Six Major Single Board Computers in IoT Sphere : Case Studies and Comparative Applications
This article offers an in-depth look into Single-Board Computers (SBCs) and their multitude of roles in the Internet of Things (IoT) strategies, from data acquisition, processing, and storage to interfacing with various communication protocols and system integration. When selecting SBCs for IoT applications, aspects such as processing power, power consumption, memory and storage, connectivity, operating system and software support, as well as cost, need to be considered. The article also provides special mention to four commonly used SBCs in IoT projects namely— Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, LattePanda, and NVIDIA Jetson Nano, presenting practical application examples for each.
Interplay of IoT and SBCs: Architecture and Functions
IoT technology can revolutionize industries with real-time data, automation, and analytics, enhancing efficiency and decision-making. Compact, highly integrated, and cost-effective Single Board Computers (SBCs) serve as a foundation in IoT.
IoT architecture comprises three fundamental layers. Perception Layer, primarily intelligent devices and sensors, collects raw data. Network Layer makes up the communication infrastructure connecting these devices for data transmission. Application Layer, responsible for storing, processing, and analyzing data, provides user-centric functionality, insights, and alerts, being the core IoT application.
In sum, the three layers interplay to deliver comprehensive IoT solutions featuring real-time data, analytics, and automation across various industries. SBCs, analogous to computers, manage the application layer's data analysis and exhibit flexibility. Some SBCs connect with external smart devices, making them invaluable in IoT.
Figure: The architecture of IoT (Internet of Things)
Single Board Computers (SBCs) can perform various functions in IoT solutions. Here are some of the functions that SBCs can undertake in IoT solutions:
1. Data Collection:
SBCs can be connected to sensors and other devices to collect data, such as temperature, humidity, or motion.
2. Data Processing:
SBCs can process data collected from IoT devices, perform real-time analytics, and machine learning algorithms.
3. Data Storage:
SBCs can store data collected from IoT devices locally or remotely in databases or cloud storage.
SBCs can connect to various communication protocols such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth to enable seamless data transfer.
SBCs can integrate with other systems and applications to enable automation and data exchange.
Overall, SBCs can perform many of the same functions as larger servers or cloud-based systems, but on a smaller scale. They are particularly useful for IoT solutions that require edge computing, where data is processed locally, in real-time, and only relevant data is sent to the cloud for storage and analysis.
So, how to choose a single-board computer for IoT?
How to choose a single-board computer for IoT?
Choosing the right Single Board Computer (SBC) for your IoT project can be a daunting task, but here are some factors to consider that can help you make an informed decision:
1. Processing Power:
The processing power of an SBC is an important consideration when choosing an SBC for IoT projects. You need to choose an SBC with sufficient processing power to perform the tasks required by your project.In recent years, edge computing technology has played a significant role in promoting IoT direction. Simply put, edge computing refers to the analysis of data collected from terminal devices directly in local devices or networks close to the data source, without transmitting the raw data to the cloud data processing center. This reduces the transmission of irrelevant data, reduces bandwidth requirements, reduces power consumption, and increases decision-making speed. SBCs can play an important role in data collection and analysis as edge computing devices in IoT solutions.
Figure: Single Board Computers as the Computing Devices of Edge Nodes
2. Power Consumption:
As the crux of the Internet of Things revolves around a continuous influx of big data and the incorporation of additional devices into the network, device power consumption assumes pivotal significance.And IoT SBCs may need to be deployed in locations or scenarios where power resources are limited, such as water quality monitoring, oil and gas exploration, earthquake monitoring, etc. By consuming less power, SBCs can operate for longer periods of time.
3. Memory and Storage:
The amount of memory and storage an SBC has will affect the performance of your project. If your project requires high amounts of data storage, consider an SBC with a large storage capacity.
The connectivity options of an SBC are also important. Make sure the SBC has the required connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and USB, and connect to your sensors and other IoT devices.
5. Operating System and Software Support:
The operating system and software support for an SBC are important factors to consider when choosing an SBC for IoT. Choose an SBC that is compatible with the operating system and software required by your project.
The cost of an SBC is another important factor to consider. Choose an SBC that fits your budget, but make sure it has the required features for your project.If you want an SBC that can handle both network and edge computing, its price will be higher. However, compared to choosing separate network devices and PCs, there is still a higher cost-effectiveness.
