10 Internet of Things design considerations

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 6, 2015 11:25:24 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in antenna, Apple HomeKit, Bluetooth, cloud applications, communication, consumers, cost, Embedded Computing Design, Ethernet, FCC certification, Featured In, gateway, General, internet, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT device, manufacturers, network, networking, networking technologies, power source, router, security, smart products, SSL, technology, Wi-Fi, wifi, Wireless

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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 gives consumers more features. It also allows the manufacturer to stay connected with their customer while discovering new product use cases and applications that open them up to new revenue streams. When designing your first IoT device, there are 10 things to keep in mind...

Read more at Embedded Computing Design or download the PDF now.

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

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 19, 2015 8:00:57 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 iot@gridconnect.com.

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

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 12, 2015 2:46:31 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 iot@gridconnect.com.

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