IoT scalability continues to require more devices with intermittent connectivity

As our world becomes more and more connected, IoT devices are popping up everywhere. With total IoT connections expected to achieve 83 billion in 2024, it’s time to start talking about technology change necessary to meet the scalability and continued growth of IoT.

Currently, most IoT devices require a stable and constant internet connection to synchronize their data with the cloud. The problem is that this level of connectivity is not always possible and it comes with cyber risks. Hardware failures and bandwidth overloads happen, and they have the potential to wreak havoc on constantly connected devices.

For IoT to be scalable and continuously evolving, taking its place in digital trends – it is essential to rethink how devices are designed and secured

“The pace of innovation has created a requirement for millions of devices, most networks (mostly wireless) to be connected to some degree,” Earl Perkins wrote, a VP at Gartner. “Unfortunately, most of these devices have little or no protection at the software and infrastructure level.”

Intermittent connectivity to IoT devices is a technical solution that involves increasing adoption. Here’s how it can solve some of the current challenges faced by IoT devices.

Better Power Management to Continue IoT Expansion

While technology impressive, IoT devices are often plagued by something as simple as a limited power supply. Constantly connected IoT devices must be connected to a stable power source. Therefore, they are not the most practical solution for use over long distances or in extreme conditions.

Lithium-ion battery helps

In many cases, the most practical power source is a lithium-ion battery. However, when the battery runs out, the data transfer will stop and the IoT device will be as useful as a brick. Consumer-oriented IoT devices, such as in home appliances, do not have this problem because they are built into the device and use the power to which it is connected.

However, this is not possible in industrial use cases. The easiest way to reduce power consumption is to eliminate the need for constant data transmission. “If it doesn’t take a lot of energy to transmit and receive data wirelessly, then IoT devices will last longer” Emily Newton explained of the IoT Time.

What about using 5G to further expand IoT?

She added: “5G New Radio (NR) will be much more energy efficient than LTE networks. “In LTE networks, base stations can only sleep for less than a millisecond before transmitting because they require a lot of always-on signals. 5G NR can rest for 20 milliseconds between notifications, resulting in lower power consumption sleep mode.”

Furthermore, the proliferation of push model IoT devices is a sign that product engineers are taking steps in the right direction to solve the problem. According to this protocol, data is sent only when needed (with the push of a button). XML and JSON payloads ensure that the database stays on track between transmissions.

The result is low battery usage and virtually no unnecessary energy wasted.

Less network stress

When analyzing IoT use cases from a business perspective, it is clear that in most cases there is no need for continuous data transmission. Sending a constant stream of data back to central servers only increases network stress and makes them more likely to fail or be intercepted at critical moments.

This is how to provide less network stress

The logistics industry provides a prime example of how intermittent connectivity can ensure safer product delivery. The use of IoT has increased in logistics thanks to COVID-19 vaccine shipping conditions.

These vaccines are stored and transported at temperatures well below freezing in dry ice packs. Traditional radio-based RFID condition monitoring tags cannot be used in air cargo situations.

IoT devices have become a go-to solution. But what about product condition monitoring?

Always-on IoT devices have become a go-to solution, but the stress they place on the network jeopardizes product health monitoring.

In such situations, solutions like QR code based data loggers are a better option. Employees can scan a QR code with their smartphone and transmit the data to a central server as needed. The result is less network stress, less risk of loss of life, and better health monitoring.

“Data transfer reliability is what makes or breaks supply chain analytics” notes Niko Polvinen, a co-founder of Logmore. “When you can trust the quality of your data and your ability to derive it, you get the insights you need to make critical supply chain improvements.

Efficient data retrieval

A constantly connected IoT device transmits large amounts of data to servers, causing server-side stress. Indeed, the data generated from IoT devices is predicted to be achieved 73.1 ZB by 2025. All that data can provide teams with a wealth of information, but sifting through and running analytics on them is a challenge.

Here’s how to mitigate data retrieval issues with IoT scalability

One way to mitigate this problem is to combine data mart storage with intermittent transmission. Data marts are a collection of relevant data related to a particular activity that an organization is interested in monitoring. For example, a retailer can create data marts for all their departments or even product lines.

Central repositories can store large data sets relevant to an entire organization, while data warehouses can provide teams with a quick look at critical, product-specific data. With IoT devices transferring data intermittently at the right times, finding and organizing data becomes simple.

Intermittent connectivity is key to capturing relevant data without the risk of network overload. When combined with data mart, IoT use cases across all businesses will grow exponentially.

Growing usage requires new approaches to further expand IoT

As IoT devices continue to evolve each part in our lifetimes, it’s time to rethink their design to prevent infrastructure failure.

Intermittent connection is the best solution as it eliminates important problems. Embracing it is the key to realizing greater IoT scalability.

Image Credits: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Reuben Jackson

Reuben Jackson

Ruben is a blockchain security consultant currently living in New York City. He helps organizations fundamentally redesign experiences to create new sources of value and reinvent corporate operations digitally for greater efficiency.

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