Overall, the choice of an SBC for IoT depends on the specific requirements of your project. Evaluate the above factors carefully to choose the SBC that best meets the needs of your project.
There are several Single Board Computers (SBCs) available in the market that are suitable for IoT projects. Here are some of the best options:
|SBC||UNIHIKER||Raspberry Pi 3||BeaglePlay®||LattePanda Delta||Jetson Nano||LattePanda Sigma|
|CPU||RK3308 Arm 64-bit 4-core 1.2GHz||Quad Core 1.2GHz Broadcom BCM2837 64bit||Arm Cortex-A53, 2 Arm Cortex-A53, 4 Arm Cortex-A53 64-bit|
Intel® Celeron® N5105
2.0~2.9GHz Quad-Core, Four-Thread
|Quad-core ARM Cortex-A57 MPCore processor|
1.9 ~ 4.60GHz (Performance-core), 3.4 GHz (Efficient-core)
|GPU||/||/||Arm Cortex-M4F||Intel® UHD Graphics||128-core NVIDIA Maxwell™ GPU||Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics|
8GB LPDDR4 2933MHz
|4 GB 64-bit LPDDR4, 1600MHz 25.6 GB/s|
16GB LPDDR5 6400MHz
|Hard Disk||16GB eMMC||/||16GB||64GB eMMC V5.1||16 GB eMMC 5.1||M.2 NVMe SSD (separately installed)|
|OS||Debian 10||No built-in OS, requires card insertion and subsequent Linux installation||Debian||Windows 10 & Windows 11 & Linux||Ubuntu|
Windows 10 & 11
|Wi-Fi & Bluetooth||RTL8723DS 2.4G&4.0||BCM43438 wireless LAN and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)||Integrated 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi|
802.11ax, 2.4G & 5G(160MHz), up to 2.4Gbps
2 x 2500M Ethernet
M.2 Wi-Fi Module (separately installed)
|Co-processor||GD32VF103C8T6 RISC-V 108MHz & 64KB Flash & 32KB SRAM||/||Arm® Cortex®-R5||Arduino Leonardo ATMEGA32U4||/||Microchip® ATmega32U4-MU|
(For your reference)
Tabel: Key Parameters: IoT SBC Performance in Focus - UNIHIKER vs. Raspberry Pi vs. LattePanda 3 Delta
1. UNIHIKER: Simplifying IoT Connectivity with Built-in SIoT Service for Effortless Device Integration"
UNIHIKER, the latest SBC (Single-Board Computer) unveiled by DFRobot, is the most beginner-friendly board for individuals aspiring to undertake IoT projects. With its built-in SIoT (Simple IoT) service, UNIHIKER simplifies the process of creating an IoT project. In just one click, users can activate the MQTT service, transforming this board into an IoT server. This empowers users to store data through the MQTT protocol and enables real-time web data access.
What sets UNIHIKER apart is its ability to store all data within the device itself, eliminating the need for complicated hardware configurations and the selection of IoT service software. Its compact design, rich features, and user-friendly interface offer an innovative development experience, perfect for individuals who are venturing into the realm of IoT.
UNIHIKER excels in various functionalities within IoT scenarios:
1. Device control and sensor operation: UNIHIKER provides rich interfaces and capabilities to directly control a variety of sensors and actuators, enabling seamless device control and operation.
2. Data acquisition and storage: With built-in IoT services and local data storage functionality, UNIHIKER allows for real-time data acquisition and storage by receiving and storing sensor data.
3. Communication and connectivity: UNIHIKER features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, facilitating wireless communication and connectivity with other IoT devices for seamless data transmission and interaction.
4. Programming environment and tool support: Equipped with pre-installed programming software such as Jupyter Notebook, VS Code, and PinPong control libraries, UNIHIKER offers a convenient programming environment and tool support, empowering developers to use Python for development and operations.
In summary, UNIHIKER excels in device control and sensor operation, data acquisition and storage, communication and connectivity, while offering a convenient programming environment and tool support. It caters to the needs of developers in the field of IoT.
