A Brief Understanding of the Role of MQTT Protocol in IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies use messaging and connectivity protocols to transfer information remotely. The key features of these protocols are:

  • Low Power Consumption
  • Small Code Footprint
  • Low Latency
  • Use of Pub/Sub Pattern
  • Low Bandwidth Consumption

MQTT protocol suffices all these requirements and has renowned cloud platforms – Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud – as a driving force behind it. Thus, it complements the necessities of IoT and has become a sought-after protocol for this technology.

In this article, we will shed light on what MQTT is, how it works, and how it is beneficial for IoT.

What is MQTT?

MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) is an open OASIS and ISO standard (ISO/IEC PRF 20922)[3] lightweight and flexible protocol that was launched by IBM. The lightweight feature allows it to be easily implemented into power-constrained IoT devices, while the flexibility provides support to varied application scenarios for IoT devices and services.

Furthermore, MQTT uses the Public/Subscribe pattern to exchange messages between devices. This protocol basically operates over TCP/IP; however, any network protocol that provides lossless, ordered, bi-directional connections can support MQTT. Generally, it is developed for connections with remote locations where the network bandwidth is limited, and a small code footprint is required.

How Does MQTT Work?

MQTT Architecture

Similar to other IoT protocols, MQTT is based on clients and a server. The connected devices in MQTT are called “Clients”, which communicate with a server known as “Broker”. To clarify,  brokers handle data transmission between clients.

When a client wants to send information to the broker, it will be published to a particular topic. In this case, the client will be referred to as a “Publisher”. On the other hand, when a client that has subscribed to that topic wants to receive information from the broker, then the client will be referred to as a “Subscriber”. Additionally, the client that has subscribed to a particular topic will receive all messages published on the topic henceforth.

The publishers and subscribers do not typically know each other. They are only aware of the broker that serves as an intermediary. Also, any client can be a publisher, subscriber, or both. This setup is recognized as the “Pub/Sub Model”.

IoT App Developers
MQTT Architecture

MQTT Messages QoS Level

Besides messages, the publisher also sends QoS (Quality of Service) level, which defines the guarantee of the message delivery. There are mainly three QoS levels, such as:

At most once: The broker will only receive the published message at most once. This level should not be used for sending important messages since there are fewer possibilities that the subscribers will receive it.

At least once: In this level, the publisher continuously sends the message until it receives an acknowledgment from the broker. In other words, it is more important that the message is received by the subscribers than to ensure that it is received only once. This is the most commonly used QoS level.

Exactly once: The publisher and broker work in tandem to ensure that the subscriber receives messages exactly once. This level needs some additional overhead in the form of a four-part handshake, which provides a secure authentication strategy for information delivered through network architectures. It is the safest and most guaranteed QoS level but also the slowest one. Thus, it is used only when necessary.

How Does MQTT Work in IoT?

As said earlier, MQTT is one of the most widely used protocols in IoT. Let’s understand how it works in the Internet of Things with an example.

Assume you have multiple weather sensors ( a humidity sensor and a temperature sensor) and two mobile phones. You want to send data about the humidity level to one phone and the temperature level to another.

Using MQTT, this task can easily be managed. Firstly, you need to set up an MQTT broker service. Then, you can connect two sensors on the broker as clients and set them up to send data on topics – “Humid” and “Temp”.

After that, you can also integrate the mobile phones with the broker and subscribe the first mobile to “Temp” and the second one to “Humid”. Consequently, two connected devices will receive messages about the humidity and the temperature whenever the sensors publish the required information to the broker.

Over time, MQTT is becoming the most preferred protocol among businesses and IoT app developers for exchanging data among IoT devices.

Key Benefits of MQTT

Lightweight Code Footprint: IoT devices require only a few lines of code to integrate and work with MQTT protocol.

Minimized Data Packets: MQTT is very energy-efficient and operates significantly if a device is battery-powered or has little CPU power.

Speed: MQTT runs in real-time, with no delays outside of Quality of Service (QoS).

Seamless Implementation: MQTT has in-built libraries in programming languages like Python and Elixir. So, it is easy to implement.

Last Will and Testament: If a client disconnects unexpectedly, you can set message instructions that will be sent to all subscribers so as to remedy the situation.

Retained Messages: Each topic can have a retained message that every client will automatically receive on subscribing.

Common Alternatives to MQTT

XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is a communication protocol based on XML language for storing and exchanging data. It is often used to support instant messaging services.

A few differences between XMPP and MQTT are:

  • The XMPP code footprint is slightly heavier than MQTT, and you need an XML parser to encode as well as decode information.
  • XMPP doesn’t support pub/sub model by default, but it can be done with an extension.
  • XMPP takes more bandwidth than MQTT.           

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the foundation of the World Wide Web. However, this protocol is stateless and requires more overhead per transmission as compared to MQTT. Additionally, it has a lower throughput than MQTT, which means that you cannot send multiple messages simultaneously.

Conclusion

MQTT plays a significant role in making IoT products more “low-lift” while achieving desired connections among devices, servers as well as apps. Devices that use MQTT protocol sync easier with existing systems.

If you are devising for a major IoT project, then MQTT would be the best choice. You can also partner with experienced IoT app developers who know the ins and outs of this protocol.

7 Proven Ways to Improve Your IoT Device Security

Internet of Things is driving connectivity and convergence between everything. Amidst the emerging technologies and ever-changing trends, IoT smartly connects businesses and customers in this digitally-driven world. However, it also prompts hackers and attackers to commit data breaches.

We can’t gainsay the fact that businesses perceive IoT as a boon for their growth, but due to lack of security checks, this emerging technology can also turn into a bane for them. Initially, it will result in data loss, but as the ripples spread, it will end up in a slew of losses – tangible as well as intangible.

