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Product architecture of IoT platform

From PC Internet to mobile Internet is all about connecting people to people, while IoT is about connecting all the things and events around us to the Internet. In this article, the author analyzes how an IoT platform should be product architectedfrom four levels: perception layer, network layer, The IoT platform should be product architected from four levels: perception layer, network layer, platform layer, and industry application layer.

Introduction to the Internet of Things


Internet of things (IoT), that is, “the Internet of everything connected”, is an extension and expansion of the network based on the Internet, combining various information sensing devices with the Internet and forming a huge network to achieve interconnection of people, machines and things at any time and any place.
With the support of sensing technology, microelectromechanical system, communication technology, cloud computing and other technology industries, IOT technology is developing very rapidly and, as a national strategy strongly supported by national policies in recent years, it is beginning to attract much attention and gradually usher in various business opportunities, and the market is gradually expanding.
In the next decade, with the development of the Internet of Things and the Internet, artificial intelligence, 5G, big data and other technologies, is about to usher in the intelligent era leading the development of society. For the application of IoT technology, it can be divided into four layers, which are perception layer, network layer, platform layer and application layer.

  • Perception layer: i.e., sensing and collecting data from the physical world through sensing technology to establish a bridge of communication between people and things.
  • Network layer: the network layer acts as a data transmission pipeline to connect things to the Internet and achieve interoperability between people, machines and things.
  • Platform layer: After the data is connected to the system platform, the platform can analyze, analyze and process the data, and then provide rich services and functions.
  • Application layer: The final application of IOT will be used in various industries, such as smart home, smart car, smart city, smart transportation, smart medical, etc., to promote intelligent development.

Product Architecture

IoT platform, providing access and management capabilities of a large number of devices, can connect your IoT devices to the cloud platform, support device data collection on the cloud and the cloud to send commands to the device for remote control, according to different application scenarios, to help you quickly build IoT security monitoring solutions.

20220130003618 60062 - Product architecture of IoT platform

Build a complete IoT security monitoring solution, mainly divided into 3 parts: equipment, IoT platform, industry applications.
1) Device
That is, the perception layer and network layer in IoT technology.
For all kinds of sensing devices, they can access the sensing network through zigbee/Lora/RS485 and other communication methods, or access the IoT platform through various networks such as 4G/5G/NB-IoT/Ethernet, and use MQTT protocol to report business data to the platform, which can also send control commands down to the devices.
2) IoT platform
That is, the platform layer in IoT technology.
IoT platform as an intermediate service to undertake the device and industry applications, it carries the abstracted business logic and standardized core data model to achieve rapid access to the device, while providing a strong modularization capability to support the various needs of industry application scenarios.
3) Industry Application
That is, the application layer in the IoT technology, by calling the API interface provided by the IoT platform, quickly build functional modules to meet the needs of the industry.
This article gives an example of the IoT platform product architecture, is built on the security monitoring for the application area to design, different companies will be more or less the same product architecture as the above chart will be different, but the overall framework should be similar, will focus on my understanding of the IoT platform.

The perception layer

Perception layer, to achieve the identification of the physical world perception, information collection, is an important bridge between the physical world and the information world. The perception layer includes RFID, sensors and other devices.
1) RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Technology)
Through a small RFID tag, it has the ability of information storage, information sending and receiving, making each object is given an ID, bringing great convenience to object identification.
 2) Sensor
For the traditional definition of: can feel the measured and according to certain rules into the available output signal devices or devices. For the sensor in the broad sense, on this basis will also be added to the microprocessor, analog-to-digital conversion, communication module, circuit design, embedded programs and other capabilities to greatly enhance the intelligence of the sensor.

Perception layer: The IoT platform provides a standard IoTAgent that can be quickly adapted to OS and smart terminals from various vendors, while pre-integrating high-value industry applications. These terminal devices are listed below.

Peripherals / Terminals

Detailed description

Smart Terminal

Refers to smart devices that can remotely control smart hardware, such as smartphones, IPads, computers, etc.

