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IoT Protocols: Key Takeaways

There are currently 12.2 billion active global IoT connections. This is the strength of IoT. A myriad of network devices communicate with each other and generate meaningful data. However, being connected is not enough for devices to communicate. They must speak the same "language". This is where IoT protocols come into play. A protocol is a set of rules that enable efficient communication (such as data exchange) between different machines/devices in a network environment. This is exactly how smart home devices might connect and function with other integrated devices in a house like smart lights, switches, etc. This concept is similar to the language we use to communicate. Communication is not effective unless two people speak the same language. Without these protocols, Digital Babylon will emerge. For the 2022 IoT Communication Protocols Adoption Report, IoT Analytics surveyed 200 senior decision makers about setting up IoT connectivity. Here are five insights that will shape his IoT landscape in 2022.


IoT Protocols

#1: There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all IoT protocol .

Today there is no undisputed standard for his IoT protocol. This is where the complexity of this topic begins. This fact is also reflected in the fact that 73% of his survey respondents said that managing different data formats and protocols would not allow them to scale their projects. The IoT market as a whole is fragmented, and IoT protocols are no exception. There is no global standard. Some protocols dominate specific industries (for example, CAN is the basic communication component in vehicles, DNP3 is most commonly used in utilities, HART is the primary protocol used in manufacturing protocol).


However, for most projects, the choice of protocol determines the appropriate network and there are many requirements to consider. For example, MQTT and NB-IoT (LPWAN standard) are compatible and work well together on stable networks. However, adding a bad reception environment creates problems. Will the device run on battery? How much data will be transferred? Is the network stable? Need to prioritize your messages? These are just some of the questions you need to answer before making a decision

Zooming out reveals a vast "ecosystem," including IoT protocols.


As you can see from the image below, the IoT protocol landscape is pretty scary. There are several layers that must be compatible with each other. Communication protocol layers (connections, circuits, transports, sessions, etc.) just form the basis of the landscape. Above that is data processing (Kafka, RapidMQ, etc.), storage (MongoDB, etc.), and corresponding applications (machine vision, asset management, etc.).


#2: Protocols designed for IoT are gaining acceptance

Our research shows that the share of connections using protocols designed specifically for IoT settings is expected to grow +11% over the next two years. MQTT and CoAP are the protocols driving this growth. Both meet the requirements of an IoT network in every respect. They are lightweight (low power consumption is essential for battery-powered devices), have low overhead (small message size), and can operate in lossy networks (making many IoT devices such as sensors a part of a remote setup). can be part). For asset/device to middleware connections, MQTT is expected to see a 29% increase in connection share over this period. However, among middleware and applications, IoT CoAP is expected to grow the most, growing +30% over the next two years. AMQP should also be mentioned here as another must-have IoT protocol that is on the rise and showing overall growth in both types of connectivity.


#3: Software is becoming increasingly important to IoT connectivity management.

This proliferation of IoT protocols has increased the importance of software as part of the connectivity setup. Connecting was much easier 10-15 years ago. Most projects were compacted on site (including analysis and visualization). A new software component has emerged to manage this connection. Tools such as IoT platforms, brokers, protocol converters, and other similar middleware are pieces that complete the connectivity puzzle. As you might expect, most respondents use Microsoft Azure IoT and AWS IoT when it comes to IoT platforms. When it comes to brokers and protocol converters, the landscape is becoming more diverse, with more and more companies in the spotlight.

For example, HiveMQ and ActiveMQ are two popular brokers, and PTC Kepware and Matrikon are among the most commonly used protocol converters.




#4: Ease of use and reliability are paramount when choosing a new protocol.

Finding the right IoT protocol for each project's needs is critical. For example, MQTT is more centralized and better suited for low-bandwidth connections to remote locations. In contrast, DDS is distributed, more versatile, and capable of supporting high-performance networks. Therefore, it is important to compare potential IoT protocols and their characteristics. According to IoT Analytics research, ease of use of a protocol is the factor that most influences its implementation. This was the most important feature in a list of over 20 features based on respondents. Different industries, regions, and company sizes place different values ​​on each protocol letter. So we see a lot of patterns. For example, interoperability and scalability with other protocols are more important to large enterprises, while DevOps simplicity is more important to small businesses.

January 13, 2023 — Chief Editor

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