Choosing the right IoT hardware for your use case

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are utilized on everything from buildings and cars to logistics and cargo. As an IoT landscape expands, new IoT hardware and devices are developed.

Quite often, IoT devices are one of the biggest cost drivers and the decision on which hardware to use is not always clear. Selecting off-the-shelf hardware (e.g. Raspberry Pi) may accelerate development, but there are other considerations when choosing the right device. 

For instance, what kind of data do you need to transmit? How often do you need to transmit? What is your budget? How long is the battery life? The list goes on.

Here are some factors to take into account when choosing the right device for your use case. 

Data processing and storage

IoT devices need processing and storage ability for data accumulation, transmission and analysis. Consequently, the factors that affect data processing and storage include how often data is sampled, how much data is transmitted, and where devices are deployed. 

For example, let’s compare devices for video surveillance and inventory monitoring 

Video surveillance in a smart building is likely to adopt a wired solution. This is because the solution requires the consistent transmission of high volumes of raw data directly onto a server. This means the device itself will not need storage or analytical capabilities. 

For inventory management, devices will likely need  processing abilities at the edge to monitor product levels. Inventory monitoring devices also require lower data processing power, but with some storage for data transmission at frequent but set intervals. 



Security is also a vital element in IoT and should be considered at every stage of design and development. Devices should have embedded software or hardware to assist authorization and authentication with upstream services and apps.

Additionally, those at the hosting site of the IoT hardware need to be confident that the hardware installed will not pose a security risk. For more information about our award-winning IoT security solutions, contact us today. 

Integration and scalability 

How easily and rapidly IoT devices can be integrated with other devices as well as the cloud will determine your development and deployment time. Site configuration of IoT hardware needs to be quick and intuitive to avoid site calls, troubleshooting, and additional cost per installation. 

Moreover, you need to consider development tools accessibility, quality of API documentation, the support given by the service provider. It is necessary to select devices that are essentially “plug-and-play”, easy to program and deploy, with the minimum per-device configuration. 



You need to consider whether the device is equipped with network connectivity such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Cellular. If not, this may need to be integrated with an expansion module which will add to your costs.

All deployed devices should also be able to resume connection and retry sending data after it has disconnected.  


Power supply 

The frequency of data transmission will also have a direct impact on the device’s power requirements. Again, where your device will be deployed determines whether it can be hardwired. Or if it needs a portable power source such as a battery for more remote deployments.  

Considerations for a portable power source also extend to weight, size and capacity requirements, shelf-life, and whether it is rechargeable. 


Last but certainly not least, once all other factors have been considered, you should start looking at expenses. This not only includes hardware and related components such as sensors, but ongoing operating costs.  

Depending on your use case, commercially available off-the-shelf development boards may even be more cost-effective and economical than fabricating your own custom boards. 


Finish line 

While considering suppliers and service providers, do look out for their track record. Do they provide technical support? Is the firmware’s source code available as open source? Do they have partners who can add value to current or future offerings?  

Having a reliable and knowledgeable partner that is highly embedded in the IoT ecosystem is crucial for long-term success. 

To attain the required level of performance and data accuracy, experiment with various IoT prototyping tools to see which works best.  

Schedule a meeting with one of our industry experts for more insights on how to achieve a successful and cost effective IoT deployment.

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