How Node.js supercharges IoT Applications

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In the next five years, every second urban dweller will own an IoT device, leading to a massive infrastructure of more than 75 billion IoT gadgets by 2025. For a smart tech entrepreneur, it’s an ocean of business opportunity, waiting to be explored.

IoT success primarily relies on Edge Computing, which is the brain behind every sensor and actuator. In 2020, IoT has advanced from the concept of “simple devices connected to the internet” to “smart devices making decisions.” The transformation is a result of evolving Edge Computing powers, backed by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Anyone familiar with AI and ML knows about their hefty computing requirements. When this requirement scales to billions of devices, you need an equally capable middleware, where Node.js and it’s natural compatibility for IoT comes into the picture.

In the next 5 minute read, we’ll take you through why you should choose Node.js and how it is the best development choice for IoT projects.

The Fast-Growing IoT Industry

In 1999, IoT began with Kevin Ashton’s idea of an RFID chip he intended to use in supply chain management at Procter & Gamble. Later, the same idea saw a reinvention as the internet became increasingly accessible across the globe. The critical factors for IoT growth are the following:

  • Robust growth of cloud computing powers.
  • The rise in scalable technologies.
  • Pervasive APIs and vast integration capabilities.
  • Highly Available IoT cloud software development.
  • Improving IT security standards for IoT devices.

Today, the industry is actively pervading into all kinds of devices that can connect to the internet. The following statistics from Mckinsey & Company depict the growth of IoT in recent years.

  • The existing fleet of more than 5 billion smartphones, 2 billion personal computers, and 1 billion tablets set the stage for device integration.
  • A growing trend of 13% in 2014 to about 25% today has been observed in businesses that use IoT.
  • IoT-connected devices will make an estimated jump to 43 billion by 2023, increasing by a factor of 3X from 2018.

What is Node.js?

In the IoT purview, Node.js is a backend technology that enables the flow of data shared with an IoT device from a server.

Built to process server-side JavaScript applications, Node.js is one of the most preferred web technologies today. Node.js is popularly known for its performance, scalability, and development advantages. It’s actively used in production by the top tech companies like Netflix, Yahoo, and Twitter.

Why is Node.js a smart development choice

In 2020, a Stack Overflow survey described how more than half of web developers preferred Node.js for web development. It is also a massively popular project on Github with more than 71,500 stars.

Why developers and we love Node.js

  • A low learning curve and a simpler codebase make it easy for developers to use Node.js in contrast to other web-backend technologies such as Java or Ruby.
  • Node.js development methodology coincides with the front-end Javascript-based frameworks, allowing developers to build the backend, with the same Javascript knowledge.
  • It boosts the speed of development with its ease-of-use and allows developers to achieve more, in less time.

Why is Node.js Perfect for IoT Applications

Node.js and IoT fit into each other like those round pegs in round holes. As IoT applications become increasingly complex and widespread, the computing challenges also rise. Node.js technical features address these challenges proficiently. Let’s see how.

Real-Time Data Transfer

Most IoT devices have to act in real-time to perform tasks. For instance, a smart Air Conditioner needs real-time data to adjust the cooling requirements in a building.

Node.js comes with fast data synchronization abilities, which reduces the time needed to send and receive data from the server. The transfer takes place almost in real-time, making IoT devices highly efficient and quick.

This capability is further extended by Node.js Event-based processing, which means that millions of IoT devices can connect to the same server, without data or speed loss.

Easy Integration with IoT protocols

Integration is one of the factors that IoT relies on. If you’re developing a product that readily integrates with the existing data services, the chances of adoption rise significantly. The integration is executed at the backend level.

Node.js supports the MQTT protocol, which is ideally used by IoT applications to communicate with each other. Using Node.js lays a firm foundation for your application to easily connect it to independent and 3rd party services and open it for integration across environments.

It’s like the ability to connect to the Uber app, home thermostat, and Smart TV seamlessly, creating market opportunities for your project.

Resource Efficiency

IoT devices come in large numbers. In 2020 alone, the estimated number of IoT devices touches 20 billion. Managing such a vast network of devices requires massive computing powers that can become a bottleneck for the project as the costs rise exponentially.

Node.js has lower runtime, which means it consumes lesser resources to run the same application built on other popular technologies such as Java or Ruby on Rails.

Quick Example: An 8 GB RAM machine can handle 4000 concurrent connections at a time given each thread takes up 2 MB of memory, using traditional web development techniques. With Node.js, the same machine can handle 1 million concurrent connections.

Technical Support

Node.js libraries and NPM (Node Package Manager) support a wide array of IoT hardware, making it the go-to choice for engineers. It already supports micro-hardware such as Intel IoT Edison, Raspberry Pi, and Arduino.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel and quickly get started with your project. Further, the microservices architecture that Node.js is built on facilitates a reliable way to connect millions of IoT devices to your project.

Famous examples of Node.js Powered IoT

Asama

Asama is an employee tracking system that uses real-time data from a smartwatch connected to its cloud platform. It tracks employees’ location in a large workspace, allowing managers to plan meetings and tasks for them quickly.

Asama uses Node.js to power the whole system, facilitating connection to a Mobile app, a web app, and wearable IoT devices.

PREE

PREE is a micro tag attached to personal belongings, allowing monitoring via Bluetooth. It alerts the user if items go out of range so that they don’t lose it.

PREE uses Node.js and MongoDB for building this smart solution that is scalable and ready for Mobile Applications.

Intel Edison

Intel Edison is a System on a Chip (SoC) computer used in IoT devices for processing capabilities. It functions as the processor for any small IoT device, as it’s just the size of a stamp.

Edison is fully capable of using Node.js for building applications. Developers can write their programs in C++ or C, which will still be compatible with Node.js for server communication.

Conclusion

The IoT market is breathing innovation as we slowly move into an interconnected world. Smart cities, smart mobility, and personalized healthcare, everything will ride the IoT wave in less than 5 years from now.

Node.js applications help you stay ahead of the curve and beat the competition with its tailor-made advantages for IoT projects. Laying your web foundation with Node.js will be among the smartest decisions you will take while starting your IoT endeavor.

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