What is IoT architecture?
Because of outstanding opportunities IoT promises, more organizations seek for the inclusion of its products in their business processes. However, when it comes to reality, this brilliant idea appears too complicated to be implemented — given the number of devices and conditions needed to make it work. In other words, the problem of establishing a reliable architecture of Internet of Things inevitably enters the stage.
Among all, to deal with the whole variety of factors affecting IoT architecture, it’s easier and more effective to find a reliable provider of IoT solutions. This decision will significantly reduce the number of resources spent on the way. Though it’s possible to comprehend the process of creating software, the practical application of its 4 stages contains too many nuances and aspects to be described in simple words. Because of that, use this guide for establishing a proper understanding of what’s going on during IoT architecture — but consider referring to the specialist to make this process actually happen. This decision will facilitate getting the needed result and guarantee being a satisfied client of a software development company.
Before revealing the secrets and providing a clear structure of this initiative, it’s important to understand what this concept actually means. In essence, IoT architecture is the system of numerous elements: sensors, protocols, actuators, cloud services, and layers. Given its complexity, there exist 4 stages of IoT architecture. Such a number is chosen to steadily include these various types of components into a sophisticated and unified network.
In addition, Internet of Things architecture layers are distinguished in order to track the consistency of the system. This should also be taken into consideration before the IoT architecture process start.
Basically, there are three IoT architecture layers:
1. The client side (IoT Device Layer)
2. Operators on the server side (IoT Getaway Layer)
3. A pathway for connecting clients and operators (IoT Platform Layer)
In fact, addressing the needs of all these layers is crucial on all the stages of IoT architecture. Being the basis of feasibility criterion, this consistency makes the result designed really work. In addition, the fundamental features of sustainable IoT architecture include functionality, scalability, availability, and maintainability. Without addressing these conditions, the result of IoT architecture is a failure.
Therefore, all the above-mentioned requirements are addressed in 4 stages of IoT architecture described here — on each separate stage and after completing the overall building process.
An Overview of the Main Stages in the IoT Architecture Diagram
In simple terms, the 4 Stage IoT architecture consists of
1. Sensors and actuators
2. Internet getaways and Data Acquisition Systems
3. Edge IT
4. Data center and cloud.
The detailed presentation of these stages can be found on the diagram below.
To get the proper understanding of the main actions and the importance of each stage in this process, refer to the detailed reviews presented below.
Stage 1. Networked things (wireless sensors and actuators)
The outstanding feature about sensors is their ability to convert the information obtained in the outer world into data for analysis. In other words, it’s important to start with the inclusion of sensors in the 4 stages of an IoT architecture framework to get information in an appearance that can be actually processed.
For actuators, the process goes even further — these devices are able to intervene the physical reality. For example, they can switch off the light and adjust the temperature in a room.
Because of this, sensing and actuating stage covers and adjusts everything needed in the physical world to gain the necessary insights for further analysis.
Stage 2. Sensor data aggregation systems and analog-to-digital data conversion
Even though this stage of IoT architecture still means working in a close proximity with sensors and actuators, Internet getaways and data acquisition systems (DAS) appear here too. Specifically, the later connect to the sensor network and aggregate output, while Internet getaways work through Wi-Fi, wired LANs and perform further processing.
The vital importance of this stage is to process the enormous amount of information collected on the previous stage and squeeze it to the optimal size for further analysis. Besides, the necessary conversion in terms of timing and structure happens here.
In short, Stage 2 makes data both digitalized and aggregated.
Stage 3. The appearance of edge IT systems
During this moment among the stages of IoT architecture, the prepared data is transferred to the IT world. In particular, edge IT systems perform enhanced analytics and pre-processing here. For example, it refers to machine learning and visualization technologies. At the same time, some additional processing may happen here, prior to the stage of entering the data center.
Likewise, Stage 3 is closely linked to the previous phases in the building of an architecture of IoT. Because of this, the location of edge IT systems is close to the one where sensors and actuators are situated, creating a wiring closet. At the same time, the residing in remote offices is also possible.
Stage 4. Analysis, management, and storage of data
The main processes on the last stage of IoT architecture happen in data center or cloud. Precisely, it enables in-depth processing, along with a follow-up revision for feedback. Here, the skills of both IT and OT (operational technology) professionals are needed. In other words, the phase already includes the analytical skills of the highest rank, both in digital and human worlds. Therefore, the data from other sources may be included here to ensure an in-depth analysis.
After meeting all the quality standards and requirements, the information is brought back to the physical world — but in a processed and precisely analyzed appearance already.
Stage 5 of IoT Architecture?
In fact, there is an option to extend the process of building a sustainable IoT architecture by introducing an extra stage in it. It refers to initiating a user’s control over the structure — if only your result doesn’t include full automation, of course. The main tasks here are visualization and management. After including Stage 5, the system turns into a circle where a user sends commands to sensors/actuators (Stage 1) to perform some actions.
And the process starts all over again.