Thus, when every type of data, including employees, customers, business, infrastructure, etc. are prone to risks, it is crucial to take measures that improve the security layer of a myriad of devices and networks connected through the Internet of Things.

Future of the Internet of Things and Need for Security Enhancement

According to our perception, the future of IoT is invincible. Statista reports say that there will be about 36M connected IoT devices worldwide by 2021. Therefore, businesses from all the industries, including agriculture, healthcare, energy, retail, and oil and gas are set to leverage the future opportunities brought forth by IoT.

With billions of devices connected via IoT, a massive amount of data is generated. However, the lack of effective security protocols increases the susceptibility to hacking. For the seamless and secure functioning of IoT devices, businesses must follow risk-aware approaches and enterprise-grade practices to create a secure infrastructure.

How to Overcome IoT Security Challenges

When IoT was at its nascent stage, security, perhaps, wasn’t a much-focused factor. However, given the IoT security challenges, data breaches, and continually increasing cybercrime, it has become imperative for businesses to embrace IoT security protocols and techniques to ensure improved data security to your valuable data. Below, we have outlined a few tips that you can follow to overcome the IoT security challenges as well as apprehensions.

IoT Security Analytics

IoT app developers usually deploy IoT devices in different environments. Therefore, it necessary to track the activities of various IoT devices using  IoT security analytics. This approach helps the businesses in the structured garnering of data generated by a variety of devices and networks connected via IoT. It also easily monitors the behavioral change in data processing and reduces the possibilities of data breaches.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

The growing rate of hacking and data breaches has resulted in a surge in demand for PKI. PKI is a set of protocols on which digital certificates are issued after a registration process. The registration process records devices, users, or identities and allows businesses to spot unidentified users instantly. Thus, you can keep communication channels safe and secure.

Device Authentication

Device authentication is a potent mechanism for the authentication of billions of connected devices. With robust passwords protocols, integration of two-factor authentications, and many other practices, you can analyze as well as scrutinize every device trying to connect to the network.

Secured Internet Network

The network vulnerability is in direct proportion to hacking and can experience DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks, for example. These attacks disrupt the functioning of connected devices and often generate inappropriate or misguiding data. In such cases, a secured internet network must be used at places where IoT devices are implemented and run.

Secured Cloud Platforms

Most businesses use the cloud to store massive data generated by IoT devices. Hence, it is vital to secure the cloud platforms which communicate data with IoT devices. Besides, you should also protect and update passwords at regular intervals, implement provisions to block the account, for a defined timeframe, after multiple failed login attempts. Two-level security features will also add an extra level of security.

Encrypted Security layers

In most cases, IoT devices are not developed with security layers and are highly vulnerable. Thus, it is essential to incorporate encrypted security layers into your IoT device during its development. Also, the devices should be developed with updates operating systems and robust as well as high-performance hardware that secures the entire data exchange process. This would lead to a safe environment for storing and communicating data.

Software Update

In various industries, IoT devices, connected to sensors, are embedded in remote areas to glean data. Therefore, the software update for these devices becomes vital as it protects them from hacking and data breaches. The updated software and firmware also facilitate the incorporation of new features into IoT devices besides helping in identifying and eradicating security bugs.

Conclusion

Whether the nascent cyber laws can deal with cybercriminals or not, the demand for secure IoT products has been continually rising in the maturing market. News reports inform that the IoT security market in North America is anticipated to grow approximately by 25% annually, and this growth will be fueled by continuously increasing demand for IoT device security solutions and cloud-based enterprise apps. Likewise, other regions of the world will also witness a surge in demand for IoT security solutions, depending on the increasing use of IoT devices as well as networks.

6 Reasons Why React Native is the Future of Mobile App Development

React Native is the most innovative approach to shaping cross-platform mobile applications. This open-source framework has paved the way for app developers who want to implement their skills to build JavaScript-based apps. With native look and feel, it holds the set of features for both Android as well as iOS apps.

Furthermore, React Native is used by a plethora of React Native app developers and globally renowned companies like Instagram, Bloomberg, Skype, Uber, Walmart, Pinterest, and also its founding father – Facebook. Within a few years, it has gained enormous momentum, community share, and market share. Thus, this framework is recognized as a boon for the future of mobile app development in this fast-paced and highly-competitive world.

Key reasons that strengthen the future outlook of React Native 

Native Functionality

Do you know why React Native is called “Native”? This is because React Native comprises Native widgets that make the UI of the app work flawlessly.

Besides JavaScript, it can run the most complex apps smoothly and outperform real native apps without webview. Hence, app developers and businesses incline toward React Native to build native apps supporting the React paradigm in JavaScript.

Stable Community

Since React Native is supported by Facebook engineering, it has a large developing community to back it. Facebook, along with the community, is working relentlessly to improve the framework, set future goals, and offer continuous technology upgrades. So, it proves that React Native is not a bubble that will burst in the future.

Developers Choice

React Native offers a great developing environment, where the app developers can have the best coding experience. It is considered significantly understandable as it relies on language fundamentals and provides a variety of components coupled with filters as well as maps.

Furthermore, this framework provides more support and a simplified code structure to developers. Its architecture is also well-adapted to mobile phones. Thus, React Native app developers easily understand its core structure and find it the perfect tool.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Initially, React Native was launched for iOS. However, because of its exceptional features and capabilities., Facebook made it compatible with Android as well. Now, most of the React Native APIs are cross-platform, which enables the developers to build a hybrid app through React Native using a single codebase.

Additionally, React Native app developers can embed native code easily, if needed, to provide a more platform-specific authenticity to the application. This, in turn, considerably reduces the development cost as well as time.

How to Enhance the Performance of your React Native Mobile Application

Constructive Developer Practice

React Native eliminates the tedious re-building and organizing steps to simplify the iteration cycle. Additionally, it uses a Flexbox layout engine to create app layouts for both iOS as well as Android platforms. Since one layout engine is enough to work on the web and both the platforms, the app development process becomes faster.

