Any time there is a flurry of growth in a new technology it's sure to be an exciting time. Those of us who were around in the late 90's remember using similar words to describe this crazy new thing called the World Wide Web.
Crazy. Confusing. Overwelming. Complex.
The IoT is all of these. Crazy and exciting are two sides of the same coin.
If you are new to the IoT, you're facing a steep and ever-shifting learning curve. Let me give you a leg up on the first step by laying out a basic, generic IoT architecture.
1. Sensor / Thing / Device
We are talking about the Internet of Things, so it all starts with the thing. A thing can be a device or a sensor which provides data. The data could consist of:
- Pressure readings
- Temperature readings
- Ambient light levels
- Geolocation information
- Counters from manufacturing processes
- Images from a camera
- Accelerometer readings
The device could be mounted on a piece of manufacturing equipment or a vehicle, or worn on the body. Devices can be very simple, pushing out data only, or they can be more complex and receive data.
The next layer in our simple IoT architecture is the Device Edge. The purpose of the Edge is to act as the traffic cop between devices and where they connect to. The Edge provides:
- Device management
- A device hub
- Data collection
- Data aggregation
- Device security
- Event control
- Event routing
- Fault-tolerant connections to cloud
3. Data Intelligence
So the device provides data and the Edge routes it appropriately. Where does the data go now? Into a database where Data Intelligence can:
- Analyze it
- Run rules
- Trigger alerts
- Discover patterns
- Process batches
- Do Predictive Analysis
- Expose APIs
Our last layer is building applications to take advantage of the data intelligence we've gathered. These applications could be:
- Mobile apps
- Advanced machinery controls
- Hardware-specific (smart glasses, etc)
This is an admittedly simplified view of the IoT.
Some devices connect directly to the cloud. There's middleware that jumps across layers. In reality each layer comprises several sub-layers. And all layers have security and privacy concerns.
Feel free to Contact Us for a more in-depth conversation about possible IoT solutions for your business. We're always happy to scale that learning curve with you.