Figure: Display and Logging of IoT Data
2. Raspberry Pi 4B : A Cost-Effective, Versatile SBC for Your Next IoT Project
Raspberry Pi is one of the most popular SBCs for IoT projects. It is affordable, versatile, and has a large community that provides support and resources. The latest version, Raspberry Pi 4, has a quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 processor, up to 8GB RAM, and various connectivity options.
Figure: Raspberry Pi 4B
The credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer, based on Linux, has created a cost-effective SBC with adequate performance. However, its requirement for peripheral devices such as keyboards, storage cards, and displays, as well as the need for system installation, can pose a challenge for those unfamiliar with the Linux operating system.
Despite these considerations, the Raspberry Pi remains a favored option when it comes to constructing Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, owing to its affordability, compact size, and adaptability. Raspberry Pi can perform various functions in IoT solutions, such as:
1. Sensor Node: Raspberry Pi can act as a sensor node in an IoT solution. It can connect to various sensors and collect data such as temperature, humidity, light, and sound.
2. Gateway: Raspberry Pi can also act as a gateway between different devices in an IoT solution. It can connect to multiple sensors and send the data to a cloud server.
3. Edge computing: Raspberry Pi can perform edge computing tasks, which involve processing the data at the device itself instead of sending it to the cloud for processing. This reduces the latency and improves the response time of the system.
4. Control System: Raspberry Pi can also act as a control system in an IoT solution. It can receive commands from a cloud server and control various devices such as motors, actuators, and lights.
In summary, the versatility and affordability of Raspberry Pi make it an excellent choice for building IoT solutions. A fascinating project utilizing Raspberry Pi 4 was found on YouTube. It involves setting up a personalized smart home from scratch using Home Assistant and Raspberry Pi, with the added integration of OpenAI to allow ChatGPT access to your household data.
3. BeaglePlay®: The Powerful Pioneer in IoT Single Board Computers
BeagleBone is another popular single-board computer (SBC) for IoT projects. The BeagleBone Black, in particular, is a powerful SBC that can perform various functions in IoT solutions due to its processing power, memory, and connectivity options.
Here are some of the functions that BeagleBone can perform in IoT solutions:
1. Sensor Node: Similar to Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone can be used as a sensor node in an IoT solution. It can connect to various sensors and collect data such as temperature, humidity, and motion.
2. Gateway: BeagleBone can act as a gateway between different devices in an IoT solution. It can connect to multiple sensors and send the data to a cloud server.
3. Edge computing: BeagleBone can perform edge computing tasks, which involve processing the data at the device itself instead of sending it to the cloud for processing. This reduces the latency and improves the response time of the system.
4. Control System: BeagleBone can act as a control system in an IoT solution. It can receive commands from a cloud server and control various devices such as motors, actuators, and lights.
5. Machine Learning: BeagleBone has enough processing power and memory to perform machine learning tasks in IoT solutions. It can train and deploy machine learning models on the edge, which can be useful for tasks such as image recognition and predictive maintenance.
Overall, BeagleBone is a powerful and versatile SBC that can perform various functions in IoT solutions. Its connectivity options, processing power, and memory make it an excellent choice for more demanding IoT projects.
4. LattePanda 3 delta: An x86 Windows SBC with Rich Capabilities for IoT Solutions
Yes, LattePanda is a single-board computer (SBC) that includes everything a regular PC has, and can perform various functions in IoT solutions. It is a versatile SBC that can run Windows 10 and run most of the software and applications that a regular PC can run.
Here are some of the functions that LattePanda can perform in IoT solutions:
1. Edge Computing: LattePanda can perform edge computing tasks, which involve processing the data at the device itself instead of sending it to the cloud for processing. This reduces the latency and improves the response time of the system.
2. Data Analytics: LattePanda can be used to analyze data collected from various sensors and devices in an IoT solution. It can run software like Microsoft Excel or R programming language to perform data analysis.
3. Control System: LattePanda can act as a control system in an IoT solution. It can receive commands from a cloud server and control various devices such as motors, actuators, and lights.In this aspect, the Windows system would be a better control operating environment.
4. Media Center: LattePanda can be used as a media center, allowing users to stream music and video content on their smart devices.
5. Prototyping: LattePanda can be used for rapid prototyping of IoT solutions. Developers can use it to quickly build and test their ideas before deploying them to production.
