The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more prevalent and important to modern enterprises, and this is making IoT gateways more important than ever before. To truly maximize your data collection and analysis, using an IoT gateway is essential.
The Internet of Things continues to expand and offer businesses more opportunities and capabilities, but this also comes with challenges as well. Organizations have to juggle integrating IoT devices and protocols that have different power and connectivity requirements. More often than not, they will also have to integrate legacy technology as well.
IoT gateways are becoming an essential part of IoT architecture to help handle the complexities presented by growing IoT systems and edge computing. Let’s get a better understanding of what IoT gateways are, how they work, and the benefits of using them.
What are IoT Gateways?
IoT gateways connect IoT devices to one another and the cloud. The simplest way to think about an IoT gateway is to compare it to a router. Although IoT gateways possess far more capabilities than your basic router, their core functions are the same, enabling communications between different protocols and devices.
IoT gateways act as a central hub for connected devices on an IoT network. They are often physical devices, but IoT gateways could also be virtual platforms in some cases. Besides connecting devices, gateways help translate communications between devices and filter data into usable views and analytics.
IoT gateways are helping expand the capabilities of IoT ecosystems and are a big part of the edge computing innovations being made in the industry.
How Do IoT Gateways Work?
Understanding how a gateway works will help your organization see the benefit of adding gateways to your IoT ecosystem. Without a gateway, your IoT devices have to connect to the cloud on their own. They also have to send all of the data they are collecting to the cloud for analysis and action.
IoT devices also need to receive information from the cloud in order to be autonomously controlled. All of this requires bandwidth and power resources. High-bandwidth and large power resources are not something that small, low-power IoT devices, like sensors, typically possess.
Plus, when you have a multitude of IoT devices all trying to communicate with each other and the cloud, your network performance slows down. This can be a problem if you rely on your IoT sensors and network to make real-time decisions.
IoT gateways save power resources and minimize network traffic. Instead of sending all data to the cloud, IoT devices send their data to an IoT gateway. The gateway pre-processes the data from all of the connected devices on the network, aggregates, summarizes, and synchronizes it all before sending it onto the cloud.
By pre-processing the data, gateways drastically reduce the volume of data being sent to the cloud, which in turn leads to faster network response times. Not only does this help improve response times, but it also helps organizations save on network transmission costs.
Gateways also receive information from the cloud and communicate with the connected devices giving organizations better autonomous control over their IoT devices. Since the IoT gateway handles most of the heavy lifting in terms of data communication, sensors and other IoT devices experience longer battery life. This is an important aspect of gateways for IoT devices being employed in remote areas.
The Benefits of Using an IoT Gateway
Whether you have a large network of connected devices or an IoT app and a few connected sensors, an IoT gateway provides a number of benefits. We’ve already touched on the power-saving and network transmission benefits of gateways, but there are other benefits that you should be aware of, including:
- Universal control
- Communication translation between devices
- Data filtering
An IoT gateway acts a lot like a universal remote. All of your IoT devices will work just fine without a gateway, and they can all be controlled on an individual basis. However, a gateway gives you the ability to control all of your connected devices from one central location and program your individual devices to work together.
You can also connect multiple IoT gateways to one another. This makes it easy to add devices to your network and control all of your organization’s devices from one central location. Universal control is a major benefit to large organizations that rely on a lot of devices and sensors.
Communication Translation Between Devices
IoT devices are becoming more ubiquitous in the workplace. This is great because new devices and services are always being developed and released, but the major issue with this is that there is no standardization for communication between devices.
Unless every device you get is built by the same manufacturer, odds are your devices won’t be able to communicate with each other without the help of an IoT gateway. In order to truly maximize the capabilities of your IoT ecosystem, it is essential that your devices are able to communicate with one another.
An IoT gateway helps facilitate communication between all of your different devices. Even when you invest in the latest IoT devices, you don’t have to worry about how they will integrate with your current devices when you use an IoT gateway.
While IoT expansion is an exciting technological advancement, adding more connected devices also increases the amount of security risk you face. Outside influence or intrusion is a risk you must take with all IoT devices. However, you can limit your risk by using an IoT gateway.
Instead of having 100 devices that all connect to the Internet, you have one IoT gateway that handles all communication and Internet connections. This doesn’t completely eradicate the risk you face, but it greatly decreases it. The IoT gateway adds an extra layer of security between the Internet and your IoT devices.
IoT gateways not only enable communication between devices but also simplify the process by filtering out irrelevant data points. IoT devices are capable of logging a huge amount of data, but a large portion of this data will not be helpful.
Instead of communicating every bit of data and bogging down the network, an IoT gateway helps filter out the important parts of information to be sent to the cloud or other devices. This drastically improves response times.
This is an important part of edge computing, and it has a lot of value in other industrial applications where real-time data is essential to function.
IoT app development is an exciting and expanding sector of the tech industry. The Internet of Things has created a lot of new opportunities for organizations. Finding the right solutions for your business can be difficult when there are so many options available.
If you need help determining which IoT solutions are right for your organization, reach out to an app development partner. A partner can lend you their industry experience and technical expertise. Whether you need to implement an IoT gateway or choose new IoT devices for your organization, trust a development partner to help you make the best decisions.