The Internet of Things (IoT) is a combination of technology, systems and applications that bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. By bridging the gap, businesses can monitor any part of their process by using various methods.
This technology provides data collected from places previously unreached, and it is used to help companies make decisions. However, IoT still needs time and careful implementation to develop into a reliable asset.
The IoT technology stack is comprised of five main layers that are meant to work together to create a seamless, interconnected system. They build off of one another to form an autonomous streamline of information from a device.
1. Device Hardware
The device hardware that the IoT stack utilizes transmits data to the digital world. The first step is identifying what you are trying to connect. If there is a connection already, then it is ready to go. If it is not connecting already, then an instrument will need to be added to it. The main goal of adding hardware devices is to collect and use the required information.
2. Device Software
Device software is the part of the IoT stack that turns hardware into a smart, connected product. It allows equipment to be multifaceted so it can provide information to multiple applications. Implementing software is meant to assist the hardware while also allowing its capabilities to increase.
Communication is simply the ways that a device transfers information to the world. Communication protocol and systems are tied directly to the device hardware and software. However, communication is a vital part of the IoT process. Common communication types are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular. All these connective pieces help devices exchange information.
4. Data Collection
IoT technology collects large amounts of data from the connected devices it works alongside. As IoT gathers information, it is essential to define the parameters so the right data compiles. It is from this layer that new business models, ideas and opportunities present themselves. All the implementation of processes and sensors works to gather data so companies can improve based on what the numbers are showing.
5. Implementing Applications
Implementing applications with IoT stack architecture offers an unlimited amount of possibilities. IoT is continuously improving and updating, which allows for users to be creative when employing a new application. It could be as simple as creating a smart room, or more complex, like developing a smart hotel. The only hindrance in the process is lack of imagination.
IoT Stack Architecture
The Internet of Things stack architecture is a concept that refers to the system of IoT, which includes elements such as sensors, protocols, layers and applications. The architecture is involved, but it consists of four stages:
- Sensors and actuators: These devices allow for data collection and physical intervention in the workplace.
- Internet gateways and data acquisition systems: These systems process large amounts of data from sensors and actuators.
- Edge IT systems: IT performs data processing and analytics.
- Data center: This is the central hub for all data that is collected.
The Future of the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is changing the landscape of manufacturing, and it will continue to do so far into the future.
Today, manufacturers have the choice of maintaining their portfolio as it is or taking the necessary steps to make it compatible with the IoT. Converting is a difficult but necessary decision, and doing so will help businesses improve their bottom lines.
As the world of manufacturing changes, the IoT technology stack will become a vital part of improving manufacturing processes.