Smart Hardware

It refers to all the data collection, fusion and processing through various information sensor devices, such as radio frequency identification devices, light, sound and electromagnetic based sensors, laser scanners and other types of devices combined with the Internet.


A detection device that senses the measured information and can transform the sensed information into electrical signals or other forms of information output according to certain laws to meet the requirements of information transmission, processing, storage, recording and control.

Industry Application App

Connect and control the APP application of industry applications, which can be installed on cell phones, computers, IPAD and other terminals to control the intelligent hardware of industry applications.


Integrates network communication protocols at all layers to provide network access capabilities to devices. Middleware that isolates upper-layer applications from the underlying operating system and hardware, providing the following capabilities.

· Provide SDK downward for different OS and hardware adaptations.

· Upward can provide APIs that support various upper-layer business applications independent of the underlying resources.

The network layer

The network layer, which realizes data transmission, transfers data from the sensing layer to the platform layer. The network layer is further divided into two parts: object access to the Internet and Internet transmission.

Internet access part

There are three types of communication methods: wired communication, wireless short-range local area network communication, and wireless long-range wide area network communication.
1) Wired communication
Ethernet/optical fiber.
Serial communication: send and receive bytes by bit (bit), such as USB/RS485/RS232, etc.
2) Wireless short-range LAN communication

  • ZigBee (Purple Bee): a low-speed, short-range wireless communication technology, operating in the 4GHz band, with communication distance in the range of one hundred meters and low power consumption. A private network with 10,000-level node topology can be built by means of node + gateway.
  • WIFI: a high-speed short-range wireless communication technology, working band in 2.4GHz and 5GHz, communication distance in the range of a hundred meters, power consumption is high, generally only used for active devices.
  • Bluetooth: a medium-speed short-range wireless communication technology, working band in 4GHz, communication distance in the range of ten meters, the number of connected devices is not much.

3) Wireless long-range wide area network communication

  • Lora (Long Range Radio): a low-speed long-range modulation technology, using linear modulation spread spectrum to enhance the communication distance, up to 2~15km range, in China is used in the 470-510MHz license-free frequency band. Similar to ZigBee also needs to build a network by way of nodes + gateway, with lower power consumption.
  • NB-IoT (Narrow Band Internet of Things, Narrowband Internet of Things): an emerging low-power telematics technology, which belongs to the licensed band and requires only 180kHz bandwidth to be deployed to the operator’s network. The communication distance is also in the 10km level. Its low-power dormancy mechanism, which can result in the inability to communicate in real time.
  • 4G: the fourth generation mobile communication technology, high-speed long-distance communication, in China using the operating band of 824 ~ 960MHz, 1710 ~ 2690MHz. transmission data volume, power consumption is also large.

Internet transmission part

There are two mainstream communication protocols: MQTT and CoAP

  • MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport, Message Queue Telemetry Transport): a client-server based message publish/subscribe transport protocol that maintains long connections and enables many-to-many asynchronous communication.
  • CoAP (The Constrained Application Protocol, Constrained Application Protocol): is a client-server one-to-one protocol with lightweight and low-power features.

Network layer: It supports various access methods such as wireless and fixed access at the same time, and adapts sensors of different manufacturers through IoTAgent to facilitate access to a large number of devices. The following table shows the network access.

Access scenarios

Function Description

Mobile Broadband Access


Access via WWAN (WirelessWideAreaNetwork).

Fixed Broadband Access (BRAS)

Access via fixed broadband and fiber optics.

IoT Access (Enterprise AR)

Access through WirelessLocalAreaNetworks. Access through WirelessPersonalareanetwork (WirelessPersonalAreaNetwork). Fixed access, mainly including fiber optic access, copper shaft access, and power line access.

Platform Layer

The platform layer, also called the connection layer, mainly provides unified access capability, asset and device management, SIM card connection management, etc.

Product Management

A product is a collection of devices, usually a set of devices with the same functional definition. This module takes a hardware product as the granularity to create products and configure product-related information.

