What are the layers of an IoT architecture? The Eclipse Foundation’s IoT Working Group recently discussed this at length in the white paper, “The Three Software Stacks Required for IoT Architectures.” The IoT technology stack consists of three tiers: sensor devices, gateways, and the data center or cloud IoT platform. As explained in the paper, “a typical IoT solution is characterized by many devices (i.e., things) that may use some form of gateway to communicate through a network to an enterprise back-end server that is running an IoT platform that helps integrate the IoT information into the existing enterprise.”
The device tier focuses on information gathering via sensors. Because sensors are so tiny and inexpensive, they can be embedded in many different types of devices, including mobile computing devices, wearable technology, and autonomous machines and appliances. They capture information about the physical environment, such as humidity, light, pressure, vibration and chemistry. Standards-based wired and wireless networking protocols are used to transmit the telemetry data from the device to the gateway.
The gateway, sometimes referred to as the control tier, acts as an intermediary that facilitates communications, offloads processing functions and drives action. Because some sensors generate tens of thousands of data points per second, the gateway provides a place to preprocess the data locally before sending on to the data center/cloud tier. When data is aggregated at the gateway, summarized and tactically analyzed, it can minimize the volume of unnecessary data forwarded on. Minimizing the amount of data can have a big impact on network transmission costs, especially over cellular networks. It also allows for critical business rules to be applied based on data coming in. The control tier is bidirectional. It can issue control information back to the device tier, such as configuration changes.
The data center/cloud tier performs large-scale data computation to produce insights that generate business value. It offers the back-end business analytics to execute complex event processing, such as analyzing the data to create and adapt business rules based on historical trends, and then disseminates the business rules downstream. It needs to scale both horizontally (to support an ever growing number of connected devices) as well as vertically (to address a variety of different IoT solutions). Core functions of an IoT data center/cloud platform include connectivity and message routing, device management, data storage, event processing and analysis, and application integration and enablement.
In order for an IoT solution to work, all the software, hardware and networking components need to interoperate and communicate seamlessly. As pointed out in the IoT working group’s white paper, “communication between the stacks should be based on open standards to ensure interoperability.” ……… Read the complete Blog.
DCL: I do not necessarily agree with the architectural philosophy of this author. But it is one point of view from the IoT industry.