What Components Are Included in the IoT Stack?
The IoT stack comprises all the technological elements required for the operation of an IoT device, forming an ecosystem where each component influences and interacts with others. It can vary from one structure to another but basically comprises: hardware, sensor data, data transport, cloud data and cloud layers.
How the IoT Stack Layers Work
In the world of IoT, the functioning of even the most basic devices relies on a variety of technologies. These devices use sensors, actuators, and computers, and the data they gather is transmitted through networks to other devices or applications, and vice versa. Collectively, this complicated ecosystem is known as the IoT stack, and its composition can vary significantly from one IoT device to another. Picture it like a series of interconnected layers, each representing a category of technology. Although there is no universal standard for these layers, we can assume it as follows:
The Hardware IoT Layer
The hardware layer encompasses the physical components of the IoT device, such as sensors, mainboards, modules, actuators, SIM cards, and antennae. These components determine what data the device can collect and process, as well as what firmware and protocols it can employ. As the IoT landscape evolves, different iterations of the device may require updated hardware to support advanced software and capabilities.
The Data Transport Layer
Data Transport involves the seamless bidirectional data flow between sensors and the cloud. The IoT encompasses various elements, including Physical and Data Link layers, featuring access technologies like LPWA and IEEE 802.15.4-based technologies like Zigbee. Network elements, such as IP, handle data packet routing. Data is transmitted using diverse transport protocols like TCP, UDP, MQTT, and CoAP, tailored to meet specific IoT application requirements.
The Cloud Data Layer
The Cloud Data layer revolves around data aggregation, monitoring device estates, analysis, maintenance, and efficiency improvement. Within the tech industry, including IoT, a prevailing trend of "platformisation" is observed, enabling easy development and utilization of IoT apps for devices. Device management and data management platforms, such as Amazon IoT Core, Google IoT Core, and Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, play a significant role in this layer.
The Cloud Layer
The Cloud layer is centered on creating value from data by making it accessible, intelligent, smart, and actionable. Device manufacturers' platforms, apps, third-party solutions, and cloud hyperscales contribute to achieving this goal. Application Enablement Platforms and Connectivity Support Platforms, like AWS IoT Core, exemplify prominent components in this layer.