Skip to main content

IoT architecture: The layers of the Internet of Things

An introduction to the different layers of IoT architecture and how they work together to connect the physical world with the digital world.

The Internet of Things The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that makes it possible to connect objects in an unprecedented way. The data collected as a result enables us to make better decisions or automate processes. However, the IoT is not a single technology, but many technological layers that interact to form the Internet of Things. In this article you will learn more about the architecture of the IoT and its different layers.

The layers of the IoT architecture

The Internet of Things is multifaceted and comprises a number of components and technologies that work together to enable the networking of objects. We roughly distinguish between layers in the physical world and layers in the digital world. In between there is a connectivity layer that connects the two worlds. In the following, we will go into more detail about the levels and the associated components and technologies.

Physical world

In most cases, additional hardware is needed to network an object and thus integrate it into the Internet of Things. This hardware is attached to the object in order to network the physical world, i.e. all real objects.

Physical objects

At the beginning there is always an object to be networked. In the industrial context, this is usually vehicles, transport containers, devices and tools, production machines or conveyor belts. Networking these objects enables better monitoring and control of processes as well as optimised maintenance and servicing.

Sensors and actuators

In order to collect data from a physical object or its environment, sensors are required, which are either attached to the objects in the form of trackers, data loggers or beacons or are already in the electronics of an object. Depending on the requirements, the sensors can record various physical parameters, from temperature and humidity to movement and vibration.

Actuators are components that trigger actions, i.e. control objects, on the basis of recorded data. The actuators can take on different forms depending on requirements. For example, they can be used as a switch for activating the air conditioning at a higher temperature or as a motor that closes windows when it rains.


The connectivity layer is the layer that networks the devices with each other or connects them to the internet to transmit the data. Depending on the application, various network protocols such as WiFi, Bluetooth , NB-IoT or LoRaWAN is used. The aim of this level is to connect the physical with the digital world and to ensure reliable as well as secure data transmission. Some solutions have the option of sending data via the mobile network themselves. Other solutions use intermediate instances such as smartphones or gateways for this purpose.

Digital world

The digital world of the IoT architecture enables the processing and analysis of the collected data. This enables companies to gain useful insights and derive measures from them, which in turn optimises processes, saves costs or identifies new business areas.


Analytics or data analysis is an important part of the IoT. This is because useful insights and valuable data are extracted from the large amounts of data. These insights are then used to make decisions or predict trends.

In order to use analytics successfully, the data is first collected, stored and cleaned in a data store. Then, algorithms and methods from the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence are used to identify the maintenance needs of machines or predict failures, for example.

Digital services

The final level of digital services brings together the possibilities of the previous levels, structures them and presents them in so-called IoT platforms. The data is usually presented in clear dashboards in web applications or apps. This is where the actual customer benefit is generated. This is where the customer gets a complete overview of his networked objects. For example, the locations of vehicles are visualised here, machines are controlled remotely or data is visualised in order to recognise trends and patterns. This information can then be used to optimise the processes concerned, develop new products and services and ultimately make better decisions.

Dashboards enable a quick and clear presentation of the most important key figures and trends

The IoT architecture - complex and critical to success

The Internet of Things is an exciting field that offers many opportunities to automate processes and make decisions based on real-time data. However, the IoT architecture with its various technologies and components makes the Internet of Things a complex ecosystem. Since only a few companies have the necessary expertise, cooperation with an experienced IoT partner and careful planning and coordination are essential for a successful implementation.

IoT in supply chain management

Supply chain management can be fundamentally changed through the use of IoT devices. Find out what the challenges are and how the IoT can improve the supply chain in this article.

  1. Challenges in supply chain management
  2. How can the Internet of Things improve the supply chain?
  3. Examples for the implementation of IoT devices in the supply chain
  4. Conclusion

The supply chain describes the network of companies that ensure that goods get from A to B without interruption. Due to economic growth and globalisation in recent years, these very companies must act in an increasingly networked and efficient manner. Digitalisation offers numerous opportunities for optimising and automating processes.

Challenges in supply chain management

Die Lieferkette beschreibt das Netz von Unternehmen, die dafür sorgen, dass Waren ohne Unterbrechung von A nach B gelangen. Aufgrund des Wirtschaftswachstums und der Globalisierung der letzten Jahre müssen genau diese Unternehmen immer vernetzter und effizienter agieren. Die Digitalisierung bietet zahlreiche Möglichkeiten, Prozesse zu optimieren und zu automatisieren.