Instant Live Updates

Another significant benefit of the React Native framework is Live Updates. Using JavaScript, developers can directly push the updates to the users’ mobiles without going through the app store update cycle. Consequently, React Native simplifies and streamlines the whole updating process.

Wrapping Up

React Native is inevitably the future of the mobile app development sector as it offers enormous advantages. Soon, it will be morphed into a go-to-framework for the majority of businesses to create most competitive applications within a reduced timeframe, budget, and resources. Therefore, if you are devising to build a business application, investing in a React Native technology is worth everything, and you will love every bit of it.

To know more, you can reach out to our React Native developers who have rich expertise in creating high-performance cross-platform apps.

A Comprehensive Guide to Mesh Network in IoT – An Expert’s Take

Earlier, establishing connections beyond a single point was a strenuous task. It used to require high-cost hardware solutions and software implementations to connect in-between spaces needed for device-to-device communication. With the advancement of IoT platforms, IoT app developers have started to adopt a low-cost, low-power approach i.e., Wireless mesh networks, to bridge the gap between these devices.

What is a Wireless Mesh Network?

In a mesh network, infrastructure nodes are connected wirelessly. These nodes further connect to a host of other nodes to facilitate data communication. Since every device has at least two ways to transfer data, the whole network doesn’t have to rely on a single node only. 

On the contrary, the conventional star network is a way in which all the devices are directly connected to the gateway. Thus, the whole structure becomes very dependent and prone to connection failures. Besides, the crash in one node connection impedes the data transfer in the entire network.

Therefore, businesses are more likely to rely on a mesh network instead of a star network.

Working of a Mesh Network

Depending upon the standard type used in a mesh network, 2-4 different components come in handy.

Nodes – 

Every mesh network has nodes i.e., the devices that communicate data with each other.

Gateway – 

Gateway not only allows devices to transfer data in the network but also provides a backhaul to the internet for the local mesh network.

Repeater – 

In the case of wifi type of mesh network, there are repeaters that maintain internet signal and forward messages between endpoints.

Endpoint – 

Endpoints are mesh-only devices that don’t route messages for other devices, but send them to other nodes. That’s why they are referred to as endpoints. Specifically, they have no networking responsibilities, can enter sleep mode, and are excellent components for battery-powered nodes and sensors.

Mesh network for IoT devices transfers data in two ways: Flooding or Routing. In Flooding, all the nodes act as a data broadcaster. Thus, this technique expedites data communication. However, Flooding is an energy-consuming approach. 

At the same time, routing chooses one path and transfers the data package from node to node until it reaches the endpoint. Unlike flooding, routing sends data to one node at a time. It chooses another route only when the connection in the first route breaks. Furthermore, to ensure efficiency, the mesh network adopts Shortest Path Bridging i.e., SPB or IEEE 802.1aq algorithm, to transfer data via the shortest route available.

 Types of Mesh Network

In a mesh network for IoT devices, IoT app developers can connect devices in two ways: Full Mesh Network or Partial Mesh Network.

Full mesh network requires end-to-end connection among every device, router, or switch to provide a high degree of redundancy and efficiency. Besides, it facilitates data package communication by single-link. 

On the other hand, in a partial mesh network, devices are not directly connected to each other. But still, each device is connected to at least two other nodes. So, this type of mesh network enables rapid data transfer from one node to the other.

Benefits of Mesh Network in IoT

Mesh Network for IoT devices offers enormous benefits that make it sought-after in enterprises and significant in an IoT app development company.

Self-healing

Like Shortest Path Bridging, Self-healing algorithm automatically chooses the best path to transfer data even if a few nodes lose connection. Specifically, it uses only those connections that are available and working to maintain the task.

Self-configuring

Due to auto-discovery, mesh networks are self-configuring in nature. Hence, the new nodes calibrate automatically and connect to the network without any previous setup. Consequently, network administration and expansion become easier in mesh networking.

Scalability and Reliability

In a mesh network, it is way easy to add or remove nodes without any efficiency issue. Usually, issues are in proportion to the devices. However, it is quite the opposite in the case of a mesh network. Adding nodes in a mesh network provides more routes in which data package can travel, which makes the network faster, reliable, and error-resistant.

Cost Reduction

Since mesh networks don’t require internet connection, it consumes ultra-little energy. Meanwhile, sensors are pocket-friendly and long-lasting.

Besides, IoT implementation reduces expenses in many other ways like better management, optimization of resources usage, and more.

Drawbacks of Mesh Network in IoT

Though there are ample benefits of a mesh network, it also comes with a few drawbacks. So, it is essential to gain in-depth knowledge of this network before deciding whether a mesh network is a perfect fit for you.

Low Capacity

Mesh network is the best way of sending small data packages. Unfortunately, it doesn’t perform well while transferring video file sized data.

Still, if transferring a large amount of data is compulsory, then the wifi mesh network would be a better option.

Latency

Actively switching from one node to another can decelerate the data receiving process. However, it is not an issue when your system requires a package every few minutes or so. But, it might be not enough for a few systems.

Conversely, a full mesh network can accelerate the data transfer by connecting every node to one another.

Maintenance

Due to the self-healing ability of the mesh network, finding a non-working node might be time-consuming. Also, we won’t come to know if a node is having an issue.

On the other hand, mesh networks for IoT devices are established to make the IoT system smarter and more efficient. So, the nodes are less prone to crash.

Where IoT Mesh Network Can be Used

With new technologies, wireless mesh networking has reached a point of maturity and become ideal for IoT app developers. Besides, the elevation of connected homes and industry support on open-source resources has made mesh truly accessible and low-cost. They are also regarded as much more viable and real choice for commercial as well as industrial IoT apps. At the same time, it can render extra services in a system where extending a two-node connection is limited.