6. Sensor Node: LattePanda can also be used as a sensor node in an IoT solution. But the difference with the two boards above is that the LattePanda integrates an Arduino, which is fully compatible with the vast ecosystem of open-source Arduino hardware. Therefore, its scalability will be very rich, and real-time sensor data collection can be performed.
LattePanda can perform various functions in IoT solutions, including edge computing, data analytics, acting as a control system, serving as a media center, rapid prototyping, and functioning as a sensor node. It integrates an Arduino, which allows for compatibility with the vast ecosystem of open-source Arduino hardware, enabling rich scalability and real-time sensor data collection.
5. NVIDIA Jetson Nano: Supercharge Your IoT Projects with AI SBC
NVIDIA Jetson Nano is a high-performance SBC that is suitable for AI and machine learning applications in IoT. It has a quad-core ARM Cortex-A57 processor, up to 8GB RAM, and a powerful NVIDIA GPU for accelerated computing.Its powerful hardware specifications make it an excellent choice for developers who want to build complex AI and machine learning models for their IoT solutions.
Figure: NVIDIA Jetson Nano
Here are some of the functions that NVIDIA Jetson Nano can perform in IoT solutions:
1. Edge Computing: NVIDIA Jetson Nano can perform edge computing tasks, which involve processing the data at the device itself instead of sending it to the cloud for processing. Its powerful NVIDIA GPU can accelerate the processing of machine learning models, which can reduce the response time of the system.
2. Computer Vision: NVIDIA Jetson Nano can be used for computer vision applications in IoT solutions. Its powerful NVIDIA GPU can accelerate the processing of image and video data, which can be useful for tasks such as object detection, facial recognition, and autonomous driving.
3. Robotics: NVIDIA Jetson Nano can be used for robotics applications in IoT solutions. Its powerful hardware and software ecosystem make it an excellent choice for building autonomous robots, drones, and other intelligent machines.
4. Data Analytics: NVIDIA Jetson Nano can be used for data analytics in IoT solutions. Its powerful hardware and software ecosystem make it an excellent choice for processing large amounts of data and running complex analytics algorithms.
5. Prototyping: NVIDIA Jetson Nano can be used for rapid prototyping of AI and machine learning solutions in IoT. Its powerful hardware and software ecosystem make it easy for developers to quickly build and test their ideas before deploying them to production.
Overall, NVIDIA Jetson Nano is a powerful and versatile SBC that can perform various functions in IoT solutions. Its hardware specifications and software ecosystem make it an excellent choice for developers who want to build complex AI and machine learning models for their IoT projects.
6. LattePanda Sigma: The Superior SBC for Server-Grade IoT Applications
The ultimate IoT solution with powerful performance, advanced graphics, and rich interfaces. It enables edge computing and delivers immersive visuals for IoT applications. With effective cooling, Thunderbolt™ 4 ports, and high network performance, it ensures stable operation and seamless connectivity. Compact and compatible with Windows and Linux, it's perfect for diverse IoT scenarios.
Figure: LattePanda Sigma
LattePanda Sigma plays a crucial role in IoT scenarios in three aspects:
Edge Computing: LattePanda Sigma performs edge computing on IoT devices, reducing latency by processing and analyzing data at the device level. It enables real-time decision-making, making it vital for applications like smart logistics, homes, and factories.
Visual Computing: With advanced Intel Iris Xe Graphics, Sigma supports powerful visual processing for image recognition, security, and monitoring. Real-time tasks, such as object recognition and video analysis, empower intelligent decision-making.
Data Processing and Analysis: With its high-performance processor and large memory, LattePanda Sigma excels at handling large-scale data processing. In the context of multi-node smart homes, Sigma can be utilized as a server to aggregate and store data from multiple nodes for analysis, while also supporting Quad 4K displays for enhanced visualization.
Figure: Home Automation Server with LattePanda Sigma
In summary, LattePanda Sigma has the capability to perform edge computing, visual computing, data processing and analysis, as well as remote monitoring and control in IoT scenarios, providing powerful computing and intelligence capabilities for IoT applications. It enhances the intelligence, responsiveness, and reliability of IoT systems, meeting the requirements of different fields.