Technology is taking a sharper turn to change the world like never before. As a result, the internet landscape is also expanding. It is not only limited to smartphones, laptops, tablets, or computers anymore. In today’s era, a multitude of devices is internet-connected, creating “smart” devices.
As you know, IoT or the Internet of Things is an umbrella term for all the internet-connected devices we see in our daily lives.
To understand how IoT can enable us to create a smart and connected world (not just devices), let’s start with the basics.
What is IoT?
IoT refers to the physical objects/things worldwide connected to the internet for gathering and sharing information. The range of existing and potential IoT devices is tremendous. IoT networks offer an interconnected environment for objects to have a digital presence and enable them to communicate with other objects and people.
IoT is a revolutionary transformation in the digital world with the potential to touch every person’s life. Changes that came with IoT are visible everywhere. A few examples of IoT devices are smart cities, smart wearable devices, integrated supply chains, smart connected homes, parking sensors, and many more.
The growth of IoT and its adoption are moving at a fast pace. The adoption of IoT that we see today is driven by multiple other evolving technologies like wireless protocols, large volumes of data, low-cost microprocessors, cloud-based web applications, and most importantly, the surge in connected devices. You can see the statistics of IoT vs. non-IoT devices active connections from 2010 to 2025.
IoT – Architecture
IoT Architecture consists of a collection of sensors, physical data, cloud services, communication layers, users, IoT protocols, business layers, developers, and actuators. And due to the wide range of internet objects domain, there’s no standard defined architecture being strictly followed universally.
There were multiple architectures developed depending on the requirements and demands of different industries. Yet, there is a basic flow of processes on which IoT is built. So, in this blog, we will discuss the primary layers of IoT architecture (i.e., 5-stage IoT Architecture).
The functionality of the sensing layer is the ability to identify changes in the physical condition of connected things in real-time. Therefore, sensors are the main elements of this layer. With the help of sensors, one can measure the physical environment, collect data, identify and locate intelligent objects and finally, send data to the cloud for data analysis.
While in the case of actuators, the process intervenes in physical reality. So, for example, they can adjust the room temperature or switch the lights on/off.
The communication layer handles the message routing among IoT devices, connectivity, and routing between the cloud and devices. In addition, the data collected from sensors is transmitted directly to the cloud and application layer in the communication layer.
Protocols like Message Queuing Telemetry Transportation (MQTT), Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), and Lightweight Machine to Machine (LwM2M) help to connect different devices to send data.
The Cloud Layer is where all the collected data from the sensors and devices are transferred. The functionality of this layer is to store, process, and analyze the data. Besides, the cloud uses a data center as a central server to process the data generated by the edge device.
In the management layer, one can operate and monitor all the other layers with the help of cloud management tools.
The application layer provides many services and applications, consisting of collection, analysis, visualization, and data security. Therefore, it highly depends on the features needed for the end-users.
IoT protocols are an essential part of IoT technology. Without protocols, devices will only be useless. Only IoT protocols enable IoT devices to communicate by exchanging data in a meaningful and structured way.
IoT protocols assure that the data from a device or sensor gets recognized by other gateways/devices/services. So, here is the list of IoT protocols that have been designed for different applications.
Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)
A CoAP is an application layer protocol that is designed to address the needs of HTTP-based IoT systems. It enables devices with limited capabilities to connect in machine-to-machine communication.
Data-Distribution Service (DDS)
Data-Distribution Service (DDS) is a versatile peer-to-peer protocol for communication. With DDS, you can run small devices to connect heavy performance networks. It simplifies deployment, minimizes complexity, and enhances reliability.
Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT)
MQTT is a lightweight data protocol for IoT. MQTT is used for connections having low bandwidth in remote locations. It uses a publisher-subscriber pattern and is absolute for small devices that need an efficient battery and bandwidth.
Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)
XMPP is a lightweight and open-standard communication protocol. It has been designed for instant near-real-time data exchange between different network entities.
Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)
AMQP is a software layer that enables interoperability among messaging middleware. With AMQP, a wide range of applications and systems work together. It also creates standardized messaging on an industrial scale.
LwM2M has been designed to remotely manage and enable M2M (machine to machine) services. This protocol defines the communication protocol between server and client of LwM2M located in an IoT device.
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
TCP is a dominant protocol for the bulk of internet connectivity. TCP breaks a large set of data into small individual packets while resending and reassembling packets as per the requirements to offer host-to-host communication.
User Datagram Protocol (UDP)
UDP runs on top of IP and allows process-to-process communication. It also improves rates of data transfer over TCP. UDP is ideal for applications that need data transmission without facing loss.
Several IoT protocols use IPv4, while recent executions use IPv6. IP helps route traffic over the internet and detect and locate devices on the network.
6LoWPANis the network layer communication protocol. It works best with devices that have limited processing power.
Zigbee is an IEEE 802.15.4 based specification. It is designed for high-level communication protocols used to create personal area networks with low-power and small digital radios.
IoT Service Providers
Now that we know the basics of IoT, it is time to take a closer look at the top IoT service providers available in the market today.
AWS IoT Core provides bidirectional and secured communication between the internet-connected devices (sensors, embedded microcontrollers, actuators, or smart appliances) and AWS Cloud.
This allows you to gather, store, and interpret telemetry data from multiple devices. You can also build applications that facilitate your users to control these devices from their tablets or phones.
Oracle IoT Cloud is a managed PaaS cloud-based solution that helps make crucial strategies and business decisions by connecting IoT devices to the cloud and analyzing real-time data.
Azure IoT is Microsoft’s collection of managed cloud services that monitor, connect, and manage billions of IoT devices. Azure provides you with opportunities to build a wide range of IoT solutions to empower the digital transformation of your business.
Watson IoT by IBM is a managed, cloud-hosted solution devised to make it uncomplicated to derive significance from IoT devices. With IBM Watson, you can connect, capture, monitor, analyze, archive, manage and monitor the usage of your IoT device.
It offers a set of IBM Cloud services as a single IBM-managed SaaS solution to collect and analyze data for IoT assets.
SAP Leonardo IoT combines innovation, technologies, and intelligent applications to leverage IoT and bring intelligence to the business. It enables organizations to automate analytical processes and get insights to achieve better business performance.
Mindsphere is a leading IoT as a Service solution by Siemens. Using advanced analytics and Artificial Intelligence, Mindsphere powers IoT solutions with data available from connected devices. To create better business models, develop quality products, and optimize all the operations.
Connectivity with IoT
We are already in a hyper-connected world, where intangible things and people are connected through IoT. Besides, IoT integrated intelligent networks that are systematically linked with services, things, and us – humans for distributed processing, networking, and sensing.
So, if you are a business looking to connect IoT with your products and services, hire developers with in-depth knowledge in the field to ease out your tasks.
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