Smart Cities –  

A wireless mesh network is the best for extending radio signals through campus grounds, business parks, parking garages, and other outdoor facilities. Besides extending signals throughout the whole space, it can be able to send a message when a spot is occupied. Thus, areas like parking garages that need space availability checkers significantly benefit from a mesh network.

Healthcare Equipment – 

A mesh network can facilitate monitoring and locating medical equipment. It can also serve as a backup for medical devices that always require to stay online. Thus, if one node crashes and loses connectivity, another node can step in to maintain the connection.

Smart Home – 

You can track and manage temperature across your home using a wireless mesh network. You can also capture live data and adjust settings automatically by setting up one powered gateway, sensors, and mesh-enabled nodes in each room.

Farming – 

Mesh networking is the best way to track sun exposure and water levels across the crops and fields. Additionally, you can create a cellular-connected IoT platform by building a mesh network across a whole acreage with the help of an IoT app development company.

Is Wireless Mesh Networking Right for You?

Before choosing a mesh network for your IoT project, you must take three core variables into account: installation, device management, and support.

Installation – 

Installation of mesh network depends on your intended app. You need to figure out if you need a distributed set of mesh nodes for your project. Furthermore, if you plan to deploy mesh for industrial or commercial apps, set up a small-scale mesh network to discover the system efficiency before implementing a large-scale mesh network system.

Device Management – 

A mesh-enabled IoT solution allows you to manage fleets of devices, perform diagnostics, monitor event logs, and send updates wirelessly.

Support – 

Before investing in a mesh solution, it is a wise idea to take the community surrounding it into consideration. Mesh networks with limited adoption have fewer resources available to help you in development.

The Bottom Line

Mesh Network is an essential component for IoT infrastructure as it allows devices to cover more area as well as garner more data. If you are planning to incorporate wireless mesh network into your IoT architecture, examine the entire IoT system, instead of a single component.

Besides, to build an end-to-end IoT product, you need to integrate hardware, software, connectivity, and research IoT platforms that can provide these components.

With this in mind, we suggest consulting experienced IoT app developers who can help you to scope these three complexities and develop a high-quality IoT product.

5 Hybrid App Frameworks Ruling the Mobile App Development Market

The tech innovations are escalating at an unprecedented level. Experts are toiling relentlessly to make advancements in the existing ways of systems deployment. Akin to the introduction of smartphones and mobile applications in the operational frame, they are likely to bring forth more technological progressions over the coming years.

Talking about hybrid apps, we have witnessed many frameworks that claim to facilitate and expedite the app development process. However, counting on the best, feature-rich, and user-friendly hybrid framework is easier said than done. Thus, to help you pick the perfect framework for your hybrid mobile app development project, we have outlined the prominent ones that are currently ruling the market.

Hybrid App Frameworks Redefining Mobile App Development

Ionic

The Ionic framework is a comprehensive open-source software development kit (SDK) for building hybrid apps. Built on top of Apache Cordova and AngularJS, Ionic offers tools and services for developing cross-platform applications using Web technologies such as HTML5, CSS, and Sass. Hence, the developed apps can be distributed through native app stores to be installed on devices by leveraging Cordova.

Ionic is a free and open-source project and has over 120 native device features including, HealthKit, Bluetooth, Finger Print Auth, and more with PhoneGap/Cordova plugins and TypeScript extensions. So, developers can use their CLI to develop, test, and deploy Ionic applications onto any platform.

Additionally, this framework possesses an Ionicons icon pack with a myriad of the most common application icons. It provides live reloading during development as compiling and redeploying the app at every step is a time-consuming process. Also, there are more useful features in Ionic like deep linking, Ionic Native, AoT (Ahead-of-Time) compiling.

React Native

Introduced as a web-interface development platform in 2013, Facebook launched React Native as a hybrid app framework in 2015. This framework provides users with an almost native-like experience among applications with extended stability. Consequently, React Native has a massive potential to become the best cross-platform app development framework in the foreseeable future.

Using this framework, React Native developers can build apps using only JavaScript. It uses a similar design as React, enabling them to compose an intuitive mobile user interface (UI) from declarative components. Therefore, this framework helps developers to create real mobile applications that are indistinguishable from Java/Objective-C apps.

Furthermore, React Native uses a similar basic UI building block as regular Android and iOS applications, and the developers have to put these blocks together using React and JavaScript.

Flutter

Flutter has gained high momentum over the last two years. This open-source SDK launched by Google allows developers to build apps using Dart language. Flutter uses a modern reactive framework enabling app developers to create an interactive, native-like user interface. The framework under the hood uses a two-dimensional (2D) rendering engine to develop all the UI elements. Hence, apps build using this framework look similar on all the platforms.

This framework is built with Dart, C, C++, and Skia graphics engine, while Dart is used for creating components, and the Skia 2D graphics engine is used by under the hood for bringing life to code. As said above, the framework code is written in Dart language, whereas the engine is implemented in C++. The C/C++ code is compiled into the native code with the Android Native Development Kit (NDK). Similarly, on iOS, the C/C++ code is Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compiled into native code with LLVM (Low-Level Virtual Machine)

Additionally, Flutter uses its own set of Widgets instead of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Widgets. Flutter Widgets are basically higher-order components developed on top of the rendering library, which is further developed in the top lower level animation & paint libraries. At the lowest level, all the user interface code uses Skia to render the app UI. This framework runs most of its app code inside a lightweight Dart VM.

Xamarin

Xamarin is a Microsoft-owned framework having cross-platform implementations of the Common Language Specifications and Common Language Infrastructure.

With C# shared codebase, mobile app developers can utilize Xamarin tools to code native iOS, Android, and Windows apps with native UI and distribute code across multiple platforms. Being a robust hybrid mobile app development framework, Xamarin saves time while re-utilizing tools, abilities, and teams. Hence, developers can influence the array of Android and Xamarin APIs and also design a remarkable experience for glass with Android GDK and SDK.

