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IoT Interface Modules (2019)

Written by Jeff Child

Smart Solutions

Interfacing with the Internet-of-Things (IoT) calls for highly integrated modular solutions that marry wireless connectivity and right-sized processing. The latest crop of IoT interface modules add new features such as multi-protocol support, security features and position tracking technology.

The Internet-of-Things remains full of opportunities, as organizations large and small work to develop IoT implementations across a wide range of market segments. Edge technology for the IoT requires several elements. First, it includes a combination of embedded processors and microcontrollers that provide intelligence. It also includes various wireless, cellular and other connectivity solutions to connect to the network. And, finally, it includes sensors to collect data from a multitude of IoT edge nodes.

Over the past 12 months, vendors have rolled out an interesting mix of module-based products aimed directly at IoT. These IoT products combine intelligence and connectivity, while also taking on the vital certifications needed to get IoT implementations up and running. Other emerging features in the latest IoT modules include advanced security and position tracking technologies like GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver technology. The product album in this month’s Product Focus provides a representative look at some of these modules.

An example application that makes good use of IoT technology is smart lighting (Figure 1). Espressif actually offers a solution for smart lighting called ESP Mesh. ESP Mesh is a wireless communications network consisting of nodes that distribute data amongst each other.

Espressif’s ESP-MESH lighting solution contributes to saving a lot of energy. It is built around the ESP32-MeshKit, which is based on Espressif’s ESP32 chip. In this smart lighting solution, ESP32-MeshKit-Lights can be used only whenever necessary, since they can be controlled remotely with a mobile app or a timer, a button (ESP32-MeshKit-Button), a lighting sensor or even a passive infrared (PIR) detector which is embedded in the newest development board ESP32-MeshKit-PIR. The PIR makes the lights turn on automatically, when someone enters the room, or turn off when the room becomes empty.

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Former Editor-in-Chief at Circuit Cellar | Website

Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.

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IoT Interface Modules (2019)

by Jeff Child time to read: 1 min