A complex systems challenge needs a comprehensive systems solution. The IoT is a system. A system with far-reaching capabilities, opportunities and benefits. All of which come with significant complexity for those looking to harness its vast potential. The most successful results will come from a systems approach. Extreme IoT solutions call for the most precise and secure data under the widest range of conditions with low power processing at the very edge of the network to reliably connect to the cloud.
Extreme IoT is moving beyond number of connected sensors into systems that may be moving (an “Internet of Moving Things”) or systems irrespective of domain partitioning where analytics can happen at the sensor edge or in the cloud. Time based or “time stamped” data allows insights to be drawn or an outcome to be predicted from many sets of sensor data taken at the edge or in the cloud. But finally, when data is sent into the cloud, it is vital that that it is done with highest reliability.
Consider these examples from my previous blog, Welcome to the Extreme IoT: a sensor in the heart of the desert, another deep in the arctic or sensors on a moving robot in a factory full of radio interference. Just surviving and operating in those extreme settings is challenging.
Low Power Reliable Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs)
Wireless IoT networks must meet the same requirements of wired networks, but the demands extend beyond reliable transmission in harsh conditions. Wireless networks must also deliver robust performance, security, and the lowest possible power consumption. While the radio is a critical building block, and many low power radio solutions are available, network protocol and architecture play a large role in determining the performance and power consumption of the full solution. And the needs may be very different depending on the application. These can range from large data sets transferred on a continuous basis to small amounts of information transferred on an “as needed” basis. But in all cases, the data needs to incorporate strong security, including encryption and authentication.
From Rant to Reality:
A solution that uses efficient sensor networks, chips, and pre-certified PCB modules with mesh networking software, can enable sensors to communicate in demanding industrial IoT environments. For example, ADI’s SmartMesh wireless networking products use a time-synchronized channel-hopping protocol with built-in self-diagnostics to transmit data. Each wireless node has an on-board ARM Cortex-M3, which can be used as an edge processor. That way, only the necessary information is transmitted, reducing power consumption and cost. This specialized combination of reliable WSN communications, intelligent sensing, and low power consumption makes wireless solutions like SmartMesh well-suited for placement almost anywhere in demanding industrial environments.
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