Charting the most used IoT sensors

Sensors are one of the most important components used in internet of things (IoT) applications, collecting critical data in a range of end products from drones and automobiles to wearables and AR/VR headsets. According to a survey of 1,042 engineers of IoT solutions in 51 countries, conducted by Newark element14 , environmental sensors are the most commonly used in IoT applications.

Environmental sensors, including those that measure temperature, humidity, and pressure, are most often used in IoT designs, according to 38% of survey respondents. This is followed by motion sensors (25%), opto/image sensors (19%), health-monitoring sensors (8%), and audio sensors (4%).

The survey also reveals a growing role of hardware early in the design process so that engineers can test their designs and quickly develop a proof of concept. The survey finds that 50% of developers use single-board computers such as Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black because they are ready-to-use embedded development platforms, said Newark element14. Yet 27% of developers prefer to use personal designs, while 19% use development platforms provided by silicon vendors. (See related article: Comparing prototype platforms: Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, and LaunchPad )

Most developers (58%) prefer to design a complete solution for edge-to-cloud security themselves instead of relying on third-party solution providers, which could add some additional costs. However, some survey respondents said that they use third-party providers for edge-to-cloud communications (21%), designing edge devices (18%), and for data center/analytics (18%).

The most preferred connectivity protocol between edge devices and the cloud is Wi-Fi (66%), according to survey respondents. Newark element14 attributes this to Wi-Fi’s long-range connectivity, higher throughput, and the latest low-power microprocessors with integrated Wi-Fi on the chip. The second most popular communications protocol is cellular — 4G/LTE (31%), followed by Bluetooth Low Energy (27%), LoRa (11%) and sub-1 GHz (7%).

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