The modern digital age today has brought about a data explosion. With so much data floating around, it is quite natural to miss valuable insights from this huge data. The Internet of Things era has given us billions of interconnected devices that are constantly churning out large amounts of data. It doesn’t matter which IoT application or IoT platform you are using. Loads of information churned out by these devices are of little use if we are not able to control and process this data. All these tasks of controlling, structuring, processing, and refinement of data are performed by IoT dashboards. Thus, an IoT dashboard, also known as a control panel for IoT devices, is an integral requirement of any IoT-enabled platform/ecosystem as it helps turn massive amounts of data into actionable insights.
In the present article we shall discuss more about IoT dashboards, the need for it, benefits, different features of IoT dashboards, examples of IoT dashboards for IoT services, and data analytics in IoT dashboards.
What is an IoT dashboard?
An IoT dashboard is the visual interface provided in the IoT platform that helps users see and interact with the devices connected on the IoT platform. The user interacts with the connected devices with the help of visual data representation tools such as graphs, charts and other UI tools. Dashboards enable the user to collect, control and process data seamlessly. In short, it’s a visual tool provided for you to manage all the data your IoT devices collect. IoT Dashboard and IoT platform are used interchangeably , however IoT dashboard is a subset of IoT Platform.
A good feature of IoT dashboards is that they are highly customizable. At the same time, the fact that they can be customized as per the user needs and preferences doesn’t mean that customization of the IoT dashboard would disrupt the processing of device data. Customization also enables the user to transfer the IoT devices data for reporting, analytics, customer relation management etc.
Why do we need an IoT dashboard?
The IoT dashboard has the capability to communicate with other devices on the network, as well as perform various tasks related to processing and refinement of the data collected. It helps you access historical data, real-time data, and also helps you sort, organize, transmit, and analyze data conveniently. The IoT dashboard can help you accomplish many goals. Here are some of the reasons why you need an IoT dashboard.
- Gives you the capability to collect, transmit, and analyze data in real-time.
- Enables remote/long-distance monitoring of processes and procedures. This capability of IoT is already being exploited in the healthcare industry for telemedicine and other clinical decision support systems. Even in industrial IoT, IoT dashboard helps in predictive maintenance reducing equipment downtime, costs, and increasing profitability.
- Advanced IoT dashboards help you process complex datasets to give you actionable insights that carry a lot of value in helping businesses profit, and also in the betterment of many sectors, research and development.
Compulsory IoT control panel features
Whether you have a ready-made IoT platform or a customized one, you will need your IoT dashboard to have certain must-have features to fully exploit the capabilities that IoT devices have to offer.
Here are 3 of these indispensable IoT dashboard features:
Ability to collect large volumes of data
IoT device data collection is the first and one of the most basic features in an IoT dashboard. This is an important requirement in an IoT dashboard. The primary aim of any IoT-enabled device is to collect data. Although IoT dashboards for use at the household/office level do not require too massive data collection capabilities, those at the industrial level or in the healthcare sector need large data collection ability. Industrial IoT dashboards may need to collect and store various telemetry parameter data such as temperature, moisture, pressure, speed, vibrations, acceleration, humidity etc. Sometimes additional features may be needed.
Ability to present data in visual forms
The next step after collection and transmission of data from the IoT device smart sensors is the sensor data visualization since processing of the raw data is quite difficult and time consuming. Care must be taken while turning the raw data into visual data. The resulting visual data must be user-friendly in order to be useful. Some of the common methods of visual data representation include bar graphs, pie charts, lists, histograms, heat maps etc.
The data visualization feature of the IoT control panel is the most crucial part of the IoT panel. The entire performance of the dashboard hinges on this feature of the IoT dashboard. Care must also be taken in the choice of the visual methods of data representation as per the needs and requirements of the user.
Ability to process large volumes of data in real time
The third and final must-have feature of an IoT dashboard is real time IoT data processing, especially large volumes of data. This step requires careful integration of the sensor data into the IoT dashboard for seamless processing. The careful data analysis of IoT devices yields deep insights that are useful for driving business outcomes in the field of businesses such as logistics. The healthcare industry is one of those industries that requires data processing in the real time. Telemedicine facilities will become better with real-time data processing. Even things like smart homes with smart lighting, air conditioning need data processing in real time. Although dynamic visual data processing is difficult to achieve in the real time, efforts are being made in this direction. The real time processing of data also aids in the efficient monitoring of IoT devices.
