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A Basic IoT Architecture

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.

But also?

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.

2. Edge

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

4. Applications

Our last layer is building applications to take advantage of the data intelligence we've gathered. These applications could be:

  • Websites
  • Mobile apps
  • Advanced machinery controls
  • Hardware-specific (smart glasses, etc)

But Wait

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.

Contact Us

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.

Pat Heideman

About Author Pat Heideman

Pat Heideman is a former Senior Solutions Architect with Omni. Pat is well versed in many programming languages. Pat graduated the University of St. Thomas with a bachelor's degree in mathematics.


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