All you need to know about IoT hardware devices & IoT platforms
12th Apr 2023
Choosing The Best Hardware For Your Next IoT Project
IoT hardware devices are available almost everywhere, from industrial equipment, smart home systems, cars and buildings to cargo shipments, pipelines, animals, and manufacturing units. Connecting devices is central to the IoT system. Today, almost every industry is leveraging the power of IoT because it makes electronic use simple and brings ease of integration. All the IoT hardware & software components we use for various IoT projects go through a standard design protocol. It includes prototype, specification development, abstract design, testing, and eventually, orchestrating into an IoT hardwareand software unit. We have heard about some well-known hardware in IoT, such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi. These IoT systems enable IoT engineers and software developers to speed up invention or layout and enable fast prototyping without complicated customization. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on IoT, various IoT platforms, and IoT hardwareand software. We will also dig into which are the hardware & software components of IoT & examples of the Internet of Things.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the interconnected network of physical devices, sensors, equipment, electronic hardware, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, and connectivity. It enables these electronic objects to connect via the internet and exchange data. IoT is a concept that fosters these devices so that users can remotely monitor & operate them through the internet. IoT devices also help to connect and exchange data in real-time. IoT has the potential to transform numerous industries and aspects of daily life, such as healthcare, manufacturing, home automation, transportation, etc. According to the Markets and Markets research, the global IoT market cap will reach from 300.3 billion USD in 2021 to 650.5 billion USD in 2026. It will show an upsurge in the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.7 percent from 2021 to 2026.
IoT devices remain equipped with sensors & programs that qualify them to collect and analyze data or communicate with other devices over the internet. IoT also works in collaboration with AI systems. It helps improve decision-making and provides new and improved services. For example, we can use IoT in smart homes to control different electronic appliances like lights, temperature, and security. In agriculture, we can monitor soil moisture and crop health. IoT also helps the manufacturing sector to track & enhance the efficiency of production processes. The idea of networking multiple smart devices first popped up & discussed in 1982. It started at Carnegie Mellon University with a modified Coca-Cola vending machine. That became the first internet-connected appliance that worked like an IoT device. This machine could report on its stock of newly loaded drinks (hot or cold). The term 'Internet of Things (IoT)' was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton. He worked at both MIT's Auto-ID Centre and Procter and Gamble.
The growth of IoT and its usage flourished in recent years with the incorporation of cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence. Another reason for the heavy use of IoT-based automation is the declining cost of computing power and sensors. However, IoT comes with significant security and privacy concerns, as the interconnected nature of these devices can make them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Also, IoT platforms, hardware in IoT, and associated devices remain connected without physical security. That also brings concern to many IoT users. Additionally, questions arise about the ethics of collecting and using extensive amounts of personal data generated by IoT devices. But, from a bird's eye view, IoT platforms & IoT hardwaredevices work as a blessing in almost every sector possible.
How does the Internet of Things (IoT) work?
IoT works through the interconnectivity of devices equipped with sensors, actuators, and communication technology. These devices can collect and exchange data over a network for automating various tasks. Here is a basic scenario of how IoT works:
i. A device, such as a smart thermostat, collects data from its sensors (e.g. temperature and humidity sensors).
ii. The device processes this data & sends it over the internet to a central server or cloud-based platform.
iii. The central server or cloud platform analyzes the data and uses algorithms and decision-making logic to determine appropriate action.
iv. The central server or cloud platform sends a command back to the device over the internet, which the device executes through its actuators (e.g. adjusting the heating or cooling system).
v. The device then continues to collect and exchange data, allowing for continuous monitoring and control.
This interconnectivity and data exchange allows for efficient automation, improved decision-making, and the creation of new services and products. IoT hardwaredevices are rapidly growing across many industries, such as agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare.
Which Are the Hardware And Software Components Of IoT?
Examples Of Internet Of Things
For developing an IoT project, one needs to deal with various IoT hardware and software. The IoT hardware devices utilized in most IoT projects included hardware for remote dashboards and IoT platforms to control the server. It also requires additional small electronic parts like sensors, wearables, display panels, bridging or routing devices, power management devices, etc. Without further ado, let us dig into each IoT hardware one by one.
1. IoT sensors: Sensors play a significant role in developing IoT projects and applications. Different types of sensors come in different shapes, sizes, and purposes. Here is a list of some widely used sensors that you can use for your next IoT project.
a. Temperature sensor: A temperature sensor is commonly used as an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor to gauge the heat generated from an object or area. These sensors measure temperature and convert its readings into an electrical signal. IoT systems can process and transmit that data over a network. Healthcare, manufacturing, home automation, HVAC systems, etc., use this sensor to measure temperature readings.
b. Pressure sensor: This sensor can detect pressure range & can identify changes in a liquid or gas. It measures pressure, and as the pressure goes beyond a set threshold, pressure sensors notify the problem & the readings as an electrical signal transmitted over a network. Pressure sensors are commonly used in Internet of Things (IoT) devices to monitor and control various industrial, medical, and consumer applications.
