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IoT data dilemma

29th January 2019

Data is at the heart of all IoT devices. From wearable technology such as smartwatches, to smart home tech like smart thermostats, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications for smart cities, all are reliant on data to perform.

Connected devices, even small ones, can generate a lot of data and very quickly, so it’s important that each device is fitted with (or connected to) a data storage solution which is fit for purpose.

A start point when looking at data storage for IoT applications is to ask:

– What types of data are involved?

– How much data will be collected?

– How will data be collected and stored?

What types of data are involved?

With IoT devices ranging from in-home smart thermostats right through to field equipment, it’s important that IoT designers and their IT counterparts fully understand the data that will be collected from each device. Video files, streaming data, environmental data… all have specific storage requirements that need to be considered and catered for.

Speed, the rate at which data needs to be read and/or written is a big consideration. Your amazing new Smart device will only be deemed smart if your chosen data storage solution can keep pace with the rate at which data needs to be processed.

IoT data can be unstructured, semi-structured or fully structured. Data may come from one location or be generated across vast geographical areas, with different devices being used to collect data.

Whilst most IoT devices only send data to a collection point (unidirectional), others are bidirectional with data being used by the smart controls linked to a device.

How much data will be collected?

Whilst defining the type of data that needs to be captured, it is important to ascertain just how much data is likely to be generated per data type.

With commercial and industrial IoT the volume of data involved is of course vast, with volumes destined to grow over time.

Forecasting the volume of data that will need capturing over time is no easy task, in fact it’s pretty much impossible, as future IoT adoption rates are a definite unknown.

A recent report from IDC suggests that by 2025, 40 zettabytes (40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes – that’s 40 billion TB) of real-time data will be generated globally by IoT devices.

Where will data be collected and stored?

Having identified the types of data that need to be collected, and how much, developers need to ascertain where said data will be collected and stored.

Data may be streamed for collection to edge gateways, centralised data centres, public cloud platforms, or a combination of all three, and in some cases the IoT device itself will have some data collection capacity. Typically data collected through an edge gateway will be transferred to a centralised platform for long-term storage.

How data will move from the device to a gateway and on to its’ final storage location needs to be mapped out and understood.

Storing data within an IoT device

Considering the anticipated volume of data to be generated and the speed at which it needs to be processed, you might instantly discount the idea of storing data within a device. You’d need something pretty big, and expensive, right?

Wrong! The ‘right’ SD card or microSD card could be the perfect solution to your IoT data storage dilemma. Such cards are compact, cost-effective and if you select the ‘right’ card offer exceptional performance and storage.

Choosing the ‘right’ product

Not all SD cards are the same and simply buying one of the many readily available memory cards off the internet could render your new IoT device far from smart.

Different brands, capacities, processing speeds, performance, reliability, operating environments, longevity… who would’ve thought that something so small could be so complex.

Need help?

A trusted advisor for leading OEMs globally, and a long-term partner of the leading flash memory manufacturers, Cardwave is well placed to support IoT developers in defining and understanding their data requirements, prior to designing and implementing an end-to-end solution that meets their business requirements. Contact the flash memory experts at Cardwave today | Call +44 (0) 1380 738395 | Email


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Raspberry Pi

Cardwave are delighted to be recognised by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for being a valued partner and supplier. We have enjoyed a close business relationship with the foundation since the massively successful launch of the Raspberry Pi in early 2012. Cardwave works with memory distributor, Xel Electronics, who supply Samsung SD cards to Premier Farnell and RS Components, two of the companies authorised by the charity to supply the Raspberry Pi. We are pleased to work with the foundation again on this superb SD card offering. Visit website

"Partnering on another great offering from Raspberry Pi"

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