The world is getting smarter. Long before the internet of things (IoT) was here, phones were the only way we could easily connect with the world. They made and received calls and texts, and that was about it. Then the internet connected the hardware in your hand to an enormous web of devices, people, and information. Ask your phone almost any question, and it has the answer. That's pretty smart.
IoT hardware design brings this smart revolution into the built environment. Smart building technology makes the unseen visible and allows us to ask some powerful questions: how is your building consuming energy? What is the risk of a water leak or equipment failure? What is in the air you're breathing?
What Is IoT Hardware?
An IoT hardware platform includes any electronic device that connects a "thing" to the internet. So, for example, if the thing you want to monitor is air quality, the hardware consists of the air monitoring sensing modules, the processing module, and power management modules.
What Sets Apart One IoT Device From Another?
With so many choices on the market, finding the right IoT device can be challenging. To make sure you get the most from your IoT solutions, consider these five requirements.
1. Smooth Network Connectivity
An IoT device without a reliable network connection has fallen at the first hurdle. But the type of connection depends on the project's requirements. You should consider:
- How far your smart device needs to transmit data
- The expected volume, speed, and frequency of the data
- Whether the hardware component is mobile or stationary
Most IoT devices will use a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular, RFID, and LPWAN technology. Fixed devices in automated homes and smart buildings can use a wired connection.
Some IoT hardware devices will store data in the module and connect intermittently to the servers. But other IoT solutions, like real-time energy monitoring, need a continuous connection.
For example, indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring in the workplace may require an immediate response. You will want to fix an issue as soon as possible and not wait hours or days for results. Any delay could mean unhappy or sick tenants, employees, or other occupants. An IoT platform that prioritizes smooth connectivity for real-time updates avoids this risk.
2. Quality Array of Sensors
Sensors are the eyes of an IoT platform. Without them, your system is blind. When choosing your sensing modules, you'll need to consider what you want to measure and the accuracy of sensor readings.
Using the latest technological advances, Senseware's IAQ sensors detect particle pollution with organic compounds as small as 0.3 micrometers. Such specific readings ensure you comply with regulations and meet environmental standards. And they give you confidence in your IoT application.
Be ready to think big and scale up. At first, you may only require CO2 sensors. But what happens when you need to monitor bioaerosols to prevent infection? Or if you need protection from mold growth with real-time temperature and humidity readings?
New technology and changing standards can quickly outpace your system. Already, the industry has developed air pollution sensors for particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, ozone, and carbon monoxide.
To retrofit your IoT platform, flexibly update your solution with the next generation of sensors, and ensure the highest possible data quality, your best bet is to use modular IoT hardware.
3. Strong Processor and Processing Power
Powerful sensors need a robust processor module. The more sensors connected to your system and the higher resolution of the data, the greater your processing needs will be.
Low volumes of raw data in a wired and connected device can be sent upstream to a server for processing. But high volumes of complex data must be processed and analyzed at or close to the source. This is the case for common industrial IoT solutions like real-time fault detection and real-time HVAC monitoring.
In IoT systems, the local modules are known as the "edge." Instead of waiting for the data to be sent to a centralized store or uploaded to the cloud, data is processed and analyzed more efficiently at the edge. Therefore, your IoT hardware modules must have sufficient processing power to meet your requirements.
4. Efficient Digital and Physical Signal Sharing
A digital transformation platform is all about turning analog signals — like temperature, humidity, and movement — into digital data. The software analyzes these digital signals and can send automated instructions to change the physical environment. Therefore, IoT products must be able to flexibly and efficiently switch between digital and physical signals.
The best IoT hardware solutions will be able to capture data from a wide range of existing meters, devices, and equipment. This allows them to support modern and legacy infrastructures and future-proofs the hardware platform for the latest development in sensors and modules.
5. Great Software With Low Power Consumption
So you've got world-class sensors, faultless connectivity, and strong processing power. But all this fantastic hardware is wasted without great software.
IoT hardware design should integrate seamlessly with its software. And cobbling together third-party hardware can create significant inefficiencies with data conditioning and cleaning. To avoid these pitfalls, consider a platform of integrated IoT products that pair hardware to cloud core software.
More data, sensors, and connectivity make for a better user experience. But a complex system demands more power and creates more heat. So IoT software must be optimized for low power consumption. In addition to being lightweight, IoT products should contribute to sustainability and use low-power modes effectively.
Invest in Indoor Air Quality Monitoring With Capable IoT Hardware
The industrial IoT is making the world smarter, safer, and greener. Meanwhile, IAQ has risen up the environmental, social, and governance agenda. COVID-19 has made everyone aware of the threats posed by airborne pathogens. But even before this, building stakeholders knew that poor indoor air quality in commercial buildings, offices, and schools negatively impact health and wellbeing.
Senseware is a sensor-based technology platform with 43 patents and offers the only customizable indoor air quality solution on the market. Senseware uses the latest developments in hardware and sensors to provide the best real-time monitoring. Learn more about how Senseware is helping industry leaders stay connected to their spaces.
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