Adobe PhoneGap

PhoneGap, also known as Apache Cordova, is a popular hybrid framework for cross-platform mobile app development. It is an open-source distribution of the Cordova framework using which developers can reuse existing web development skills and thus, rapidly build hybrid apps for multiple platforms with a single codebase.

The core of Apache Cordova apps uses JavaScript for their logic and HTML5 and CSS3 for their rendering. HTML5 provides access to underlying access like a camera, accelerometer, and GPS. However, the browser’s support for HTML5-based device access isn’t consistent across mobile browsers, specifically older Android versions. To surmount these limitations, Cordova embeds HTML5 code inside a native WebView on the device, using a foreign function interface to access its native resources.

Above all, Apache Cordova can be extended with native plugins, enabling app developers to add more functionalities that can be called from JavaScript, facilitating direct communication between the native layer and the HTML5 page. The plugins can also provide access to the device’s camera, accelerometer, microphone, file system, compass, and more.

Final Words

These are the sought-after frameworks for hybrid mobile app development. If you are planning to give an online presence to your business, incline toward the hybrid model. It will help you to create a quick cross-platform app as developers can reuse the same code for multiple platforms. Furthermore, a hybrid app is a perfect solution for deploying applications faster and building prototype apps. The aforementioned frameworks can certainly provide you the best user experience, like a native application.

Given the current trends, we shall suggest tapping into the React Native framework as it is easy for development as well as maintenance of the small to enterprise-level project.

To know why you should rely on React Native framework, feel free to approach the experts of our React Native app development company.

7 Best IoT Platforms Most Businesses Incline Toward

The market of IoT platforms is making headway gradually, and it is expected to rake in a massive value of $74.44B globally by 2023. The reason behind the expansion of this market is the proliferation in the IoT devices and their correlated components. These devices and components need a facilitator – IoT Platform – to seamlessly communicate in the same environment and create maximum business value.

What is an IoT Platform?

IoT platform is a middleware solution that acts as a connector between the IoT devices and the cloud. It facilitates data exchange over the network and also connects the application layer to the hardware.

Currently, there are a plethora of IoT platforms in the market, each having its own significance in making IoT integration as well as management simpler and scalable. A reliable IoT development company counts on 7 IoT platforms for successful IoT implementation.

Microsoft Azure IoT Platform

It is an open-source, cloud-based suite that assists in bringing local intelligence to the shared/distributed IoT. This platform has virtual tools that offer a flexible and configurable computing environment. These tools can be easily be resized according to the workload.

To leverage the Azure IoT platform, the user has to pass the commands over Microsoft Azure PowerShell in order to start or stop the server as well as writing operations. However, this suite doesn’t offer any management.

Features:

  • Supports instant IoT-enabled device registry that generates a unique identity for each device
  • Provides a cloud-based dashboard to offer immediate access to data across apps and devices
  • Enables real-time analytics streaming for the betterment of decision-making ability
  • Offers remote monitoring solution to keep a tab of apps and devices
  • Smoothens continuous data monitoring for actionable insights

AWS IoT Platform

AWS platform not only allows device connectivity to the cloud but also secures the integration of apps available on cloud and other devices. The merit of this platform is that it enables apps to analyze devices and facilitates 24*7 communication between them, without the need for an internet connection.

Features:

  • Supports instant device and app connectivity and helps in exchanging authentic messages using HTTP or MQTT, or WebSockets protocols
  • Provides a message broker that enables data communication between apps and devices with low latency
  • Offers a device gateway to deal with all the connected device without maintaining infrastructure
  • Gives a unique identity to devices to track metadata of connected systems
  • Encrypts data exchange through authentication at every step

Google Cloud IoT Platform

It provides a comprehensive toolset to connect, process, save, and monitor data in the cloud and at the edge. Google provides fully-managed, scalable cloud services for on-premise/edge computing apps using the platform. This IoT platform also offers expanded AI capabilities to edge devices with Cloud IoT Edge. Besides, it identifies the device operations efficiency and performs firmware updates. Also, take note that only a few programming languages support app development on this IoT platform, while Google offers most tech-components.

Features:

  • Supports device’s predictive maintenance and improves equipment efficiency in real-time
  • Stores gathered data, performs complex analytics, and shows the connected device’s status
  • Provides massive storage and reduces server maintenance cost
  • Tracks location and condition of devices continuously
  • Enables integration with other Google services
  • Manages pricing on a per-minute basis
  • Facilitates big data analysis

IBM Watson IoT Platform

It is a PaaS-based development Platform launched by IBM. This platform provides simple solutions for IoT app development services and makes it accessible for a novice. Moreover, it offers secure communication, real-time data exchange, and data sensor as well as weather data service. It has the potential to handle massive data and render improved customer service.

Features:

  • Provides an open container architecture that offers convenient migration of workload to the cloud
  • Analyzes unstructured data and comprehend the data-pattern to gain valuable insights
  • Develops and connects devices to apps on the cloud seamlessly
  • Provides dashboard for enhanced visualization

Cumulocity IoT Platform

It is an independent device and app management IoT platform, which enhances visibility and provides improved control over remote assets. Being an end-to-end cloud enablement platform, it makes data and asset management convenient for enterprises.

Features:

  • Monitors data analytics in real-time by offering customizable dashboards
  • Improves the existing services with simple workflow integrations
  • Connects devices over any network with a plug-n-play approach
  • Facilitates access through mobile, laptops, and desktops

Oracle IoT Platform

This platform offers endpoint management, real-time data analysis, and fast-paced messaging to send real-time alerts directly to user devices. It is Platform as a service-based cloud computing suite that facilitates device connectivity with the cloud and data monitoring from the devices to provide real-time insights and incorporate data with real-time web, application service, or Oracle Cloud services.

