An IoT device is a piece of hardware, such as sensors, that are programmed for certain applications and can transmit data over the network (Internet, Ethernet, Bluetooth, etc.). Such SMART Sensors can be integrated with other mobile devices, industrial equipment, environmental sensors, medical devices, etc.
What is the architecture of IoT devices?
At a high level, every remote monitoring IoT device has the following functionality-
- Data acquisition – Sensor captures the data
- Data Processing – Processing algorithms process the data for actionable insights, and
- Data transfer- Transmission to a local concentrator or a remote server.
The IoT device, including CoTS sensors and IO modules, may be required to acquire raw data directly from the equipment with the help of sensors or using various electrical interfaces and protocols. Similarly, the device has to have the required memory to support the drivers and the processing required.
The challenge is to design a device architecture to support all the business/market needs and keep the device compact and cost-effective.
With the spread of the IoT industry and the onset of 5G technologies, the key challenge is to specify the interfaces and functionalities required in a hardware device. These include the sensor and acquisition interfaces, the processing power & resources, and the data transfer interfaces.
According to the IoT World Forum, the IoT reference model divides the IoT architecture into seven layers, and physical devices are one of the layers.
Based on the IoT architecture adopted by a business, the device architecture can have one or more of these layers added to the device and define the architecture. As an example, a remote monitoring device could incorporate the 2nd and 3rd layers within the device. Thus the architecture of the IoT solution also plays a role in device architecture.
How is it designed?
The simplest classical approach is a modular design within the device with add-on PCB modules for each interface or functionality. The modules can be optimized based on application/market needs. These are useful where the IoT devices do not have size constraints.
For devices with space constraints, the above approach can be used with miniaturized modules and assemblies. New technologies help reduce the circuit size to small packages to fit more features in a reduced space. With miniaturization, the quantity decides the cost of the devices.
With the evolution of technology and the manufacturing industry, there are many options available to decide the architecture and implementation of IoT devices. The best approach for multi-feature / interface IoT devices is a multi-board modular architecture with single assembly technology across the board and testability at individual boards.
Infinite Uptime’s Auto Diagnostic Services employs Industrial Data Enabler (IDE vEdge), a Plug and Play IoT device whose architecture is based on this approach. It is a highly feature-rich monitoring service in the condition monitoring industry.