IoT Design Considerations: Security

[fa icon='calendar'] Oct 14, 2015 3:47:11 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, General, Internet of Things, IoT, Security of Things

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Building a secure IoT-enabled device comes at a cost. As the IoT continues to grow, there is an increasing focus on its security and how safe the claims of end- to-end solutions really are. While security threats in the news have scared away some manufacturers and consumers from entering the IoT space, others view it as an opportunity for added value to their products. Implementing high-cost security into every product a company has is ideal, however not very economical. Manufacturers must find proper security for each of their IoT solutions while keeping costs low.

This process must start at the time of a product’s conception. Proper due- diligence is required from each manufacturer to find a way to secure their devices, protect their consumer and ultimately, the rest of the IoT world as well.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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IoT Design Considerations: Interoperability

[fa icon='calendar'] Oct 7, 2015 3:44:32 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, AllJoyn, AllSeen, ETSI, General, HomeKit, IETF, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, Thread

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As more manufacturers enable their products for the IoT, consumers will be introduced to many different cloud applications due to lack of cooperation between difference devices and companies. This is where the emerging IoT standards can help. Device manufacturers who support these standards will be able to ensure their products will be able to work and communicate with other manufacturers’ products that support the same protocols. This makes operating many IoT-enabled devices together much more simple and convenient. This also opens up new business opportunities by allowing for new features that the original manufacturers never dreamed of. For example, interoperability means that one day it might be possible for a consumer to simply say, “good night, house” to their home automation app, and the app will programmatically turn-off all of the main house lights, TV’s and appliances and turn on the outside lighting, set the alarm clock for the morning and set the coffee pot to start brewing when the sun rises. In this example, each device could be from a different manufacturer, but since they all support the same standard, the application knows how to talk to them all and create new service offerings.

Some of the emerging interoperability standards include: Thread (supported by the likes of Google/Nest, Samsung and more), HomeKit (supported by Apple), AllJoyn (supported by Microsoft and Sony, part of the AllSeen Alliance), IETF (an internet standards body) and ETSI (a European-based standards organization – primarily in Telecom). The standards landscape is changing rapidly and manufacturers need to adapt their products to work with these standards as they are consolidated and settled in the future.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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IoT Design Considerations: Cloud

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 30, 2015 3:42:57 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, cloud applications, General, Internet of Things, IoT

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By definition, most IoT applications include some Cloud-based component. Many manufacturers entering the IoT space are new to Cloud development, which makes decision-making for Cloud applications, such as how and when a product will connect to the Cloud, difficult.

“How” an IoT-enabled device communicates with a Cloud application, refers to what protocol is being used. Many early IoT implementations followed a proprietary protocol, where the device manufacturer implements its own standards for communication. Recently, companies have become aware that a standard protocol is needed for IoT communications to be successful. Some have started providing third party, end-to-end solutions with platforms to develop and host applications.

“When” an IoT device connects to the Cloud, refers to the frequency of data exchange with the application. Devices that are always on (connected to a power supply) can easily stay linked to the cloud. This improves the ability to be “near real time” when communicating with the Cloud application. Battery-powered devices often only connect to the internet and send data periodically in order to conserve battery life. In this case there is a delay, as the device has to re-establish its connection to the wireless router and then to the Cloud server. Battery-powered devices should also consider implementing a “heart-beat,” so that the device can connect to the Cloud periodically without an event to trigger it. This allows the application to know the device is still online and has power or battery-life remaining for when an event does occur..

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

 

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IoT Design Considerations: Antenna

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 23, 2015 3:41:31 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, antenna design, General, Internet of Things, IoT

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Most IoT products use wireless technologies to connect with the world. The type and number of wireless technologies used will impact the type and number of antennas needed. For example, 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios all may have different requirements for antenna design.

Module manufacturers often provide multiple options in this area, such as an on-board chip or ceramic antennas. They may also offer a wire (or “whip”) antenna, a “trace” antenna, or a “pin-out” so the manufacturer can add their own (either internal or external connector elsewhere on the circuit board).

In addition, manufacturers may offer U.FL (also called IPEX) connectors for external. In this case, the connection from the U.FL connector to the external antenna is accomplished with a short coaxial “pigtail” that has the mating U.FL connector on one end and the mating connector for the antenna on the other end. The costs of the pigtail and antenna are often overlooked but need to be included in a manufacturer’s BOM for their designs.

When selecting between internal and external antennas, designers must consider the material (metal, plastic, etc.) of the housing and the potential placement of the product within a home or business. If a product is placed behind a couch or under a desk, it may have difficulty getting a wireless signal from the nearest gateway, access point, or router. Metal housings almost always require an external antenna design because the metal in the housing greatly reduces the amount of radio frequencies getting in or out of the housing.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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IoT Design Considerations: Size

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 16, 2015 3:40:26 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, General, Internet of Things, IoT, modules

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Many manufacturers start testing the IoT waters by modifying their existing product designs to add networking technologies. Because these devices already exist, many early entrants into the IoT world fail to redesign the product to effectively allow for its newly added connectivity. Fortunately, there are a number of compact modules available for networking technologies that will fit in a manufacturer’s existing products.

