Building Blocks of Building an IoT Product

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You have decided to build your own cool IoT DIY project and you are waiting to get started with some real stuff. Believe me, I am equally excited to do so. But before we jump into building an IoT DIY project, I think it is very important that we understand the building blocks of an IoT product.

You will keep hearing market research reports about IoT, like the one below –

The IoT market size is expected to grow from USD 170.57 Billion in 2017 to USD 561.04 Billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26.9%.

Which is good. Because we can clearly see that everything around us is getting smart and getting connected. Everyone wants to monitor their pets from office, want to know their heart rate and interested to know how many steps they have traveled today and how much calories they have burned. These are some trendy examples but it gives a clear idea about the shift in our lifestyle and how it is going to get even more fancier.

Anyways, let’s come back and deep dive into building blocks of building an IoT product. This is my perspective and it may vary with others but I have tried generalizing most of it so you will find commonalities if you read others perspective on the same topic.

Building Blocks of an IoT Product

Let me tell you what I understand about IoT and how do I define it. For me –

An IoT product is something which helps you connect the physical world around you to the internet for monitoring, analysis, and control. 

In short, that’s exactly what IoT means to me. And there are primarily 3 major building blocks to do that –

  1. IoT Hardware
  2. Communication  Channel
  3. Cloud Service

iot-building-block

IoT Hardware

The first building block of any IoT project is an electronic hardware device which can sense and control the physical world around you. Typically you achieve this with the help of sensors and actuators connected to your development board. E.g. you can connect a Temperature and Humidity sensors with an Arduino board which can read values from these sensors whenever you want.

Communication  Channel

Once you have read the Temperature and Humidity from your IoT hardware, you want to send it to some cloud server for storage so that you can analyze it later. That is the second building block of your IoT product. Based on your requirements, you can decide which communication technology is best suited for your product. E.g. monitoring Temperature and Humidity of food moving in a truck will need cellular connectivity Vs. monitoring the same things inside a freezer can be achieved with a wifi connectivity.

Cloud Service

The 3rd building block of an IoT product is a cloud service where you store and analyze data or from where you control your remote IoT hardware. Though the cloud service is the end block of your IoT product it is the most important one. You can bring all the intelligence at this block of your IoT product. E.g. send SMS alarm when Temperature goes beyond 30 degree Celsius.

Also, read – Getting Started with Building Electronic DIY Project – The Essentials or Prerequisites

This is a very high-level overview of how an IoT product looks like in general. We can deep dive into details but I think for now this is good enough for us to get started quickly on some of our cool projects.

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