Book Image

Designing Production-Grade and Large-Scale IoT Solutions.

By : Mohamed Abdelaziz
Book Image

Designing Production-Grade and Large-Scale IoT Solutions.

By: Mohamed Abdelaziz

Overview of this book

With the rising demand for and recent enhancements in IoT, a developer with sound knowledge of IoT is the need of the hour. This book will help you design, build, and operate large-scale E2E IoT solutions to transform your business and products, increase revenue, and reduce operational costs. Starting with an overview of how IoT technologies can help you solve your business problems, this book will be a useful guide to helping you implement end-to-end IoT solution architecture. You'll learn to select IoT devices; real-time operating systems; IoT Edge covering Edge location, software, and hardware; and the best IoT connectivity for your IoT solution. As you progress, you'll work with IoT device management, IoT data analytics, IoT platforms, and put these components to work as part of your IoT solution. You'll also be able to build IoT backend cloud from scratch by leveraging the modern app architecture paradigms and cloud-native technologies such as containers and microservices. Finally, you'll discover best practices for different operational excellence pillars, including high availability, resiliency, reliability, security, cost optimization, and high performance, which should be applied for large-scale production-grade IoT solutions. By the end of this IoT book, you'll be confident in designing, building, and operating IoT solutions.
Table of Contents (15 chapters)
1
Section 1: Anatomy of IoT
5
Section 2: The IoT Backend (aka the IoT Cloud)
10
Section 3: IoT Application Architecture Paradigms and IoT Operational Excellence

IoT impact and benefits in different industries – the why

Over the course of history, there have been different industrial revolutions that occurred in different eras. The first industrial revolution that occurred between the years 1760 and 1840 introduced machine power to replace hand power. At that time, this represented a significant achievement that disrupted and changed many industries, including mining, the iron industry, and agriculture.

Then, between the years 1871 and 1914, the second industrial revolution was enabled and powered by one of the greatest inventions and discoveries of humankind – electricity. Electricity fundamentally changed and disrupted different industries at that time.

In the late 20th century, the third industrial revolution was powered and enabled by the great invention of the computer. Computer systems and networking paved the way for the next and most recent industrial revolution, aka Industry 4.0.

The fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) includes many technology enablers, such as IoT, cloud computing, automation, AI, ML, analytics, and cybersecurity, for disrupting a variety of industries and manufacturing processes.

IoT plays a critical role in shaping Industry 4.0 and impacts and disrupts any current industry and business. Let's learn how!

Manufacturing

With IoT technologies, different consumer products and services are not only classified as connected products, but they move to the next level of a business model where the following features can be easily introduced and bring great business value:

  • New billing and revenue models: Think about smart bulbs, for example. What about buying smart bulbs on a monthly-based subscription instead of the current traditional model (that is, it is yours for just a one-off payment). In that new model, the consumer will not worry about ongoing maintenance issues with smart bulbs in their home as they will pay the monthly subscription to the smart bulb company, which will cover everything, including installation and ongoing post-installation maintenance. In other words, you rent the bulbs in your home instead of owning them. This new model enables and introduces IoT technologies, such as asset monitoring IoT solutions.
  • Increased quality of products and services: A smart factory typically collects massive amounts of operational data that is generated by its connected devices, and also from the environment where those devices are deployed and operate. This helps the factory to undertake proper analytics on such massive amounts of data and introduce new features to the company's connected products or even predict failures in the connected products and act proactively in fixing those expected failures. This could be done by running predictive maintenance machine learning algorithms in the cloud based on the data collected by IoT sensors.
  • Increased business agility and resource optimization: With IoT, companies or factory staff can run and maintain a company's connected products and services remotely using what is called a remote asset management solution. We saw during the COVID-19 pandemic in the year 2020 how companies that use IoT technologies in their products and services managed to survive and ensure business continuity during that difficult time. Also, with the concept of digital twins, workforce safety increased as staff no longer have to face some hazardous challenges during the manufacturing process.

Energy and utilities

Many challenges, such as connectivity issues, asset tracking and monitoring, safety, and security emanated from remote locations such as refineries and oil fields. Those challenges are addressed by leveraging IoT technologies such as IoT device management, IoT connectivity, edge computing, ML, and Analytics @EDGE.

Also, on the consumer side of things, IoT helps a lot in saving energy. Think about smart lights that detect a person's movement in a room and switch on only if there are people in the room. They can also detect brightness levels – whether it is daytime or during the night, and act accordingly. Other examples that employ the same idea are air conditioning systems and heaters. These kinds of solutions save lots of energy resources and reduce consumers' bills as well.