  • Product information management: management of information such as functional description, performance parameters, release status of hardware products.
  • Network topology management: for sensors, collectors and gateways, the network topology of products is different due to different communication methods. This describes the topology relationship of each type of products in the network.
  • Version & firmware management: Management of product version information and firmware.

Object model management: object model, i.e. a digital model of a physical world object (e.g. sensor) in the platform. The object model describes the upstream data, downstream commands, upstream and downstream actions of this product. Simply put, the object model is what information that entity can provide to the outside world and what can be done to it, so the object model is the key hub between the device and the platform.

Device Management

Device is the smallest unit of hardware product, each device corresponds to a unique code, and records the relevant information from the time the device is in storage, and can perform asset allocation, security authentication, configuration operation and other actions on the device, and finally the whole life cycle management of the device from storage to end-of-life.

  • Full lifecycle management of equipment: It records the physical status, health status, asset attribution and debugging log of equipment, and records the full lifecycle of equipment from storage to end-of-life, which is convenient for problem tracing and analysis.
  • Equipment asset management: Divide equipment assets to facilitate control of user equipment authority.
  • Virtual devices: Build virtual devices according to the object model for user experience, simulated debugging verification when real devices are restricted, batch pressure testing to verify platform performance and other scenarios.
  • Device shadow: Each device has and has only one device shadow, the device can obtain and set the device shadow to synchronize the state through MQTT, which is used to store the reported state of the device, the configuration expected to be sent down by the application, and decoupled application to the end device. It is generally used in scenarios such as network instability, devices unable to communicate in real time, and a device being requested repeatedly at the same time.

IoT device access

The IoT platform supports access to devices with massive and diverse heterogeneous data. Through simple configuration, the connection between devices and the cloud platform can be established to achieve stable and reliable two-way communication.

  • Protocol access: use MQTT protocol to access data, and define different topic for message release and subscription according to the scenario.
  • Device authentication: gateway-based, publish-subscribe authentication for access data topic to achieve topic-level authority isolation and improve access security.
  • Data conversion and parsing: The format of the access heterogeneous data is unified, and the access data is parsed according to the object model.
  • Device access configuration: The purpose here is to handshake the data accessed to the platform with specific entity objects, so that the data of different entity objects can be distinguished in the application. This relies on the product object model and the product networking topology. It should be noted that in the application layer, depending on different business attributes, certain relationship mapping may be done to entity objects.
  • Message communication: When the device access configuration is completed, the user can realize the interaction with the device, including data reporting and command issuance, etc.

Data Display

The module of the data collected by the IoT, using the corresponding visualization chart for display, so that the IoT monitoring data can be displayed intuitively. The functions here will be closely related to the business direction of the enterprise.
Basic monitoring data: basic graphical table data display for structured data.
System integration data: data display for video surveillance, traffic flow and other system integration classes.
Data visualization: mainstream visualization systems in the field of security monitoring, such as BIM, GIS, video fusion, personnel positioning, visualization of large screens, etc.
Data management: data maintenance, data download, document management and other services for the original data.

Data Analysis

This module analyzes the displayed data and turns the massive data of IOT into valuable data. The functions here will be closely related to the business direction of the enterprise.

  • Basic data analysis: including synchronization analysis, correlation analysis, synchronization analysis, spectrum analysis, wind rose diagram analysis.
  • Advanced data analysis: advanced algorithm analysis for specific sensors, including analysis of cable force algorithm, dynamic weighing analysis, depth skew analysis, column analysis, and analysis of cable bearing structure.
  • Report report analysis: analysis tools used by professional structural personnel to produce professional analysis reports.

Rule engine

Rule engine is the user can be on the IoT platform can configure certain rules, in the judgment of the conditions to meet the rules, the platform will perform the corresponding action to meet user needs, flexible construction of scenarios linked, alarm and other customized business scenarios. The elements required by the rule engine are as follows.
1) Trigger conditions

  • Trigger object: it can be a device, a measurement point, a moment, or an event.
  • Trigger condition: it can be a simple upper and lower limit judgment, or a complex function/algorithm judgment.
  • Trigger time: i.e., timeliness, which can be valid all the time, or for a specified period of time.
  • Precipitation mechanism: to avoid duplicate triggering rules caused by devices uploading the same data.

