Over the past few years, we have witnessed an accelerated growth of the Internet of Things. According to Gartner, 6.4 billion connected objects were used worldwide in 2016. It was 30% more than in 2015, and recent studies say that it will increase to 30 billion by 2025.
Another interesting fact here is Google Trends also reveals that the term “IoT” has gained steady interest over the past few years. Moreover, a recent survey by Statista found that 173 million smartwatches were shipped in 2022. Which is a clear indication of the flourishing growth of IoT.
I mentioned these factors for one purpose: to demonstrate that people worldwide still continue to connect to the IoT, whether for business (manufacturers) or personal (smartwatches/wristband) use.
This, in turn, means that more and more people are becoming potential enthusiasts or users of IoT technology. So, this article is for such people. Have fun reading!
When we talk about an ecosystem, we are talking about a complex system of interconnected components and the environment in which they exist and with which they interact.
In fact, all components are connected by energy flow, certain cycles (e.g. nutrient cycles in biology) and their environment. So, the point of connection between all these elements and the environment is very important in an ecosystem. It distinguishes a system from an ecosystem. I.e. the system forms a complex and unified whole, while an ecosystem is closely connected to its environment.
We can use the term IoT ecosystem instead of IoT system because IoT devices have no value without their existing environment. The main benefit that IoT devices bring to people is data. These data are related to environmental conditions or external phenomena but also something within the system. Regardless of the relationship with the environment, all devices are connected to each other. So, the data’s final destination is always the people who use it.
These three facts (environment, data, people) lead us to the definition of an Internet of Things ecosystem – a network of interconnected devices existing in a specific environment that collects data and transmits it to people who use modern technologies. To analyse them to achieve a clear goal like building a smart home.
While different groups of people create different IoT applications for their needs, IoT software development creates many IoT ecosystems. These ecosystems can be a simple network with 20 connected devices like a smart home or a multi-level structure with a complex and extensive network of devices that requires a sophisticated platform to manage all the layers.
Now let’s move on to our core subject, ‘the key elements of an Iot ecosystem’. Stay tuned and read on.
Let’s break down the most complex mid-tier IoT ecosystem into its building blocks.
As a result, we get the following pattern:
In the internet of things ecosystem, it is rare to find only one type of sensor or actuator. Because there are many types of sensors, each type has its subcategories.
It is the part that includes all the other parts, provides security for data transfer and prevents unauthorised connections outside the Internet of Things ecosystem.
In recent years, we also see that the number of IoT-based DDoS attacks has skyrocketed. Therefore, every IoT system needs a strong level of security that at least protects against the most common vulnerabilities.
The security level has a wide range of responsibilities, such as:
The Internet of Things ecosystem is also safeguarded by a number of firmware and security providers, including Azure Sphere, LynxOS, Mocana, Spartan, Forescout, Symantec, etc.
But unfortunately, most Internet of Things vendors and IoT device manufacturers also need to pay more attention to basic security guidelines.
The network is the logistical heart of the Internet of Things ecosystem. The network is also known as the connectivity layer. It is responsible for all communications within the IoT system: connecting smart objects, transferring data and commands between IoT stages, and connecting to the cloud.
There are two means of communication:
However, connecting via non-IP protocols consumes less power because the devices connect to local smart gateways instead of trying to access the main server in the cloud.
So, the most popular short-distance protocols for IoT architecture are:
If the system needs to cover long distances in the range of miles, it can use Low Power Wide Area Network (or LPWAN) designed for long-distance wireless data transfer.
IoT Gateway is a physical or virtual platform that mediates between IoT devices and the cloud.
There are several main functions of IoT gateways:
The cloud is a computing resource responsible for storing, analysing, and managing data. In other words, it is a group of computers that people access over the Internet to use their computing power for a particular purpose.
The cloud is where a large pile of raw sensor data is converted into neat little piles of valuable information. The cloud can be powered by analytics software, visualisation tools, AI, and machine learning for in-depth data analysis and processing. And the most popular cloud computing providers are Microsoft Azure and AWS IoT.
Surprisingly one of the main advantages of the cloud solution is that it is easily scalable. It is an essential requirement for building an effective IoT system.
When software development companies build software products for the IoT ecosystem, they will cover all seven components. And will create a system that covers all the requirements at every level.
But even still, the IoT application is just the tip of the iceberg in IoT software development. Also, an application is where users can interact with the Internet of Things ecosystem. This interaction is only made possible by the graphical user interface, where the users can consult analyses reports, control the system and manage devices.
The list of technologies used in the development includes:
Its users are the most important component among the seven components of the Internet of Things ecosystem.
Here, users have two roles:
But who can be a user?
This is all you need to know about the key components of an IoT ecosystem. If you want to learn more or create the Internet of Things ecosystem for your business, get in touch with a team of seasoned IoT experts at ThinkPalm.
ThinkPalm is a product engineering and software development company with a holistic approach and diverse industry expertise in the IoT and Telecom sectors. With nearly a decade of knowledge and experience in custom project management and software development, we deliver innovative custom software solutions that enable established and emerging companies to deliver exceptional customer experience and measurable success aligned with their business goals.