Different connection and network types in an iot control panel / dashboard
An IoT system consists of 3 layers, as under:
- Data Systems
Data transfer between these 3 layers occurs through following types of connections:
- Device to device direct connection
- Sensor Device to IoT Gateway connection
- IoT Gateway to database connection
- Between database systems
These connections can be supported by any one of the following networks:
- Personal Area Network (PAN)
- Local Area Network (LAN)
- Wireless Area Network (WAN)
- Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN)
Sensor communication on LPWAN network
What Is LPWAN?
LPWAN is a wireless wide area network that is used mainly for connecting IoT devices.
A low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) enables long-range communications at a low bit rate among connected objects, such as battery-operated sensors. The sensor devices communicate on LPWAN in Wireless sensor network.
Here is a list of the commonly used LPWAN technologies which connect Node devices in an IoT system
The data collected from the Node Devices is sent to Edge Gateway where it is computed , and then to the Server or Cloud or can also be fetched in Local System. The connection between Gateway and Cloud requires internet, which can be provided by WiFi or Cellular Modules. So, basically the communication between Edge and Cloud is done on following protocols –
Choosing a communication protocol depends on the type of Application primarily. Here is a guide for choosing between LTE-M and NBIoT.
Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) Using LPWAN Technology
A Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) is a network of distributed and autonomous devices that use sensors to track what’s happening around. The sensor nodes used in WSN systems are integrated with the onboard controllers. The complete circuitry manages the operation and monitors it mainly. Everything is connected with the base station known as the Gateway, where high end processing of data collected from distributed sensors is done.
Few Examples where IoT dashboards plays a key role are
Energy and Environment monitoring
IoT dashboards help in effective integration of energy economy concerns with environmental control needs. IoT dashboards make both. The HVAC system is a case in example.
IoT-enabled GPS tracking of vehicles by logistics companies
Although GPS tracking is quite an old method used by logistics for tracking vehicles, it is worthwhile to upgrade it and benefit from IoT-systems. IoT dashboard integrated with GPS tracking helps optimize logistical and fleet management by optimizing routes, increasing fuel efficiency, weather conditions and other factors. This can help increase profitability in the logistics business.
Precision agriculture using IoT
Farmers are increasingly switching to precision agriculture with the help of IoT sensors with an aim to raise crop yields.
When the real-time information from local sensors is integrated with third-party services, this can potentially generate recommendations for the farmers to cultivate and optimize the use of agricultural inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers. Besides, monitoring of greenhouses, animal breeding installations, etc with the help of IoT sensors bring added benefits. IoT based Precision Agriculture is one of the most evolving sectors.
Server Room Monitoring using iot
The monitoring of the ambient conditions of the server room is vitally important since the server is the nerve centre of all the data flows in the IT system of any organization. A server crash may disrupt the entire data flow and hamper efficiency of various processes that rely on smooth data transfer. At the same time, server room monitoring can be a challenging task. With the help of IoT, however, the task becomes quite simple as IoT enabled server room monitoring provide you real-time alerts about ambient environment parameters such as temperature and humidity with the help of sensors. Thus, server room monitoring becomes quite easy with the help of IoT.
Iot based Industrial monitoring
Companies in the industrial sector are increasingly resorting to IoT-enabled platforms for industrial monitoring. One particular area of IoT application that is gaining traction in the industrial sector is predictive maintenance. IoT-enabled predictive maintenance is helping companies reduce equipment downtime and raise productivity. Sensors attached to critical machine parts send data regarding parameters such as vibration, temperature etc. to the IoT dashboard, which is then analyzed to get real-time alerts regarding aching health. Besides, IoT is also helping industries improve safety in their plants and factories through better monitoring and alert systems for critical and hazardous areas.
Hence, IoT dashboards are most effective in smart data collection, control and processing of various systems to provide you the full potentialities and possibilities that IoT offers.
We, at PsiBorg – a IoT service provider , have developed many IoT systems where data of IoT devices is stored , analyzed and Visualized on IoT Dashboards. If you are looking for a partner to develop a IoT control panel for your smart devices, then you are at a right place. Our expert team of Developers and Designers can help you in kick starting your IoT solution.