-to-digital data conversion.
It’s vital to collect the data and convert it into something that
can be processed. That data can then be fed into learning
algorithms in order to develop more refined systems.
Internet gateways and data
acquisition systems are created during this stage. They connect the
device to the Internet and squeeze data for better
3. Producing edge IT systems
An edge IT system is a program
that manages some of the data processing before anything is
uploaded to the Cloud. An IoT device can log an enormous amount of
data in a short period of time. Sending all of that information to
the Cloud is inefficient if it’s possible to complete some
The third stage of IoT
development is the creation of these edge IT systems. The
architecture to process and learn from data is added to the local
devices. This not only helps save time and effort, but also
prevents constant massive data uploads to the Cloud.
4. Managing and storing data
Once the local aspects of a
project are developed, it’s time to build the remote and
cloud-based elements of an IoT system. These are the programs that
will finish processing and analyzing the data while storing it
This step may also include the
so-called “fifth stage” of IoT development. This stage is about
building protocols to reach out to the user. IoT projects that
aren’t aiming for complete automation can involve the consumer’s
input at this stage. Depending on the data that’s processed in the
Cloud, the program may ask the user to send commands to the device.
The user can then command it to complete tasks, such as adjusting
thermostat settings or unlocking a door.
Who Can Help Design and Implement an IoT Strategy?
IoT projects are among the most
complex in the industry, as they involve coordinating both OT and
IT elements. Any IoT project benefits from including the expertise
of four types of IoT solution providers.
1. IoT Developer
Developers created the programs
and applications that devices run on. IoT developers focus
- the programs, APIs, and languages that work
best to power complicated networks of devices.
- implementing analytics
- use tools to manage the vast amounts of data
produced by the devices, and
- integrate data filtering to keep systems
Without IoT developers, there is
no IoT software to connect devices into an integrated
2. IoT Architect
IoT architects oversee the
spectrum of a given project. Rather than producing individual
programs or components, they develop the plan for the device as a
whole. That includes choosing the IoT platforms, sensors, and
actuators that are needed. Architects also decide how they should
be connected to meet the needs of the client.
Most IoT architects have a Ph.D.
in the field or extensive experience in multiple aspects of IoT
development. Architects are the most likely to act as IoT
3. IoT Embedded Systems Designer
Most IoT devices require unique
embedded systems to interface with each other and the Cloud. IoT
embedded systems designers build the internal, device-specific
firmware that facilitates communication between physical hardware
and the Cloud.
A deep understanding of both
physical and digital systems is essential to ensure that there are
no problems with these basic components.
4. IoT Solutions Engineer
IoT developers produce the
software that powers devices, while IoT solutions engineers choose
and build the devices themselves. They decide what types of
sensors, actuators, and wireless connections should be made to meet
a customer’s needs.
An IoT solutions engineer can
work with IoT architects to help clients identify their needs. From
there, they can find solutions that efficiently use physical space
and resources. They can also work to innovate, improving existing
systems with better component parts.
Who Benefits from IoT?
IoT technology is rapidly being
adopted in a variety of fields. IoT solutions offer flexibility and
customization options that help different industries improve in
ways that get real results. Some of the fields seeing benefits from
IoT technology include:
Managing transportation and
transport fleets is vital to the Logistics industry. IoT technology
can help improve:
- Route optimization to increase
- Security, surveillance, and safety of
- Real-time traffic, conditions, and performance
Many patients benefit from the
constant monitoring of their condition, and professionals can
improve patient care with better information. IoT technology helps
- Immediate reporting and monitoring of a
- Automatic data assortment and
- Tracking and alerts in case of emergent
Instantaneous analysis of
customer behavior allows retail businesses to improve the shopping
experience and increase revenue. IoT solutions help:
- Improve the customer experience online and
- Boost revenue by encouraging customers to
remain in the store or on the website
- Manage inventory and staff tracking
with innovative commercial IoT
solutions like Novotech’s MeroSupply
Tighter deadlines and more
competition make efficiency essential in the manufacturing
industry. IoT applications can keep the production flow smooth and
efficient while monitoring inventory and development cycles. Other
- Better quality control
- Instant production flow feedback
- Optimized packaging and delivery
As agriculture continues to
modernize, IoT technology can assist by:
- Monitoring climate conditions in
- Automating greenhouse conditions like
temperature and humidity
- Managing crop conditions
Smart Homes and Workplaces
Finally, smart IoT devices are
improving and simplifying the way people live their everyday lives.
Implementing IoT solutions allows individuals to:
- Control access to different spaces
- Manage appliances remotely
- Monitor and control home conditions at the
touch of a button
The Internet of Things and the
technology behind it are improving daily. Whether you’re
considering an IoT solution or you already work with IoT systems or
design, it’s worthwhile to stay up-to-date on the
This technology is already
changing the world and industries that range from manufacturing to
healthcare. There’s never been a better time to implement IoT
solutions than today.