Electronics Design for IoT Architecture Involves Smart Device Integration

June 14, 2019 Cadence PCB Solutions

Internet of Things (IoT) architecture concept

 

Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard how in the future everything will be smart. And not just smart, but buildings will be able to control all the lighting, security and HVAC, transportation systems will be able to automatically avoid collisions and predict when maintenance is required, the power grid will be able to avoid outages and all without any human intervention or oversight.

Almost everyone will concede that our systems are able to do amazing things that we could only imagine in the not too distant past. However, there are those who think that smart buildings, transportation systems, and power grid are either fantasies or relegated to some future time. The fact is that the future is now as these fantasies are becoming reality every day, and the concept at the heart of these is the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is more than a technological advance. It is a new way of looking at systems that require a new way of designing and developing the products that make up our systems. Instead of the traditional design model of designing a product solely based upon its functionality and immediate inputs and outputs, IoT designs require that you consider its integration into the larger environment. This larger environment is the IoT architecture of which the product will be a part. By understanding what an IoT architecture is we will better see how to design our electronics products to integrate into the future that is happening now.

What is an IoT Architecture?

In its most basic form, an IoT architecture can be thought of as being layered. Each layer of the architecture performs a set of specifics functions that allow the entire structure to operate as a single system. The three layers that your IoT architecture should contain are:

 

Layers of an IoT Architecture

Layer

Elements

Functions

Devices

Sensors, actuators, smart phones

Gather data and information, perform data conversions

Edge

Data processing components

Filtering, data aggregation, preprocessing

Cloud

Mobile apps, web-based client apps

Processing, storage, data processing

 

Each of the layers listed above receive and process data and information and is able to communicate with the other layers. Some components are capable of performing multilayer functions. For example, smartphones are able to gather information such ambient temperature, process and store it and display it to a user.

However, within an IoT architecture, the objective is to be able to move information from one location to another where it can be utilized. Therefore, an important part of any IoT architecture is the communication devices. These devices must be able to exchange data and information with the other layers of the system and typically employ standard protocols, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

How Does Your Design Fit Into an IoT Architecture?

Depending upon the type of electronic product that you are developing your design may fit into any of the three layers of the IoT architecture. For example, if you are developing a device that gathers data or information from some external source then your design will be part of the devices layer. Irrespective of what layer that your design will reside in you will want to design it such that it not only integrates into your current IoT architecture and but also any future architectural developments.

Design for interoperability is when your design incorporates the consideration of how your product will function, communicate and integrate with other systems. The best way to ensure that your design will seamlessly integrate with other systems is to adopt and maintain standards. The use of standards has been essential for the integration of electronics systems and will also be so for IoT architectures.

Currently, there are a number of standards that define components and how they should integrate in IoT architectures. The best practice is to adopt a single standard, such as IEEE  243, and apply it to all of your IoT development. Doing so will ensure that your electronics designs will integrate into your current and future IoT architectures.

 

Smart home graphic with laptop, fans, and tablets

Smart home IoT architecture

 

The ability to design smart products is a reality that we carry around every day and the ability to link products together to form smart systems for residential and commercial utilization is not a fantasy, but reality. However, this realization requires us to look at electronics design from the IoT perspective.

Adopting this perspective means looking beyond your product’s functionality to where it will be used and what other products and devices with which it will need to communicate and operate. Designing from this perspective requires recognizing that your product’s environment may be dynamic and instituting standards that will ensure its seamless integration into whatever IoT architecture of which it may be a part.

Thankfully, in looking through how to connect your IoT architecture you can be sure that with Cadence’s suite of design and analysis tools you’ll be able to work through any IoT necessities in your product creation. PSpice, specifically is particularly capable of handing the nuances of an IoT device and IoT network.

If you’re looking to learn more about how Cadence has the solution for you, talk to us and our team of experts.

About the Author

Cadence PCB solutions is a complete front to back design tool to enable fast and efficient product creation. Cadence enables users accurately shorten design cycles to hand off to manufacturing through modern, IPC-2581 industry standard.

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