In the utilities sector, things such as smart meters are the first requirement for many utility companies.

Transportation

The IoT fundamentally impacts and disrupts the transportation industry. IoT technologies play a critical role in the following services and features in that industry:

  • Connected vehicles.
  • Autonomous vehicles and self-driving.
  • Fleet management.
  • Increased safety and security.
  • Increased efficiency.
  • Onboard entertainment.
  • And many other interesting features and services besides. Recently, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have started to see trains and buses being equipped with multiple additional sensors to help train and bus companies enforce social distancing and other health-related rules that were put in place to help fight the pandemic.

Health care

The IoT fundamentally impacts and disrupts this industry. IoT technologies play a critical role in the following services and features of the industry:

  • Wearable patient devices to remotely monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and many other biometrics. This helps in tracking the health status of old and lonely people to act immediately in the case of an emergency.
  • Doctors can now diagnose their patients remotely as they get all the data that they need to collect from their patients through attached IoT devices or sensors. With the introduction of 5G (a super low-latency connectivity option), it will become possible to perform remote surgery, which will help save lots of lives in remote areas.
  • Different hospital equipment can be tracked and monitored by IoT using IoT asset tracking solutions.

Retail

Have you heard about the interesting "Amazon Go" stores that have no staff working in them? Consumers just pop into the store and buy whatever they want and when they leave the store, payment is taken automatically? Interesting, isn't it? IoT and other modern technologies are behind those types of smart stores.

In retail, the IoT supports many use cases, such as the following:

  • Real-time inventory management
  • Personalization
  • Safety and security, that is, video analytics
  • Cost savings and operational efficiencies
  • And so many other interesting features and services

Sports and leisure centers

The IoT supports many use cases in the sport and leisure center domain, such as the following:

  • Real-time tracking
  • Improved safety with video analytics
  • Interactive fan engagement

Agriculture

IoT technologies introduce many benefits to the agriculture and farming sector, such as the following:

  • Livestock and crop tracking.
  • Improved crop quality and increased volumes.
  • Increased farming process efficiency. Think about smart irrigation and how much water the farmer could save if they manage to detect soil moisture and see whether crops require watering. Also, in a smart irrigation solution, you could get input about the weather status and whether it will rain, so you could save even more water on this basis.

One of the interesting use cases in that sector was a case of a farmer complaining about an increase in the newborn cattle death rate (this is the business problem) that occurred because the farmer did not know exactly when cattle would give birth. During labor, human intervention may be required to help female cattle should a problem arise.

So, how could IoT solve that business problem? With a very tiny microcontroller equipped with a vibration sensor and a cellular communication module attached to the tail of the pregnant cattle, at a specific vibration rate (this specific rate indicates that the cattle is giving birth), a video call will be triggered with the farmer and the latter can watch the whole process from their home and intervene if needed. Through this solution, the volume of newly born cattle has increased significantly.

Supply chain

IoT technologies introduce many benefits to the supply chain sector, such as the following:

  • Detecting counterfeit goods
  • Improved product quality, that is, better control of products' expiration dates
  • Real-time or near-real-time inventory management

Cities

Resource scarcity, or a lack of resources, occurs when demand for a natural resource exceeds supply. Therefore, in a modern economy, there is always a need for new and sustainable financial and service models.

Smart cities are a business initiative to offer a sustainability model and the best quality of life standards with fewer resources.

IoT technologies help a lot in achieving the vision of smart cities and completely disrupt lots of traditional citizen and council services. Here, we'll mention a few:

  • Smart parking
  • Smart street lighting
  • Smart waste management
  • Smart energy management
  • Smart buildings

And so many more features and services.

Home automation – smart homes

With IoT technologies, the concept of a true and complete smart home is possible. Many products and services in homes are powered by IoT technologies. Here, we'll mention a few:

  • Smart refrigerators, microwaves, ovens, coffee machines, TVs, and so on
  • Smart lighting
  • Security and safety
  • Smart windows, doors, curtains, and so on
  • Smart thermostats
  • Smart gardens

And many other features and services besides.

Without any doubt, and as has already been stated, the IoT is everywhere and disrupts many different business sectors.

Important Note

What is interesting here is the fact that the IoT solution paradigm is very simple and very common. In any sector, you will have things or IoT devices equipped with sensors to sense the physical world and with communication modules to provide connectivity to send the collected generated data from those IoT devices to the IoT backend cloud for further analysis.

To conclude this section, the most important thing is understanding business problems, how IoT can solve these issues, and what benefits businesses will get from using IoT technologies. Let's now move on to understand more about IoT solutions and technologies and see how it all works together.