2020 IoT Guide: Basics, Examples, PCBs for Hardware, and Future trends

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The Internet of Things (IoT) has been strengthening its position as one of the most revolutionary technologies of this era.

This year 5G has been deployed widely making the realization of IoT even more easy and practical.

This is because IoT relies on super connectivity and fast speed communication.

This post will guide you through all respects of IoT, including its definition, its examples, PCBs/PCBA for IoT hardware building, and its trends.

Part 1: What is IoT

IoT or Internet of Things refers to an enormous number of devices around the globe that are connected through the internet, all of which are helping in data collection and sharing. With the advancement in technology, miniature circuit designs, and the ubiquitous nature of wireless sensor networks, making everything a part of the IoT networks has become a reality.

By connecting all these devices and adding sensors, we add intelligence to them and thus enable them to communicate real-time data without human involvement.

IoT is making the world better, smarter, and more responsive.


The idea of adding intelligent sensors to physical devices was around in the 1980s. Some early projects included military-based applications and internet-connected vending machines.

But the development was very slow mainly because of the lack of efficient technology. The chips were big and bulky and the communication technologies were not efficient.

However, chips are miniature nowadays.

The convergence of multiple technologies like machine learning, real-time analytics, embedded systems, and commodity sensors has helped evolve the IoT. 

The conventional fields of wireless sensor networks, embedded systems, control, and automation all contribute to the IoT. 

In the typical consumer market, IoT technology is most relevant to products of smart homes like home security systems, thermostats, cameras, or lightning fixtures. 

These types of devices can support common ecosystems and can be controlled using devices related to ecosystems like smart speakers or smartphones.

IoT PCB - Custom Advanced PCBs/PCBA for IoT Hardware

In this section, we will discuss how to build an advanced custom PCB for IoT hardware. 

The major steps involve breadboarding, developing an Arduino code, circuit prototyping, PCB design, and printing and soldering, and power consumption check.

  • Breadboarding: It is a very basic step in designing an electrical circuit. Identify the functions, the circuit needs to perform with the relevant components. You can just place the components and their connections using jumpers to quickly check the working of the circuit. It results in a messy but functional circuit design.
  • Code development: The next step of the Arduino-based circuits design is to develop a code to enable the circuit what is it needed to do. The typical Arduino based projects are coded in C or C++ with some special rules.
  • Circuit Prototyping: before designing any PCB design circuit for the project, it’s a good idea to create a small, compact, and neat prototype circuit. Also, it should be neat and tight as much as possible since it directly affects the size and thus the cost of the PCB. It can also give an idea of the packaging or housing required for the final product. Many software is available for this purpose like Fritzing, Proteus, etc.
  • Design and print the PCB: It involves designing the circuit schematics on a PCB design software, creating the layout of circuit boards, and its final routing. It is suggested to save often, do the design rules check and recheck quite often, and keep small components away from any other components and their legs. You can learn other PCB design tips from “ 12 Useful PCB Design Rules and Tips to Follow”. When you complete your PCB design, it’s time to find  a reliable PCB manufacturer to print the boards. A reliable PCB manufacturer should have its in-house R&D team, its own PCB facility, and strong production capability.
  • Soldering: the next step is to solder the components on the board. This is called the PCBA (PCB assembly). It needs soldering iron, a hot air gun, tweezers, magnifying glass, and soldering wire.
  • Power consumption check: It includes checking out all the power consumption sources, the leakage currents, and minimizing the quiescent currents for the least power consumption.
Choose PCBONLINE for your PCBs/PCBA for IoT Hardware Building:

PCBONLINE is a one-stop EMS (electronic manufacturing service) factory online shop, which is a trustworthy PCBs/PCBA supplier for your IoT hardware building. The reasons why we choose it are:

  • PCBONLINE has rich experience in manufacturing advanced PCBs/PCBA for IoT hardware.
  • We provide free DFM/DFT/DFX report for your IoT products. And we check your Gerber, BOM, and other documents carefully.
  • At PCBONLINE, you can order PCBs, PCBA, PCB layout service, and electronic components, which can complete your IoT hardware building.
  • PCBONLINE has three PCB production bases and a PCBA assembly factory, together with 100+ in-house R&D engineers and 500+ well-trained technicians.
  • No minimum PCB number is required for placing an order, and you can order IoT PCBs and track production status online.

Some Powerful Examples of IoT

IoT is a big revolution in the field of modern era technology and represents the upcoming phase of the internet revolution. IoT has the capability to merge the digital and physical worlds.