c. Proximity sensors: Proximity sensors are IoT sensors that detect the absence or presence of objects within a specified range without physical contact with the object. They help in monitoring objects and counting the number of items, etc. Internet of Things (IoT) projects uses this sensor in applications to detect the presence or movement of people, objects, and vehicles.
d. Optical or light sensor: Optical sensors help in detecting & measuring light. It converts the detection and data into electrical signals. Sensors include a photodetector, fibre optics, and a pyrometer. Many industries such as energy, automotive, healthcare, and aerospace use this sensor.
e. Gyroscope sensor: It measures the angular velocity and rate of an object. Such sensors also help measure whether an object is rotating at a certain speed around its axis. Various applications of gyroscope sensors are in smartphones, tablets, drones, augmented reality devices, robotics, manufacturing, etc.
f. Accelerometer sensors: This sensor can gauge linear acceleration, orientation, and tilts. Various IoT projects require precise measurement of motion. Wearables and gaming devices are common industries that use this sensor the most.
g. Smoke sensors and gas sensors: Smoke detectors are IoT sensors that can help your project detect smoke and burnt gases. Gas detectors help monitor air quality for toxic or hazardous gas. Such sensors often employ electrochemical, semiconductor, or photo-ionization techniques for detecting such gases. Projects that require checking the indoor air quality, industrial environments, child safety recreational centers, etc., are scenarios where this sensor gets widely used.
2. Microcontroller development board:
A microcontroller is an electronic board with PCBs that enables processing and storing capabilities. Microcontrollers contain a processor (one or multiple cores), built-in memory (RAM), and erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM) for holding the custom programs that will execute within the microcontroller. Microcontrollers are easy to program and convenient to prototype. Hence, they work as a core electronic component in most IoT projects. We can connect different actuators, sensors, and other electronic equipment to the microcontroller through digital or analog General Purpose Input/output (GPIO) pins or via a hardware bus. ESP8266, ESP32, ATmega328P, STM32F469, etc., are examples of microcontroller development boards.
3. Wearable electronics:
Wearable electronics are small electronic devices & gadgets we wear in different parts of our bodies or incorporate into our clothing. We often wear them on the head, arms, neck, feet, torso, etc. These devices are typically lightweight, small, and comfortable to wear, making them well-suited for various applications, including health monitoring, fitness tracking, and communication. Intelligent healthcare systems, smartwatches, fitness tracking gadgets, hearing aids, smart glasses, & smart clothing use these devices. If we develop such IoT projects, wearables will come in handy.
4. Minicomputers and multi-purpose electronic boards:
a. Arduino: Arduino boards are multi-purpose electronic boards that help IoT engineers, electronic engineers, and other developers tinker with them to make automated devices and IoT projects. Arduino is an open-source electronics platform or board that uses open-source software to run or develop it. Such electronic boards make electronics more accessible to designers, hobbyists, artists, and users who remain curious about creating interactive objects through circumstances. We can use Arduino for the next IoT project because it is handy and allows easy integration with other sensors, wearables, etc.
b. Raspberry Pi: Raspberry Pi are minicomputers often the size of a credit card. It includes small units a computer need to interact with input and output devices like keyboards, mouse, monitors, TV, or any other electronic component. In other words, it is a low-cost single-board computer designed for IoT-based development or other educational purposes. The Raspberry Pi offers a range of capabilities, including the ability to render high-definition video, run software, and connect with sensors or other devices. That makes it a versatile and handy electronic board to devise various applications.
5. Standard devices:
IoT projects also require regular devices that we see or use in our daily life. We can connect smartphones, desktops, laptops, 3D printers, or tablets with our specially-crafted IoT platform.
a. Smartphones: We often connect smartphones to create an app and control our IoT devices remotely. We can also use smartphones as display units for our IoT hardware and software.
b. Desktops: It is another massive hardware system that allows connecting to IoT platforms. The primary purpose of this device is to provide the highest level of control for users.
c. Tablets: Tablets are large display units (8 to 12 inches) that remain handy while creating IoT platforms and projects where we want to display data or perform actions through touch devices.
d. Samd21 Simulator: Samd21 Simulator is a low-powered but high-performance microchip and electronic flash microcontroller that helps make IoT projects easier. We can program it like Arduino & enable easy integration with other IoT electronics.
6. ETH converter:
The ETH converters are electronic devices that help to convert the Modbus–RTU protocol or CAN protocol to the Modbus-MAC protocol so that IoT and other electronic items can connect to the PoE bus.
We hope this article has given a crisp idea about the best hardware in IoT systems. So, if you want to enhance your manufacturing unit or innovative product with IoT sensors and electronic equipment, you can find all the hardware for IoT projects here. Evelta has a wide range of electronic hardware and components, such as sensors, capacitors, microcontrollers, Samd21 Simulator, Eth Converter, etc. They offer the best quality devices at an affordable rate so that you can prepare your next IoT project with the best IoT hardware.