Features:

  • Supports bi-direction communication between and the connected devices and the apps on the cloud
  • Stores device’s metadata to comprehend the attributes, capabilities, and lifecycle of the connected devices
  • Renders Oracle BI Cloud Service Support with enhanced data visualization
  • Supports Big Data analysis

Cisco IoT Cloud Connect

This is a cloud-based, mobile platform that renders solutions for mobile operators and offers flexible deployment options for IoT devices. The key focus of this suite is data and voice connectivity, while Cisco Kinetic ensures the security of this platform. It also extracts IoT data from the components or devices connected to the IoT network to normalize it so that apps can use it. Additionally, this platform applies rules to the data in motion for the improvement of the decision-making ability of the enterprises.

Features:

  • Supports data computation in a shared network that ensures optimal use of resources in the network
  • Provides a cloud-based dashboard that offers better control and view of the IoT gateways
  • Enable free data flow between the connected devices and the app based on cloud
  • Provides real-time information and updates
IoT App Development Company
IoT App Development Company

IoT Platforms Driving Business Growth

IoT platforms play a significant role in creating business value and fueling their growth. But, they must tread carefully to choose the best one by taking factors like service provider’s SDK richness, support, documentation, and API interface into account. They should also assess the IoT protocols for billing base, message size limitations, and multi-tenancy support.

Be it choosing an IoT platform or availing IoT app development services, it is essential to analyze the nature and objectives of your business. You can also consult with the experts of a renowned IoT development company to help you find the best IoT platform and navigate your IoT implementation journey.

How IoT Protocols Secure Data Exchange in the IoT Sphere

With the continuously increasing number of IoT devices, cases of DDoS attacks are also being witnessed frequently. According to a Statista report, the number of connected devices will reach about 31B by 2020. Thus, this is the time when businesses, customers, stakeholders, and IoT app developers should garner knowledge about IoT protocols that can significantly hold the chances of security breaches at bay.

A Comprehensive Guide to IoT Protocols

IoT protocols are modes of communication that ensure end-to-end security of the data exchange between connected devices.

Basically, the IoT devices are connected to the cloud through an IP network. However, Bluetooth and RFID devices allow IoT systems to connect locally. In both cases, there is a difference in range, power, and memory consumption. IP network connectivity is relatively complicated, requires more power and memory from the IoT devices while the range is not an issue. On the contrast, non-IP networks need less memory and power and are limited to a specific range. As far as the IoT protocols are concerned, a blend of IP and non-IP networks can be considered as per to their usage.

IoT protocols can be classified into two different categories. Let’s have a look at them.

1.) IoT Network Protocols

IoT network protocols are the set of communication protocols used to connect devices and ensure secure data exchange within the scope of the network. Some of the IoT network protocols are:

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

HyperText Transfer Protocol has built the foundation of data transmission over the web. This protocol is commonly used for IoT devices when there is a massive amount of data to be published. However, HTTP is not the first choice of most IoT app developers because of its battery life, cost, energy consumed, and many other constraints.

3D Printing is one of the best use cases of the HyperText Transfer Protocol. It connects computers to the 3D printers over the network and enables systems to print 3D objects and pre-determined process prototypes.

LoRaWan (Long Range Wide Area Network)

LoRaWan is a low-power, long-range protocol that offers signals detection below the noise level. It connects battery-powered devices to the internet, wirelessly in private or global networks. This protocol is mainly used by smart cities, where there a myriad of devices that operate with less power and memory.

Smart street lighting is the most significant use case of the LoRaWan protocol. This protocol facilitates the connection of street lights to the LoRa gateway. The LoRa gateway further connects to the cloud app that controls the intensity of light bulbs and reduces power consumption during the daytime.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is an extensively used protocol for wireless, short-range, low-cost, low-power, and secure data exchange between electronic devices. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a subset of this protocol that cuts down power consumption and plays a significant role in connecting IoT devices.

Bluetooth protocol is mostly used in smartphones, smart wearables, and other devices, where small chunks of data can be communicated with low energy and memory consumption. With such high usage and demand, Bluetooth is deemed the most preferred IoT connectivity protocols by every IoT development company.

ZigBee

ZigBee protocol enables smart objects to work in tandem and is generally used in home automation. Well-known for industrial settings, ZigBee is integrated into applications that support low-rate data exchange over a short distance.

ZigBee protocol  is used in electric meters and street lights in urban areas, which provide low-power consumption. It is also used with security systems.

2.) IoT Data Protocols

IoT data protocols provide point-to-point data exchange with the hardware at the user side, with no need for internet connectivity. IoT data protocols connectivity takes place via a wired or a cellular network. The key IoT data protocols are:

 Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT)

MQTT protocol gathers data from multiple electronic devices and supports remote device monitoring. It is a publish/subscribe protocol that operates over TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), enabling it to support event-driven data communication via wireless networks.

MTQQ is mainly used in economical devices and demands less power as well as memory. For example, smartwatches, fire detectors, car sensors, and apps for text-based messaging.

Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)

CoAp is an internet-utility protocol for restricted devices. This allows the client to send a request to the server, and then the server can respond to the clients in HTTP. CoAP uses User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and reduces memory consumption for light-weight implementation.

Constrained Application Protocol is chiefly used in mobiles, automation, and microcontrollers. It sends a request to the app endpoints like appliances at homes and reverts resources and services in the application.

Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)

This is a software layer protocol for message-oriented middleware infrastructure that renders queuing and routing. AMQP provides reliable point-to-point connections and ensures secure data exchange between the connected devices and the cloud. This protocol comprises three components, named Message Queue, Exchange, and Binding, responsible for seamless, secure, and successful message exchange and storage. It also facilitates the relationship establishment of one message with another.

AMQP is mostly used in the banking sector. When a server sends a message, the protocol tracks it until is it is delivered to the destinations without hindrance.

