IoT System Design – A Primer

Published by: Albert Gibosse – Blue Label Weekly Magazine | http://www.bluelabelweeklymagazine.com

IoT System Design

Designing for the Internet of Things (IoT) also entails effectively provisioning for

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connected products to work effectually. Every IoT systems incorporates physical ( devices, sensors, gateways,, etc….) as well as digital components( data extraction and secured communication, cloud servers, analytics, and dashboards) that collect data from physical devices and deliver actionable, operational insights.

As all the components need to be designed and their interdependencies fully accounted for, the core challenge for product and engineering teams designing IoT systems is turning IoT use cases into an actual connected system with full integration, the appropriate communication protocols, security, and a user-friendly look and feel.

 

Four Core Requirements

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  1. Interoperability
    Interoperability of connected system, as a core requirement, involves sensors, devices, equipment, and sites, to communicate and exchange data.

 

  1. Record Keeping/Information transparency
    The continuous bridging between the physical and digital worlds the recording and virtual storing of physical processes .

 

  1. Technical Assistance
    A driving benefit of IoT, “technical assistance” is the ability of connected systems to provide and display data that helps people with making better operational decisions and solving issues faster. Additionally, IoT-enabled devices must be designed to assist people in laborious tasks toward improving productivity and safety.

 

  1. Decentralized decisions
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    Connected system must go beyond assisting and exchanging data; they must also be able to utilized defined logic to make decisions and execute requirements.

 

Design Complexity and Built-in Solutions

With design complexity bringing a wealth of additional challenges, including the risk of making errors that can be very costly if not caught at an early stage of the design and development process, teams can leverage built-in IoT simulators, not only to validate the design and ensure there are no gaps in the data flows or use cases,  but also to visualize system behavior and mistake-proof the logic ahead of development.

 

IoT Design Platforms Must-have Features/Tools

Ensure that your IoT development platform feature “Visual Modeling” and “ IoT Simulation “ tools that support prompt and precise IoT design.

Visual Modeling

Visual IoT modeling provides a canvas to define the mechanics, electronics, data connectivity, analytics, and dashboards of the entire system. It enables teams to effortlessly utilize their existing CAD models to the full IoT model along with all its added technology layers and use cases.

 

IoT Simulation’s Two Benefits

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IoT simulation enables teams to quickly and easily validate the IoT system design by leveraging the platform built-in digital prototype to visualize how connected devices, edge and cloud servers, web and mobile apps interact with each other when an event is triggered, and iteratively refine the model based on the simulation runs.

IoT analytics simulation ensures that all needed data sources are accounted for in the design prior to development, by providing teams with a means to visualize the in-market insights ( dashboards and alerts taken from their model ) their IoT system will deliver

 

Physical Design And Communication Protocol

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Granted the physical design of the system forms an integrated intelligent system, a host of factors must be well provisioned for:

  • Industrial machines must have sensors capable of generating significantly more data than ever before, and to send the information securely for analysis and action.
  • Rugged sensors – able to function under extreme conditions – must be properly placed in the device.
  • Identifying and using the most appropriate communication protocol to usefor data integration
  • Simplifying the complexities that arise in the physical design process entails utilizing hybrid development platforms for design and delivery. These platforms ensure that the physical design attributes necessary for systems to properly function and communicate, are virtually represented in the system model.

 

Utilize a Lean and Agile Design Methodology

Overcoming the many challenges that IoT presents involves the utilization of a combination of tactics toward accelerating and ensuring efficiency as well as  success throughout the design process.

The agile methodology streamlines the entire process, maximizes Stakeholders Investments, and delivers what is needed when it is needed and nothing more. Leveraging the visual modeling and virtual prototyping features, teams are able to easily simulate the system design, present it internally, iterate and reiterate.

 

Design Thinking

Design thinking puts emphasis on a customer-centric approach that reinforces the notion that an IoT system is a business solution addressing specific user needs.

 

 

Transitioning to IoT Product Design

Although the technology layers involved in IoT design require new skill sets, nearly  one third of companies today lack the required resources (ie, data integration know-how, web and mobile app development, data analytics, and security ) necessary to design and deliver IoT products.

 

Faced with this new reality, many companies source additional partners.

 

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