Here we will discuss some of the major examples of IoT devices:

  • IoT Sensors: IoT sensors include digital and manual sensors connected to boards like Raspberry Pi and Arduino. These sensors have the capability to be programmed for collecting data from sensors like temperature, pressure, humidity, motion, and vibration. IoT sensors collect and report data to the central serving devices for further processing. These sensors help in the seamless control of data and can be used for improved efficiency, cost reduction, and predictive maintenance in businesses. The common examples of IoT sensors are temperature sensors, proximity sensors, pressure sensors, water quality detectors, chemical sensors, and IR sensors, etc.
    IoT sensors
  • IoT-based tracking and monitoring: businesses are using IoT systems for tracking goods. The asset tracking device based on IoT uses RF tags or GPS for tracking and monitoring. These smart devices can be deployed for long-range asset verification and identification.
  • IoT-connected factory: the business can also make use of factory solutions connected through IoT, e.g. Microsoft’s Azure IoT. The cloud software is used with multiple resources for allowing the control of various devices. The data can be gathered from assets that are geographically not close. These solutions help to report data like telemetry or the efficiency of the equipment.
  • Digital supply chain management: the supply chain managers take help from smart routing algorithms for improving their predictions. The smart IoT devices installed on the packages can help to provide instant facts in case of any accidents with the help of RFID and GPS. It can help in making smart and efficient decisions related to supply management. The IoT applications can also help in risk reduction in managing the supply chain. The managers can take help from programs related to smart supply chain management for variance mitigation, profitability improvement, and cost reduction.
    digital supply chain
  • IoT-based smart barcode readers: the smart IoT based barcode readers help in managing inventories more efficiently. These barcode readers support ML-based signal processing. These devices help optimize the operation of sectors like logistics, retail, and warehouse, etc. These barcode readers have connections with cloud data to communicate with each other. By using interconnected bar codes the process of inventory management can be eased. These smart barcode readers can be deployed into the shopping carts. These readers use ML-based sensors to identify products when they are added to or removed from the shopping cart. These smart readers can automatically transfer data to the computer and hence help save time in checkout and improve customer experience.
  • IoT-based smart grids: the smart grid is another application of IoT. These grids allow real-time data monitoring about the demand and supply of electricity. It includes computer intelligence for managing the resources efficiently. The utility companies can make use of these IoT based smart grid technologies for better management of outage. They take help from the technology for the identification of load distribution and reliability improvement. This technology helps in detecting faults and their repairs. With the help of smart grids, the utilities can connect all their resources like meters and substations. By deploying the IoT technologies to the grid ecosystems, the utility companies can have better control over the power resources and infrastructure. Also, they help customers in accessing energy in a better way.
  • IoT-based smart healthcare systems, Internet of Medical Things (IoMT): IoT finds a lot of applications in the healthcare industry as well. The technology has the potential for the provision of the best medical services by making use of smart medical devices. IoMT can help to monitor and support vital data collection which will help in making better clinical decisions. With the help of these smart medical devices, medical services can be made available to more persons. These devices help in remote monitoring of the patients in real-time and can help to report emergency situations like heart attacks or asthma attacks saving a lot of lives. These smart devices can also collect healthcare data including sugar levels, blood pressure, weight, and oxygen. The data gets stored online and can be accessed by the physician at any time.
  • IoT-based smart farming: The farmers can take help from IoT devices for the optimization of many different activities like the determination of the best time for planting or harvesting the plants, creation of fertilizer profiles as needed by the soil’s chemistry, and sensing the moisture and nutrients levels in the soil. The IoT technologies help in precise farming which results in optimized crop production. The IoT market in agriculture is rising fast and achieving remarkable outputs. Some of the project examples of IoT-based farming are AIIMETOE, Smart Elements, and Pycno. These projects sense environmental data and weather conditions. This helps boost the quantity as well as the quality of the agricultural products.
    IoT smart farming

Future Trends in IoT:

With the expanding IoT research and its enormous applications, we can safely say that the future belongs to IoT. Some of the predictions are:

  • More devices are expected to connect in the upcoming years and the number may reach up to 21 billion devices in the next 5 years.
  • As the applications of IoT keep expanding not only the businesses will deploy the IoT, but the whole cities will become smart and hence save time and resources.
  • The 5G wireless communication technology will help achieve better speeds and enable more number of smart devices to get connected at a time. A faster network will ensure more data to be accumulated, analyzed, and managed for better usage, which will further fuel the need for more IoT devices and a boost in its applications.
  • With all these development, more security and privacy concerns will arise, and initiatives would be needed to avoid security risks and mishandling of private and secure data.

Bottom Line

The Internet of Things (IoT) has a lot of potential in business fields. The revolutionary technology has caused a lot of changes in the industry already. With the further evolution of IoT technology, the business landscape is changing rapidly.

In this article, we have listed the introduction of IoT technology and its vast applications. It is the current need to understand IoT in order to boost business and make the best of this growing technology. The examples of IoT-based business solutions have been listed to highlight how businesses can take advantage of these emerging technologies. If you are considering hardware building for IoT, PCBONLINE is not only your best PCB/PCBA supplier but also an EMS service provider.

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