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Protocol

M2M is an open industry protocol accountable for remote application management of IoT devices. This protocol uses public networks and creates an environment where a machine can easily exchange data. Besides, it supports the self-monitoring of equipment and facilitates system adaptability to match with the changing environment.

M2M protocol is used for automated vehicle authentication, smart homes, ATM machines, and vending machines.

Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)

The XMPP is designed in a unique way and runs on a push mechanism to communicate data in real-time. It is a flexible protocol and can easily integrate with the changes. XMPP operates as a presence indicator and shows the availability status of the devices or servers exchanging messages.

Apart from instant messaging applications like WhatsApp and Google Talk, XMPP is used on news websites, online gaming, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Final Words

According to the Economic Times, over 32,000 smart homes and businesses are at risk of data leakage. Knowing and exploring the potential of the afore-mentioned IoT protocols will help you to create a secure environment for communicating data with the cloud.

Since choosing an appropriate type of connectivity and protocol is an inevitable aspect for a successful IoT project, we suggest to consult the experts of a smart IoT Development Company. They will navigate you in your IoT project journey right from ideation and conceptualization to development and deployment.

Reasons Why IoT is Gaining Popularity With Each Passing Day

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing at a meteoric rate. Some experts believe that advancement is taking place so fast that the potential uses of this revolutionary technology are beyond the reach of theory. But, what exactly is the reason behind this unprecedented growth and popularity?

Well, IoT comes with a myriad of possibilities to disrupt almost every industry today. Some of the industries have already embraced this technology with the help of IoT app developers, while others are devising to adopt it and explore tremendous business opportunities.

With IoT innovation, businesses stand a chance to procure hefty growth prospects. Besides, they can also unleash additional revenue sources by significantly reducing the time-to-market. Key benefits that businesses can yield with IoT implementation are:

Enhanced Business Opportunities

IoT has the power to turn any business into a fast-growing, powerful organization. Tremendously transforming how a company approaches the global market, it can help to create new growth avenues. IoT can also assist them in building advanced and robust models and generating new revenue streams by increasing return on investment (ROI).

Efficient Business Processes

Businesses can harness IoT to keep a real-time track of their equipment and garner profound operational insights with the help of sensors. This data helps them to identify issues in their assets and improve their efficiency by minimizing energy costs as well as lost time due to maintenance.

Better Safety & Security

With the help of IoT app developers and deployers, monitoring workplaces in real-time becomes easier than ever. This helps in ensuring asset safety and provides complete protection from physical threats.

Increase Productivity

The productivity of a business is directly proportional to its profitability. Internet of Things trains employees in real-time by augmenting their efficiency and reducing discrepancies in operations, which boost organizational productivity to a large extent.

Cost-Cutting

Improved asset utilization, business processes, and productivity can considerably reduce operational costs. Predictive analysis, along with concurrent operational insights, can help in decreasing the maintenance overheads.

Inventory Tracking and Management

IoT can reshape the way businesses track and manage their inventories. Instead of providing remote scanners and other devices to your employees to keep an eye on your inventory, you can exploit smart IoT systems to record all inventory changes automatically, thus minimizing the workers’ load and allowing them to focus more on other essential and arduous tasks.

Know Customer’s Needs & Preferences

IoT-enabled devices facilitate tracking and recoding of customers’ behavior and preferences and, thus, provide recommendations accordingly. Businesses can use this data to come up with improved products that align with the customer’s needs. These significant insights about every stage of the buying cycle help them to comprehend their target demographic on a more qualitative level.

In Conclusion

The unparalleled popularity of IoT is credited to a host of driving forces, including ubiquitous internet connectivity, the exponential growth of smart devices, easy availability of low-cost technologies along with a massive amount of data. However, to leverage the potential of the Internet of Things, businesses must strive to overcome the challenges of IoT implementation by following a holistic and forward-thinking approach.

6 Critical Challenges of IoT Implementation in Enterprises

Internet of Things (IoT) is relatively a new concept for businesses, which is unearthing massive opportunities for them to thrive in today’s era. Various experts have various takes on what IoT stands for enterprises. However, the underlying notion behind IoT always remains the same – collect data, analyze it, and generate profound insights to expedite operations and yield benefits. It seems easy in theory, but IoT deployment is way challenging than said. We had to pour our blood, sweat, and tears to successfully deliver our first IoT project as an effective IoT implementation needs a lot of brainstorming, diligence, intelligence, and determination.

The following are a few challenges that we encountered during our IoT development and deployment journey.

Delivering Value to the Clients/Customers

The success of an IoT implementation is directly proportional to defining the problem statement clearly, and this is what most IoT development services providers miss out. The IoT development cycle requires a great deal of retrospection, but this gap of understanding the client’s problem statement is the biggest obstacle. Thus, IoT developers and consultants need to know what IoT can really bring to the table and figure out the KPIs to monitor and improve through an IoT solution.

Hardware Compatibility Issues                          

Data gathering majorly takes place through various sensors, PLCs, etc. which are further connected to IoT gateways to store and transfer data to the cloud. Enterprises must meticulously identify their machines, hardware, and legacy systems based on their business objectives. When there are legacy systems that don’t have integrated sensors and PLCs, the IoT implementation becomes a bit challenging. Incorporating external sensors is one quick workaround, but it won’t be foolproof, making this challenge more critical. Thus, understanding the machines and their compatibility issues before IoT implementation is highly recommended.

Data Connectivity Issues

This is probably the most overlooked issue since data connectivity has improved a lot. But still, there are some areas where data connectivity is a huge challenge in an IoT implementation. It involves how IoT devices work with the gateway and the cloud and what data format do they create. Most IoT gateways are compatible with Wi-Fi/LAN and GPRS, but legacy systems depend on RTUs, PLCs, and telemetry systems to generate data. So, a suitable edge layer is needed to translate transport and data format protocols and send data to the IoT-integrated platform. Defining and understanding the perfect combination of these protocols before IoT implementation will be beneficial in the long run.

