The IoT Backend, Backbone of Your Digitization

The Standard Design Platform for IoT Backends

By networking your products, you can offer new business models and new products or digitize existing business models. New market segments and niches open up, even for small companies.

Also, your existing products can benefit from digitalization. Optimize your customer centricity, production, logistics and business processes. Business processes do not stop at the company border, if you provide interfaces for your services, you can collaborate more efficiently with your customers, suppliers and partners.

Data is the foundation of your IoT systems. It must be collected, transported, stored and processed, at any time and from anywhere. Sensors, actuators and controllers communicate via a standard infrastructure with a central data storage and data processing system, the backend. All components together form your digitization ecosystem. This system is where the real potential lies. It makes it possible for you to optimize existing systems, expand them or offer completely new functions and products.

For the optimal development of such systems at the interface of OT (Operational Technology) and IT (Information Technology) it is important to know the limitations of embedded systems as well.

Our standard design helps you to drive the digitalization efficiently, and this without "vendor lock-in", because you get all sources of the whole project.

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Fields of Application

  • Data analysis (analyze device usage, predictive maintenance ...)
  • Service (digital customer service, central device file ...)
  • System optimization (asset tracking, networking of machines (M2M) ...)
  • Comfort functions (remote control, notifications ...)
  • Business models (billing according to consumption/ runtime/ function ...)
  • Web services, web applications (interaction with customers, suppliers and partners ...)

Software Stack

Our IoT system follows the standard system design for such tasks. The devices communicate with the backend via a standardized message broker (MQTT, AMQP). This allows to cope with interruptions in communication or load peaks. Various open source brokers (VerneMQ, RabbitMQ, Mosquitto...), commercial brokers (HiveMQ...) or PaaS brokers (Azure IoT Hub, Thingstream...) can be used as message brokers.

The backend is based on C# and ASP.NET and provides web interfaces through which mobile clients or browser front-ends (SPA, Blazor...) can access it.

The software toolbox contains ready-made solutions for recurring tasks, such as management, authentication and authorization of devices and users, multi-tenancy, workflows, data analysis and presentation, push events, logging, monitoring, secure communication and an infrastructure framework that leads to a maintainable software architecture. By using these components, it is possible to get a running backend quickly, as development can focus entirely on your domain functions.

Communications Infrastructure

The Internet represents the backbone of communication. Devices are connected to the Internet wired via Ethernet or wirelessly via Wi-Fi, cellular and LoRaWAN. If cellular or LoRaWAN is used, a communications service provider is also always needed to provide access from the wireless network to the Internet. It is possible to achieve global coverage with one service provider, which greatly simplifies operations.

Operation

The software stack requires server, storage and network services. These can be provided in a company's own data center (on-premise) or as Infratructure as a Service (IaaS), whereby there is still the distinction between private cloud or public cloud in the case of IaaS.

When selecting a service provider for operation, it is important to know which legal requirements the service provider is subject to and where the data is stored so that one can comply with the legal requirements (e.g. DSGVO). In addition to the well-known American service providers (Azure, Digital Ocean...), it is also possible to choose European (Exoscale...) or Swiss service providers.

Functionality of the Standard Design

The platform offers these functions:

  • Communication with user
    • Web API (synchronous)
    • Message based (asynchronous)
    • Push events (real-time)
  • Application framework
    • infrastructure framework for modular and maintainable applications
  • Functions
    • device and user management
    • workflows
    • data analysis, data representation
    • event processing, jobs
    • logging and monitoring
    • security monitoring (audit logging)
    • multitenancy

The non-functional requirements that the design fulfills are also important. These are often the larger limitation than the functional aspects:

  • Data security
    • encrypted communication
    • device and user authentication
    • role-based authorization
    • data security through encryption
    • identification and software update of IoT devices
  • Industrial quality
    • developed according to Solcept processes (CMMI for Development (Maturity Level 3), ISO 9001)

Your Application

The specific application (developed in C#) can include, but is not limited to:

  • User interface
    • GUI development based on the platform framework
      • e.g. automatic generation of menu trees
  • IoT functions
    • work flows
    • alarm management
  • Maintenance
    • configuration of IoT devices
  • Any other function

Technology Base

This Standard Design is based on the following technologies:

  • Operating system
    • Linux, Windows
  • Solution Stack
    • C#, .NET, ASP.NET, Blazor Server
    • self-hosted (on-premise, IaaS), Azure Cloud
    • containers (Docker, Kubernetes)
    • open Source Components
    • Azure Cloud Services
  • Data storage and analysis
    • PostgreSQL (SQL)
    • Apache Cassandra (NoSQL)
    • Apache Kafka (stream processing)
  • Communications service provider
    • Swisscom
    • Thingstream
  • Interfaces
    • synchronous (HTTPS
    • asynchronous (MQTT, AMQP)
    • real-time (SignalR)
  • Security
    • TLS, DTLS, X.509
    • AES, RSA, ECC
    • SHA

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Let us discuss your idea/ your project