Wednesday, February 25, 2015

IoT? Sensors? Devices? What's in what? "Understanding Internet of Things (IoT) Device Choices" Whitepaper

Understanding Internet of Things (IoT) Device Choices

File Name: Understanding Internet of Things_IOT_ Device Choices.docx

Date Published: 2/24/2015

File Size: 13.2 MB

This paper provides an introduction to the landscape of the Internet of Things (IoT) for devices, including accompanying high-level patterns for communications and enabling technologies, and serves as a primer for IoT. It is based on a variety of experiences with large-scale customers and deployments. This paper does not provide detailed guidance, such as how to choose a device for a specific purpose or decide on a communication pattern for devices.


Executive summary

As stated in the press, at conferences, and in publications[1], the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a huge opportunity across industries and customer segments. The paper “Building the Internet of Things”, which is available at discussed a broad set of topics associated with building IoT solutions. This paper is a follow on to that earlier paper and focuses on the "things" within IoT solutions.

First, it explains the concept of smart objects that contain devices, sensors and actuators, the combination of which will gather, process, send and receive data. Smart objects may or may not interact with a local gateway, which is sometimes used to provide external communication capabilities or provide local processing.

This paper also explains the set of considerations for device capabilities, and how they affect an overall solution. These considerations include cost, communications requirements, power availability, security requirements, and compute capacity. Next, it explains the options for device connectivity and the implications of choosing between common options.

Security in the IoT is critical, and a failure to consider security early in IoT design can lead to unfortunate and even catastrophic hacks that often end up in the news, potentially impacting human lives. Because overall system security starts at the device itself, the paper offers a set of device security principles and provides guidance on how to address those principles.

Interoperability in the IoT is also important today, and will continue to grow in mindshare and be seen as a critical requirement for emerging devices. This paper discusses standardization efforts, including the AllSeen Alliance, Open Interconnect Consortium, and several others. All of these efforts have strong industry supporters, but with the exception of AllSeen they are in their early stages. Although AllSeen and OIC are currently dominant, it’s too soon to call out a clear leader.

The final section of the paper discusses some example prototyping devices, their capabilities and some of the considerations when going from prototype to production.

This paper will give the reader a broad understanding of many of the aspects of device design for IoT solutions. For decision makers planning projects, this paper helps with scoping and knowing where more research is required to lay the groundwork for a successful IoT project.

[1] How IoT will disrupt the world,




If you're trying to grok IoT and what it means (not like it's going to be, if not already is, the overused and misunderstood terminology of the yeah) this 37 page whitepaper does a pretty bang up job of making the devices used in IoT a little clearer.

For example, "What's a Sensor versus a device?" Answered...

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