2) Execution action

  • Command issuance: i.e. sending commands to the formulated devices.
  • Sending notifications: such as SMS, email, applet, APP push, etc.
  • Generate an alarm: generate an alarm record in the operation and maintenance alarm monitoring interface.
  • Execution time: immediately, or delayed.
  • Execute rules: execute a certain rule.
  • Rule status switch: turn on or off a rule.

3) Log
Each rule whose status is on, each execution should keep a log, storing the trigger time, judgment basis, execution action records, etc.

Operation and maintenance services

This module provides operation and maintenance services for the professional operation and maintenance team, which is the key to the normal operation of the business.
Operation and maintenance monitoring: monitoring of project operation and maintenance, including equipment topology network, operation and maintenance alarm monitoring, invalid data, equipment report analysis.

  • Equipment debugging: remote online debugging of equipment.
  • OTA upgrade: uploading new upgrade packages and pushing OTA upgrade messages to the device, which can be upgraded online.
  • Log service: including equipment full life cycle logs, user operation logs, etc.
  • Business work order: support business operation of cross-departmental collaboration work orders, the content of this work order will vary greatly depending on the business of the enterprise, here not to make a specific expansion of the description.

Platform layer: The IoT platform solution mainly provides unified access capability, asset and device management, SIM card connection management and other functions. The following table shows the functional scenarios and descriptions of device connectivity.

Functional scenarios

Function Description

Equipment Management

The operator can manage the underlying sensing nodes through IoT device management, understand the relevant information of each node, and realize remote control.

Device Communication Management

Equipment communication management includes the management of the following areas.

Gateway Login

Data communication management between gateways to IoT platforms (based on MQTT connections)

User data to gateway connection management (device subscription)

Gateway data to user connection management (user subscription)

Transport Protocol Adaptation

The interface protocols supported by Cloud IoT platform include HTTP, MQTT, CoAP, etc.

Lightweight Forensics

Cloud IoT Platform simplifies the authentication process, making it easier to verify and authorize devices and applications.

Industry application layer

The application areas of IOT are very wide, such as home, food, medical, education, tourism, etc., which are related to life, but also transportation, logistics, industry, security, energy, etc., which are related to industry. The following is a brief list of a few application scenarios.

Smart Home

Smart home is a residential unit, through the Internet of Things technology to all kinds of equipment at home (such as home appliances, lighting, security, cameras, power, audio and video, etc.) connected together to achieve home appliance control, anti-theft alarm and other equipment intelligent scene linkage.
Through AI voice, touch screen, biometric and other interactive methods to achieve intelligent interaction between people and things, greatly enhance the convenience, security and comfort of the home experience.

Intelligent transportation

With the rapid development of social economy and technology, the level of urbanization is getting higher and higher, and the number of motor vehicles is rapidly increasing.
With the development and application of technologies such as IoT, big data and cloud computing, a smart traffic management solution for people, vehicles and infrastructure is needed in order to facilitate a more efficient, green and safe way of travel for the transportation sector of cities. Among them are several types of mainstream application scenarios.
Real-time traffic monitoring: real-time monitoring of traffic accidents, traffic congestion, traffic violations, etc.
Infrastructure structural safety monitoring: for bridges, road surfaces and other structural safety to do monitoring, real-time monitoring of structural damage and timely maintenance, predicting life expectancy and ensuring traffic safety.
Intelligent management of vehicles: using advanced sensing technology and positioning technology to monitor the running status and trajectory of vehicles in real time and realize scenarios such as intelligent charging, intelligent parking and ETC.
Intelligent scheduling of public facilities: such as traffic lights, street lights, camera monitoring, buses, etc., to realize intelligent scheduling according to actual traffic conditions and algorithms.

