The world is now driven by technology, and it can be hard to survive if you do not keep up with the latest developments. Every day new and better technological solutions are emerging, like a phoenix from the ashes, to replace the old technology. Most of these solutions stay relevant only for a short moment and eventually get replaced by something newer. However, there are a few technological solutions that have great qualities and are expected to gain even more popularity over the years. The Internet of Things (IoT) Architecture is a fine example of such technology.
IoT Architecture is not only being used by industries and businesses but also by people in their households. Most importantly, more and more businesses are employing it to boost their business productivity. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the Internet of Things (IoT) architecture, including what it is, its layers, stages, and practical usage in modern-day businesses. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it!
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Before understanding the IoT architecture, it's important to understand what the Internet of Things is. Basically, the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of physical things that are connected by software, sensors, and other technologies. It is a system of interconnected devices which have unique identifiers and the capability to transfer information via a network without any human intervention. These devices might be anything from common domestic items to large-scale industrial machinery. Now that you understand what the Internet of Things is, let's take a look at IoT Architecture.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT) Architecture?
The architecture of an IoT system comprises multiple elements that range from protocols, sensors, and layers to cloud services and actuators. The IoT system Architecture is often explained as a 4 stage procedure in which data travels from sensors connected to the “things” via a network and then, eventually, onto the cloud or a corporate information center for analyzing, processing, and storing. When it comes to the Internet of Things, a “thing” can be a building, person, or machine.
Layers of IoT Architecture?
The IoT Architecture system is made up of several layers. These layers are considered an extension of the basic IoT Architecture structure. There is no particular consensus on IoT Architecture since different researchers propose different architectures. We will be discussing four layers today; the perception layer, the network layer, the data processing layer, and the application layer. Each layer plays its own part. You will find different versions of architecture, some being of three layers and some will be five layers. Let's discuss each layer of IoT architecture in detail now.
1- Perception/Sensing Layer:
The perception or sensing layer is the first one in the IoT architecture. In this layer, a number of actuators and sensors are used in order to gather the information that can be useful. In other words, the perception layer recognizes other IoT devices and collects information from them. For example, this layer is responsible for collecting information regarding moisture content, temperature, sounds, intruder detection, etc.
The main function of this layer is to obtain information and pass that data onto another layer which will then take action according to the information's nature. The sensors on a network can be of different types; thus, it is the responsibility of the perception layer to differentiate between them and accommodate their working styles.
2- Network Layer:
The network layer, as the name suggests, is a connecting layer that joins together two other layers. It is also called the transmission layer, as it serves the purpose of transmitting data that has been gathered from physical items through sensors. It connects the networks and network devices together. The medium for transferring can be wire-based or wireless.
3- Data Processing Layer:
The data processing layer in IoT cloud architecture is responsible for receiving information that has been gathered from the perception layer. In addition to this, it is accountable for making sure that the data is transferred forward to authentic users. The layer is also responsible for protecting the data from any threats.
4- Application Layer:
This layer manages all the application procedures based on the type of information collected from the other layer. The application can involve the following: activating the alarm, sending emails, turning on or off a device, smart agriculture, smartwatch, and security system. It defines all applications that have IoT deployed in them and also provides the connection for the network and IoT devices. Furthermore, it approves the provision of services to different applications according to the data collected via sensors.
Stages Of IoT Architecture:
The processes of IoT architecture can also send information in different directions in the arrangement of a command or instruction that informs the actuator to take action to control a process. There are four stages of IoT Architecture; sensors and actuators, internet gateways and data acquisition systems, pre-processing, and in-depth analysis in the data center. To get a better understanding of IoT Architecture, let’s discuss each stage in detail.
1- Connected Objects With Sensors And Actuators:
This process starts with actuators, sensors, and connected devices that monitor a physical process. Sensors have the ability to capture data of a processor condition, for example, humidity, the temperature of fluids in a tank, the speed of an assembly line, and chemical composition. A sensor can also sense a condition that requires an immediate response which will allow an actuator to perform its duty in real-time. In order to avoid a delay in the transfer of data, the process is carefully analyzed and monitored.
2- Internet Gateways And Data Acquisition Systems:
The data acquisition system (DAS) is responsible for collecting raw data from the sensors and converting it from analog to digital format. The system then formats and aggregates the data before transferring it through the gateway via wireless WANs.
When it comes to this point, the volume of data is full. Since the quantities can be large-scale, the data is compressed and filtered to a suitable mass for transmission. An example of this is an industrial setting with hundreds of sensors that are collecting data simultaneously.
3- Pre-Processing - Analytics At The Edge:
After the IoT architecture has been aggregated and digitalized, it will have to be processed further in order to reduce the volume of data before it is transferred to the cloud. As a portion of pre-processing, the device can perform analytics as well.
At this point, machine learning is quite useful to give feedback to the system and develop the process in real-time. Through machine learning, there will be no need to wait for instructions to come from the cloud or corporate data center. This type of processing usually occurs on a device that is close to wherever the sensors are, for example, an on-site wiring closet.
4- In-depth Analysis in the Cloud or Data Center:
Upon reaching the fourth stage of the process, dominant IT systems can be used to manage, secure, and analyze data. This process mostly takes place in the cloud or corporate data center, where data from different sensors is combined to provide a bigger picture of the IoT system as a whole. Furthermore, it delivers actionable insights to business and IT managers. If a company has its operations in different regions, the IoT data can keep patterns and trends analyzed.
In addition, industry-specific applications can be used to achieve in-depth analysis to determine whether action needs to be taken or not. Stage four includes storage in the data warehouse for the sake of keeping a record and for additional analysis.
Using IoT Architecture in Your Business Software:
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an ever-growing system with endless opportunities thanks to its architecture. With the help of its interconnection, it has become easy to transfer huge amounts of data within seconds. This allows businesses to explore a wide range of actions with assistance. Analysts claim that by the year 2025, more than 55.7 billion connected devices will be available in the market for use.
Today, IoT is an integral part of almost every business. It assists in getting things done in a swift and efficient manner, with the best results. For instance, businesses can collect information about their consumers’ behaviors and patterns within minutes. Whether your business uses small appliances in the office or large machines in a factory, with the help of IoT architecture, you will definitely see promising results. If you are interested in learning more about the practical uses and benefits of the Internet of Things, make sure to check our comprehensive article on "What is IoT, and Why Does It Matter?”.
All in all, IoT is vital for businesses to progress in the digital era. That’s precisely why more and more businesses are employing IoT architecture according to their distinct needs. You can also use IoT in your business to be more productive and efficient. Implementing Internet of Things (IoT) architecture for beginners may seem challenging. So, if you want to empower your business with the Internet of Things, you need to partner up with a highly professional and experienced IoT architecture development and integration agency like IIInigence.
Here at IIInigence, we stand proud as one of the best Internet of Things development and IoT architecture integration agency in the USA, offering top-notch services for years. We can help you integrate a full-blown IoT system with a solid architecture to fulfill the distinct needs of your business. You can get in touch with us by calling us on our phone number mentioned on our website or by filling out the Contact Us form.