Inaccurate Data Collection

Suppose the entire IoT implementation did not encounter any hurdles, and the system is running seamlessly. But due to an unexpected incident or the software inability to handle certain anomalies in run time, inaccurate data gets collected. This further results in inaccurate analytics that may not help in gauging the operations and making better futuristic decisions. As we said earlier that IoT is all about data collection, the inability to garner accurate data can be a significant challenge for the IoT developers as well as their clients.

Analytics Storage Space

The real potential of an IoT system is realized through profound, actionable insights obtained from the garnered data. This demands a high-performance analytics platform that can handle an enormous amount of data to be stored in the solution at a later point. Experts must take this aspect into account while devising the architecture of IoT implementation to engage data processing, cleansing, and representation. Hence, the system should be extensible enough to store real-time or predictive analytics so that the system never go out of space.

Data Security Issues

Due to ransomware attacks, businesses are concerned about data security. There are also possibilities of corporate espionage to gain intellectual property. Thus, IoT development services providers must ensure data protection by using a comprehensive governance model, which renders secure access to sensitive data and reports. This planning phase, which defines various data-related security policies, is essential for successful IoT implementation.

Conclusion

The abovementioned challenges are the key factors that influence the decision-making process of enterprises and potential clients for IoT implementation. A smart grid solutions provider successfully implemented an IoT solution by overcoming these challenges. The experts of our IoT development company helped them to devise and build a system that connects plenty of electric meters, handles and analyzes massive data and provides intelligent reports for making the best decisions.

How IoT is Transforming the Agriculture Market

Due to the mainstream adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), connected devices have penetrated almost everywhere, right from energy, healthcare, home automation to retail, and the oil and gas industry. The impact of IoT has been observed in most sectors, and the sphere of agriculture is no different. It has brought forth a plethora of technological transformations in farming practices and tremendously improved every facet of agriculture. Now, farmers are less likely to rely on age-old techniques and use horses and plows for farming. By leveraging smart gadgets, they have gained more control over the process of growing crops and raising livestock, thus making their farming practices more predictable as well as efficient.

In this article, we will shed light on the benefits of IoT in the agriculture industry and explore its use cases to have an idea of how it is revolutionizing this industry. So, if you are planning for IoT mobile app development and embracing smart farming, dive right in.

How smart farming is levelling up the agriculture market

According to Business Insider, the IoT-enabled agriculture solutions will hit a milestone of 75M by 2020. Meanwhile, another report says that the global smart agriculture market will reach a massive amount of $15.3M by 2025. So, we can say that with the continuous evolvement of this market, the IoT mobile app development can help you to stand out as an early adopter and climb the ladder of success within the coming years.

Let’s have a look at the benefits of smart farming.

Deeper insights into internal operations

Smart agriculture sensors have the potential to gather tons of data about soil quality, weather conditions, cattle’s health, and crop growth progress. This data can give you deep insights into your staff performance, equipment efficiency, and thus, track the state of your business.

Better control over the internal processes

More control over the internal operations, lower will be the production risks. IoT products enable you to predict the outcome of your crops and plan for better distribution. If you know the volume of crops you are going to harvest, you can make sure that your product won’t lag behind and lie around unsold.

Cost management and waste reduction

The increased control over the production using the IoT solutions can help you to detect the anomalies in livestock health and crop growth. Hence, you can mitigate the risks of losing your yield.

Improve business efficiency

Smart farming solutions can allow you to automate multiple processes like irrigation, fertilizing, pest control, etc. across your crop production cycle and increase your productivity considerably. Automation can also help you to maintain high standards of your crop quality as well as growth capacity.

All these benefits can eventually improve your bottom line.

Now that you are aware of how IoT can benefit your farming, let’s have a look at the real-life implementation of IoT in the sphere of agriculture.

IoT use cases in agriculture

Climate monitoring

Weather stations combined with various sensors are probably one of the sought-after smart agriculture gadgets. They are generally placed across the field to garner a variety of data from the environment and send it to a cloud. The gathered data can be used to map the weather conditions, select appropriate crops and take necessary measures to enhance their capacity.

Greenhouse automation

Apart from collecting environmental data, weather stations have the potential to adjust the conditions according to the given parameters. Specifically, smart greenhouse automation systems work on a similar principle. Incorporating a smart sprinkler controller into your greenhouse system can allow you to manage your lighting and irrigation systems remotely.

Crop management

One more type of IoT-enabled product in agriculture and another element of smart farming is crop management devices. They should also be located in the field to gather data specific to crop farming. This data can range from precipitation and temperature to leaf water potential and crop health and help you to keep an eye on the growth of your crop and any anomalies to immediately prevent any infestations or diseases that can harm your product.

Cattle monitoring and management

Similar to crop monitoring, some sensors can be attached to the animals to examine their health and performance. Companies also use smart agriculture sensors to get an abundance of insightful data about the health, activities, and nutrition of each cattle as well as collect information about the herd.

Comprehensive farm management systems

Adopting farm productivity management solutions is the best approach to streamlining agricultural operations. These systems generally possess a number of IoT devices and sensors, installed on the field, as well as a robust dashboard having in-built analytical capabilities and reporting/accounting features. Such an end-to-end solution allows you to monitor and streamline most of your business operations remotely.

Final Words

Smart farming has become a necessity for agriculture businesses to thrive in this competitive world. With the high-quality IoT mobile app development, farmers can effectively cope up with all the challenges they encounter in their conventional farming practice. Additionally, the profound insights derived from sensors can help them to be more careful in their use of fertilizers and pesticides, thus mitigating hazardous environmental impacts.

In brief, correct IoT implementation in agriculture can address and overcome many challenges along with increasing the quality, quantity, and cost-effectiveness of agricultural production.

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