Smart Manufacturing

Industrial Internet is the key to realize smart manufacturing. Its essence is to closely connect and integrate equipment, production lines, factories, suppliers, products and customers through an open and globalized industrial-grade network platform, and efficiently share various factor resources in the industrial economy, thus reducing costs and increasing efficiency through automated and intelligent production methods, helping the manufacturing industry to extend the industrial chain and promoting the transformation and development of the manufacturing industry.

Intelligent Energy

To achieve automation and intelligence for the energy industry. For the current main energy power, covering power generation, transmission, substation, distribution, power consumption and other links, to achieve intelligent monitoring, protection and control of electricity.

Intelligent medical care

Through the Internet of Things, big data, artificial intelligence and other technologies, we realize the information interaction between patients, medical personnel, medical institutions and medical equipment, improve medical management systems, and improve medical efficiency and service quality.

Application layer: the IoT platform supports a variety of OpenAPI forms and pre-integration of multiple industry applications, mainly including smart home, car networking, smart meter reading and third-party applications. The following table introduces the application scenarios.

Application Scenarios

Function Description

Smart Home

Smart home is the Internet of Things technology that effectively combines home intelligent control, information exchange and other home life to create an efficient, comfortable and safe personalized home life.


The Internet of Things (IoT) provides drivers and passengers with services such as traffic information, emergency response, and long-distance vehicle diagnostics.

Smart Meter Reading

Smart meter reading refers to the intelligent remote meter reading service with low power consumption, wide coverage and low cost deployment by implanting NB-IoT communication modules in water meters and electricity meters and upgrading them based on existing wireless base stations.

Third Party Applications

In response to the functional deficiencies of the software or application, other organizations or individuals who are not the software compilers develop related software applications, such as: smart grid applications, smart building applications, and smart commerce applications.

Internet of things solutions

Building a complete IoT solution using an IoT platform consists of three main components: the IoT platform, business applications, and devices.

  • IoT platform: as an intermediate layer connecting business applications and devices, it shields various complex device interfaces to achieve rapid access to devices; at the same time, it provides powerful open capabilities to support industry users to quickly build various IoT business applications.
  • Device: You can access the IoT platform through various networks such as fixed network, 2G/3G/4G/5G, NB-IoT, Wi-Fi, etc. and report the service data to the platform using LWM2M/CoAP or MQTT protocol, and the platform can also issue control commands to the device.

Business: The application implements business scenarios such as device management, data reporting, and command issuance by calling the APIs provided by the IoT platform. IoT solutions provide the following types of feature capabilities.




Device Access Services

Device Connection

Provide the ability to support device access platform, support multiple protocol access and multiple access methods.

Equipment Management

Provide the platform’s operational management capabilities for devices and device data.

Data Forwarding

Provide the ability to forward data to other Huawei Cloud services.

Application Integration

Provide the ability of industry applications to access the platform and open up the platform capability through API.

IoT Developer Services


Provide the ability to build IoT applications without coding.

Data Analysis Services


Provide the ability to analyze data from IoT devices.

Other Supporting Services

IoT Edge

Other IoT services that work seamlessly with the IoT platform


Global SIM connection

Docking and building solutions together.


There are many opportunities for the application of IoT technology today, and this blue ocean market is waiting for us to explore together. It is undeniable that IoT brings us more convenient life and faster development to the society and economy.
However, it also faces many challenges, such as the ease of use of the platform, the stability of access to massive amounts of data, the meaning of massive data mining, cross-enterprise cross-platform technology versatility, data security, etc.. We are about to enter the era of intelligence, let’s actively embrace these emerging technologies together.

SourceChina IoT Retail Solutions Provider – Actility Technologies Company Limited (www.tractility.com)

Actility provides powerful security solutions for retail store management to prevent asset and property losses, improve transaction security, and provide intelligent analysis. We produce AM/EM/RFID systems, EAS tags, EAS soft tags, EAS safer, lanyards, detachers and all kinds EAS accessories products. Infrared people counter and camera people counter is available. If you want to have more information about the article or you want to share your opinion with us, contact us at [email protected]



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