10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Power and Size

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 19, 2015 7:00:57 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in antenna connector, applications, battery, circuit board, connectivity, device, Ethernet, existing products, General, hardware, Internet of Things, IoT, IP, manufacturer, mating connector, modules, network connector, networking technologies, pin-header, PoE, power, power conservation, Power-over-Ethernet, power source, surface mount, technology, through-hole, wall outlet, wireless network, wireless technologies, White Papers, Wireless

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5. Power

Power considerations need to be made when connecting a product to the IoT. Products already using a wall outlet will not have an issue. Manufacturers of products not using a wall outlet will have to consider how their power source will affect their product’s design.

IoT devices running on batteries will have to make hardware decisions based on power conservation. There are also a variety of different types of batteries 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 and the wireless network is chosen, a properly sized and type of battery can be chosen.

Another source of power 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, thus opening up new possibilities for more power-hungry applications and devices.

6. Size

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 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 are different though. Some modules 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 vary 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.

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>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at [email protected].

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10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Features and User Interface

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 12, 2015 1:46:31 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in app, business owners, Cloud, connected devices, connectivity, consumers, engineers, features, General, Internet of Things, IoT, laptop, manufacturers, networking technologies, product, product design, smart home, smart phone, soft access point, soft AP, tablet, UI, user interface, Wi-Fi, White Papers, Wi-Fi modules

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3. Features

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 and remote or local access and control. It is also important for designers to work with their marketing team to be sure the features desired by marketing are not limited by the hardware and networking technologies selected by the engineers.

These features extend new benefits to manufacturers as well. The features that consumers use can provide manufacturers with valuable insight to their products and applications of those products. For example, washing machine may have 20 different functions on it, but because it is connected, the manufacturer can learn which functions the consumer uses and why and then improve the washer’s product design over time. This same connected washing machine can also email or call its owner to let them know when a part is starting to fail and needs to be fixed before a problem arises. These new features also open the manufacturer to new 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 so that they can have better information on their customer as well.

4. User Interface

Today’s consumers and business owners expect multiple ways to access and control the world around them. How are your buyers going to interface with your product? Options are numerous and range from using a smart home panel or gateway to an on-product LCD/LED display that can be paired with LEDs or push buttons. In addition, apps to monitor and control connected devices can be web-based or 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 may have the ability to act as a soft access point (soft AP) to allow a user to “join” its network locally with a smart phone, 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 also connecting to the Internet and cloud-based services with some Wi-Fi modules. This dual-mode is very attractive because the user can access the product remotely and locally, depending on the features and use-cases for the product.

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>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at [email protected].

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Adding Connected Sensors to your Product for IoT [Podcast]

[fa icon='calendar'] Nov 14, 2014 11:21:57 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in business, Cloud, cloud computing, connectivity, data ownership, embedded, Featured In, General, inter web, internet, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT cloud, IoT Inc Business Show, podcast, retrofit, Sensors

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Want to connect your product to the Internet of Things? The first step is giving it sensors and then connectivity to the Internet of Things. In this episode of the IoT Inc Business Show, Adam Justice takes listeners through the two main approaches to get your products, assets, or environment to the next generation Interweb, known as the Internet of Things.

Here’s What We’ll Cover in this Episode

  • Business questions to ask when deciding retrofit vs. embedded.
  • Situations when retrofitting sensing/connectivity is a great way to get something to market quickly and stay competitive.
  • Why the first approach is often an add-on box that adds connectivity options and control to a current device then work on a strategy to build functionality into future generations of the product.
  • When retrofitting doesn’t make sense because of expense or effort – the metrics to be aware of and the characteristics of the product that kill this approach.
  • Criteria for when a bolt-on or retrofit makes sense.
  • General cost for an IoT add-on box to be sold with your product.
  • High-level steps to embedding sensors/connectivity.
  • How you find the sensors you need and the homework you need to do first.
  • Advice on how to work with a third-party to help with sensor selection.
  • Costs associated with sensor selection.
  • Sensor business models.
  • Approach of fog vs. cloud computing – when each makes sense.
  • Adam’s thoughts on standard bodies, consortiums and associations.
  • Back-end consideration of your IoT cloud or platform.
  • Thoughts on data ownership – what Adam calls the sawdust model

To listen to the IoT Inc Business Show podcast featuring Adam Justice, click here.

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