Data shows that by 2020 there will be around 34 billion smart objects, thanks to IoT technology. Meaning, more than $6 trillion will be invested in connected devices before the end of 2021. The usability and affordable ownership are the two major reasons why a number of IoT devices has skyrocketed in recent times.
However, with the rising popularity of the IoT devices, user expectation is also increasing. And as an upshot, IoT companies have to achieve the impossible. They are burning the candle from both sides to apply IoT engineering on all industries to come up with a disruptive connected product. And because of this, the complexity of IoT projects has perked up recently.
After successfully completing many IoT projects, I and my team have listed out 4 easy steps which reduce the complexity of the IoT project and make you accomplish any complex IoT project easily. But before I reveal that list, let’s discuss why creating complex IoT products and apps to interact with those IoT products is the goldmine for organizations.
The commercially successful market of IoT technology
As of now, IoT is the driving force behind the innovation in enterprises, consumers, and governments. It isn’t only disrupting existing markets, but creating new profitable markets with its ability to provide efficiency at a very low cost.
Two industries – logistics and supply chain have already been deriving many benefits from IoT technology. With IoT technology, tracking of objects has become painless and so, an object can be reached the destination more effectively and efficiently. In fact, manufacturers have already started manufacturing connected objects so that the supply chain can be streamlined from the first phase of the distribution cycle. By 2020, factories will produce 26 billion connected devices.
After logistics and supply chain, agriculture is another industry which is taking everything out of the IoT technology. Smart sensors and automation allow farmers to do their jobs in the best possible ways. In 2020, more than 75 million agricultural IoT devices will be shipped.
Recently, IoT technology has influenced the mobility business greatly. An e-scooter rental business which is rewriting the future of urban transportation is the result of ever-expanding IoT technology. Using IoT technology, companies are making e-scooters smart which then establish the connection with a mobile app to track and unlock/lock the e-scooters. In 2018, the connected e-scooter rental market was valued $17.43 billion and estimated to witness a CAGR of 8.5%.
Overall, IoT technology is solving some deep-rooted problems of all the industries while opening many doors of business opportunities.
Now, let’s discuss 4 easy steps to accomplish any complex IoT project.
IoT project in 4 easy steps
Just because of the fact that an IoT project can only be considered completed if a device establishes a connection with a mobile app and acts according to the command given by users through the mobile app, IoT project has always been a tedious task. One can transmute any object into a smart object by integrating IoT controller in it. But to make it ‘talkable’ with a mobile app, one should establish the connection between the IoT controller of the device and the mobile app. Now, whenever a user gives command using the mobile app, the IoT controller of the device gets input and interpret it. (And this is where the complexity of the IoT project pops up!)
Step 1: Things themselves
Needless to say that an object or product is a fundamental need in the IoT project. This object or product does not require any screen. But what does it require is the low-power processor which is generally known as the IoT controller. An IoT controller is always equipped with an embedded operating system and a way of communicating wirelessly with the help of one or more protocols.
Here, in step 1, you have a job to do. You have to figure out whether you need a product which comes with the IoT controller or it is appropriate for you to buy IoT controller separately. According to my earned experience, if you are working with a lofty product and wishing to accommodate many IoT features in that product, it is advisable to opt for a product which comes with the inbuilt IoT controller. For instance, while making an e-scooter smart and connected to the mobile app, many compatibility issues will raise if you buy IoT controllers separately and fit them in e-scooters.
Whereas, if the project scale is small and the feature set is limited, you can definitely purchase separate IoT controller which really costs you less.
Step 2: The integration tier
An IoT device generates tens of thousands of data points per second and not all generated data is useful. Thus, we have to filter the data. To filter the data, a gateway is used. It summarizes and analyzes the data and only forwards the necessary data to the cloud. This is how, an integration tier is made out of the gateway which collects the data from sensors, processes it and sends it to the cloud.
To understand it more rationally, let’s assume an IoT connected office. In it, sensors are measuring temperature, light, noise and many other things. Also, an office owner can control these sensors and turn them on or off. So, now when it comes to creating a system for office owner from where he can read the reading of sensors and also control the sensors, gateway comes in action. It provides a bridge between different types of communication technologies. The Internet gateway is the best example of it and most of us have it at home in the router. From the following image, you can see that a gateway makes communication happen by building a bridge between two different technologies – PPP and TCP/IP.
In the more specific term, the IoT gateway builds the bridge between connected sensors and users at one hand and the internet on the other hand, like the following image.
Bluetooth, Zigbee and MQTT are examples of communication technology used by sensors and actors. So, now in step 3, let’s talk about communication technology.
Step 3: Communication channel / Analytics tier
Analytics tier contains the communication technology which takes the organized data as input, processes it and gives an output.
MQTT is the most commonly used communication technology in IoT projects. Thanks to its low power usage and ease of implementation, it is the most ideal communication technology to enable the machine to machine communication.
From the following image, you can understand the working of MQTT easily. Device 1 publishes a message to Device 2 and the reason why device 2 is getting the message of Device 1 is that it is subscribed to device 1 to get the message.
Generally, the message is illustrated by the string and separated by slashes. For instance, if you want to turn off the lamp of the bedroom, the message IoT controller of the smart lamp gets is home/bedroom/lamp.
You can download MQTT from here. But it is not ready-to-use. You have to customize it according to your IoT project and for that, you will need IoT engineers.
Step 4: Mobile app
Til now you have successfully turned a device into the smart device using IoT controller, you have collected data coming from sensors of device and filtered it using IoT gateway and generated output from filtered data using communication technology. So, now in the last step, give easy access to users to control the sensors of the IoT device. And for that, there is no other option than the mobile app.
By using the mobile IoT, the end-user can interact with the IoT device in a very painless way. They can give the command to any supported function of the IoT device to accomplish a task. When they give the command for anything using the mobile app, the message gets delivered to the IoT controller of the IoT device through a communication channel and IoT gateway. The best example of the IoT mobile app is Bird. It shows the location of all nearby available e-scooters and offers a way to unlock or lock it with just a simple click.
In the nutshell
IoT technology is changing the way we interact with machines by making machines smarter than humans. It establishes the connection between a mobile app and devices and lets users operate devices from anywhere on the earth.
But in recent years, the complexity of the IoT projects has increased significantly. And because of that, it becomes a requirement to follow a methodology to achieve the impossible. In this blog, we have discussed 4 steps which you have to follow to complete the IoT project without spending huge and within the deadline. However, we have only discussed the basics in all 4 steps. To learn more about this very prominent technology, you have to dive deep into a real IoT project!