20.7.2018

IoT hardware developer kits are designed for the rapid development of IoT solutions, but non-ICT-specialized industries moving towards IoT paradigm may find that these platforms are not tailored to their needs. FhP-AICOS researchers have analyzed a number of existing platforms, and wrote a report detailing their findings.

 

The 'IoT Hardware development platforms survey' analyses existing hardware development kits for the IoT by the perspective of non-ICT-specialised industries moving towards IoT paradigm.

Such study as its foundations on the high level of complexity, and financial investment, involved on developing an IoT solution from its sensor/actuator infrastructure to its high level data processing platform, normally out of reach for non-ICT-specialised industries.

As a result of this work, this report lists and analyses 12 of those platforms, focusing mainly on the software, hardware and production tools that are fundamental for the product development process.

As highlights of this analysis, one can say that:

  • Hardware tools are based on one, or multiple, hardware solutions composed by multifunctional modules, SoCs or ’ready to use’ devices. The amount and quality of the provided documentation is platform dependent, with some platforms offering datasheets, user manuals, application notes, examples and technical documents (schematics, layouts, production files, etc.), and others limited to datasheets and user manuals;
  • Software tools are available in the form of API and SDKs compatible with single or multiple programing languages and operative systems. Such tools are more or less documented and accompanied with usage examples;
  • Product development is normally composed by a paid professional service, sometimes provided by a list of industrial partners.

However, despite the focus on IoT, and on the documentation provided along with the platform, such solutions normally do not take into consideration the reduced hardware development knowledge of non-ICT-specialised industries moving into the IoT paradigm. Some exceptions do exist, but they are focused on the development of prototypes and proof of concepts, or on market ready solutions that do not offer the freedom to adapt the proposed solution to the industry needs.

In addition to this challenge (hardware and software/firmware development for nonexperts) three key aspects were identified as fundamental for the future developments of these platforms:

  • Security – It is a mandatory feature for any IoT project, and should be applied following security by design principals to all its development layers;
  • Size and functionality integration – IoT hardware development platforms need to offer small scale hardware platforms to be able to meet the diversity of IoT scenarios and requirements;
  • Tools for network management and monitoring – With the increasing number of communicating networks and their size its management will be a fundamental ever day task. A set of fully integrated tools that ease the network management, integration and monitoring is a differentiator for any platform.

 

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