Internet of Things started as just being a luxury idea that you could adopt if you had the resources and the time for it. But then we saw this concept becoming so much more than just a luxury. In the past few years, IoT has taken the market by storm. It is no more a buzz word that people would use in webinars and articles. Thanks to the advancement in technology, IoT has spread its tentacles across all industries and solidified its position as an emerging technology. One that we cannot do without.
Once businesses started picking up on this idea, we started seeing more and more use cases where IoT could be beneficial for us. We now know of a million different ways that we can use IoT for domestic as well as business purposes. Experts are reporting that this is just the beginning and things are going to go much farther than anybody had anticipated.
What is IoT architecture?
So, what have you heard about IoT so far?
That you just have to connect all your devices and then you will be able to control all of them with your mobile?
In a nutshell, that is true. But things are rarely this simple. In reality, there is a lot more to a successful IoT project than that. There are various phases that a system has to go through before it is successful. There are two sides to an IoT system; the software side and the hardware side. As far as the software side is concerned, all you have to do is to contact an experienced and skilful IoT app development services provider and you are good to go. As far as the hardware side is concerned, it is a bit more difficult than that. IoT architecture must be built. IoT architecture is the framework that is concerned about the physical aspect of the technology. This includes all the components that will be used, the organization of the components, the physical configuration of the network, and the data that will be used.
The good thing is that there is no single way of doing it and every company can create an architecture that it deems fit for its operations. There’s no blueprint that you have to follow. You can create your own. That is because there are various businesses in the market and every business is different. There is no one-size-fits-all solution that can cater to all the businesses and provide them with the results that they are expecting.
There are some building blocks that every IoT system has. These are:
The three layers of IoT architecture
Like we said earlier, there is no single way of creating an IoT architecture, but there is a three-layer architecture that most businesses implement and it is widely known and accepted. The three layers are:
This is the outermost layer of the architecture. This refers to all your devices and sensors spread across your office or any other physical space. These devices collect the data that you will use later on. These devices include all the sensors and actuators that are in the environment and collecting data on your behalf.
The collection and delivery of data mean one thing: a network. This is the network that will transmit all the data collected by your devices. The network layer is concerned not only with the collection and transmission of data but also the processing of data. Devices connected in this layer are your servers and other network devices like routers, and more.
This is the back-end layer of the entire architecture. As a user, this is the layer that you will interact with the most. Whatever services you require from your IoT system, this layer will provide those services to you. For example, if you are running an IoT system in your office, you will use an app to send documents to the printer or change the temperature of the rooms, etc. All of this comes in the application layer.
The 4 stages of IoT architecture
Any IoT system deals with a lot of data coming in 24×7. This means that you need to have an architecture that can take the load and do the job easily. For this purpose, there are four main stages of any IoT system architecture:
These are the smart objects that will be working in and around your facilities. They can be cameras, valves, sensors, actuators, and more. They interact with the environment and collect data that you use for analysis and more. Not just analysis, you can take immediate steps to actively change something in the environment like switching off a light or turning on a valve, and more.
Data collected from all these devices has to be brought together and converted into a form that can be easily processed. That is where the internet gateway comes into play. Your IoT architecture should have a data acquisition system that can connect with all your devices, collect data, compile it in a prescribed form, and then present it to you.
Edge IT Systems
IoT systems produce a lot of data. This data requires a lot of bandwidth. Edge systems are the ones that perform this task so that the entire architecture doesn’t fall under the pressure. Edge systems use Machine Learning and other state-of-the-art technologies to collect and present the data.
Data Centres and Cloud Storage
This is the last stage of any IoT architecture. All the data that you have collected and aggregated needs safe and secure storage. Nowadays, most companies prefer cloud storage for all the benefits that it provides. One of the biggest benefits is that you don’t need to install the servers and drives to store huge amount of data. You can just select a cloud storage service and let them take care of the problem.
As a business owner in 2020, you cannot ignore the need for IoT architecture for your business. With the entire world going for personalization, an IoT system is exactly what you need to collect data about your customers as well as your employees and more and use it to your benefit.