These small modules vary. Some are surface mount, others through-hole, or pin-header and some still use a specialized mating connector. Also, how the network connector or antenna connector are integrated into the product differ from module to module. Designers must consider the space they have available on their circuit boards and/or in the product’s enclosures to allow whatever technology selected to be used in existing designs.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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IoT Design Considerations: Power

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 9, 2015 3:37:56 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, Internet of Things, IoT, PoE powered devices

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There are a few considerations associated with connecting a product to the IoT. Devices already using a wall outlet will not have an issue, but manufacturers of products without wall plugs will have to think through how their power source will affect the design.

IoT devices running on batteries will have to make hardware decisions based on power conservation. There are also a variety of battery types to be taken into consideration: alkaline, lithium (rechargeable) and coin. There are also AA, AAA, coin cell, C, D, 9V, or custom batteries to choose from. As noted earlier, wireless technologies have different power requirements based on use-cases. Once a manufacturer understands how long and how often a device will be connected, the proper type of battery can be chosen.

Another power source for Ethernet-based devices is Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). This technology is popular for low-wattage IP phones and security cameras. Recent advancements and new switching technology is pushing the wattage available through PoE to new levels. This has opened up various possibilities for power-hungry applications and devices.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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IoT Design Considerations: User Interface

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 2, 2015 3:36:04 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, General, Internet of Things, IoT, Wi-Fi

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Today’s consumers and business owners expect to access and control the world around them. How are your buyers going to interface with your product? Options range from using a smart home panel or gateway to an on-product display that can be paired with LEDs or push buttons. In addition, apps that monitor and control connected devices can be available for on-the-go consumers with smart phones. The type of product and its possible use-cases are important considerations when designing a product that can communicate information to its user.

Wi-Fi-enabled IoT devices have the ability to act as a soft access point (soft AP) which allows a user to “join” its network locally with a smartphone, laptop or tablet. Soft APs make product LED/LCD displays unnecessary since the screen of the connected device will serve the same purpose.

Using a soft AP does not preclude the module from connecting to the Internet and cloud-based services. This dual-mode is very attractive because the user can access the product remotely and locally, depending on the features of the product.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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IoT Design Considerations: Features

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 26, 2015 3:34:02 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, General, Internet of Things, IoT, software

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The IoT allows companies to add features to their product that were never possible before. These features have a wide range of benefits and functions including automatic software updates (over-the-air), smart home and office connectivity, reminders for maintenance, special offers, recall notices and upgrades, remote or local access and control. It is also important that designers work with their marketing team to be sure the features desired are not limited by the hardware and networking technologies selected.

These features extend new benefits to manufacturers as well. The features that consumers use can provide manufacturers with valuable insight about the application of their products. For example, a washing machine may have 20 different functions on it, but because it is connected to the IoT, the manufacturer can learn which functions the consumer uses and improve the washer’s product design. This same connected washing machine can also contact its owner when a part is starting to fail and needs to be fixed. These new features also open the manufacturer to additional revenue streams presented by the data collected from the smart device. A company that sells a connected washing machine can sell data on detergent use to the companies that carry those products.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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IoT Design Considerations: Network

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 19, 2015 3:31:12 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, Bluetooth, Ethernet, Internet of Things, IoT, Network capabilities, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, ZigBee

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Manufacturers have many hardware and software options when it comes to network technology for their IoT-enabled products. Some devices can be directly connected to the Internet using networking such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi, which are based on the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP), a set of communications protocols providing end-to-end connectivity. Other products may use wireless technologies; some of which include TCP/IP, but will require a “gateway,” or a “hub” to convert the chosen network to either Ethernet or Wi-Fi, such as ZigBee or Z-Wave. Some of the many technologies available include:

  • Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
  • IPv6 over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN)
  • ZigBee
  • Z-Wave
  • Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth Smart e.g. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Bluetooth (BT) 4.0, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Cellular

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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IoT Design Considerations: Cost

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 12, 2015 3:28:08 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, Bluetooth, Cloud services, Ethernet, General, Internet of Things, IoT, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, ZigBee

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Connecting products to the Internet of Things (IoT) is essential to manufacturers looking to stay competitive within their industry. Adding IoT capabilities allows the manufacturer to stay connected with their customer, while discovering new product uses and applications that open them up to new revenue streams. However, these added benefits come with a cost. Connected devices come with a higher manufacturing overhead, but may also be sold with a bigger price tag.

Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections can be added to products for less than $10 in bill of materials costs. Other technologies, such as ZigBee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth, can be added for a lower price, but may require a separate bridge to connect to the Internet and access Cloud services.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here.

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