Crafting an Internet of Things Architecture

The rising power of internet of things gives a lot of companies to possibility to collect more and more data about customers. It also gives insight in the habits of potential customers. All this data enables companies to create a product or service that fits the purpose of their target client. In retail customers are tracked during their journey in the shops by camera’s, sensors and many other smart technology. However the real power lays in the combination of data sources and “things”. In order to get this straight you have to beware of your internet of things architecture.

What does an Internet of Things architecture look like?

In my research I came across the work done by the IBM cloud architecture team . They show the principle components of a IoT Reference Architecture. They created an Internet of Things architecture with the following primary areas:

  • User Layer – the primary actors in the system, whether a user or application makes use of the IoT system.
  • Proximity Network – the layer of the architecture that manages the sensors themselves, and provides connection to the things they monitor and with the public network.
  • Public Network – links devices to provider cloud services. Other services to augment the sensor data could be fed in here, including data from government open data sources, weather data providers, social media etc.
  • Provider Cloud – the layer that holds the core services that make use of data gathered from the previous layer. Here is where data can be transformed and analyzed to offer insights.
  • Enterprise Network – the final part of the solution is the existing data location within the business’s enterprise, for example ERP or asset management.
The future

IoT has opened up a new range of possibilities to manage data from a multiplicity of sources. This was 10 years ago out of the question. The advent of low power sensors and their ease of use is enabling us to enrich every item with an IoT connection. This coupled with having lifetimes of several years before replacement, means nearly anything we consider will one day be instrumented.