  • Transparency and visibility
    Due to the high volumes, it can be difficult for companies to know where and in what condition a delivery is at any given time.
  • Responsiveness
    To prevent delivery failures, companies must be able to react quickly to disruptions.
  • Cost control
    Storage, transport and processing costs must be minimised to increase the profitability of companies and thus make them more competitive.
  • Identification of problems & faults
    Companies must be able to clearly identify and minimise supply chain disruptions and quality problems.

How can the Internet of Things improve the supply chain?

Logistics is already classified as highly digitalised, because as a rule, some areas of the supply chain are already interconnected. This already forms a good basis so that new technologies such as IoT devices can be implemented quickly and easily into existing processes. The Internet of Things (IoT) has proven to be a powerful tool to optimise industrial processes, because IoT creates one thing above all: transparency.

According to recent studies by research institutes such as Statista, up to 30 billion networked devices are expected to be in operation by 2030 [1] and provide more transparency in processes. Due to the complexity of supply chains, they offer particularly great potential for networking processes and optimising or automating them in the process.

Equipping a returnable transport package with a LoRa Tracker

In order to gain more transparency, companies can use IoT sensors and devices to, for example Track deliveries. Dabei lassen sich zeitgleich die Umgebungsbedingungen wie zum Beispiel Monitor temperature and humidity. Furthermore, by monitoring parameters, it is also possible to determine whether a delivery has been improperly handled or damaged. This enables companies to guarantee the quality of their deliveries. In addition, possible problems in the supply chain are identified and can be eliminated.

Through the use of IoT devices, real-time inventories can also be mapped. This allows companies to react quickly to changes in stock levels and thus avoid overstocking and shortages. In addition, IoT devices can automatically place orders when stock is running low.

Examples for the implementation of IoT devices in the supply chain

  • tracker can be attached to deliveries, load carriers or transport packaging. They provide information about stock levels or the position of the item or delivery.
  • Datalogger can be attached to goods in vehicles or transport containers such as thermal containers. They are used to automatically document temperature and humidity, for example.
  • Smart storage racks & scales can be used to automate ordering processes or send alerts when stock is low to optimise inventory management.


The IoT has the potential to fundamentally change supply chain management. Through more transparency in the supply chains, the players can increase their efficiency and reduce costs. In addition, the use of IoT devices can open up new business areas, for example by allowing companies to offer additional services for their deliveries. All in all, it can be said that the Internet of Things will play an important role in the world's supply chains in the coming years.


[1] Statista: Number of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices worldwide from 2019 to 2021, with forecasts from 2022 to 2030

Donations for Studio 913

SenseING GmbH collected donations for the 913 Studio as part of its third company festival.

On 1 October, the SenseING GmbH invited Business partner and supporters to the third company party, which is now officially considered a tradition. In keeping with the occasion, an equally traditional celebration was held - an Oktoberfest. The annual fundraising campaign, which SenseING 2021 launched for the first time, was a must. The festival, which was established as a sign of gratitude for the good cooperation and support, should also be used to do good together. This year, SenseING took advantage of the attention to raise money for the 913 Studio - Association for the Promotion of Education, Art and Culture e.V. .

Geschäftsführer Sven Kruse übergibt einen Spendenscheck an Vereinsvorsitzenden Ralf Türbach. Die beiden stehen von einer Graffitwand.
Sven Kruse (left in the picture) hands over the donation cheque to association chairman Ralf Türbach.

Strengthening self-confidence with music

As a result of the Corona pandemic, the club's offerings had to be greatly reduced. With the donated money, the 913 Studio now wants to expand the offer again. The course "Introduction to Recording and Music Production" is scheduled to start in spring 2023. The course is aimed specifically at children and young people between the ages of 7 and 20, who will be taught the basics of recording and music production in several sessions. In addition, real recordings of podcasts, lyrics or songs will be produced together. The aim of the course: The own CD with the self-produced works. The main aim is to promote the children's and young people's self-confidence as well as their media and language skills. The course is free of charge for the participants.

More information about the association →

Digital device management goes into series production

Series production of the tracking solution träck is running at full speed. The first deliveries will take place as early as October.

Digital device management requires one thing above all: transparency. Creating more transparency in processes is SenseING's main goal. SenseING relies on complete IoT solutions that are delivered pre-configured and can be put into operation in just a few steps. This also applies to the tracking solution träck, which was developed specifically for use in the construction industry. In the future, the solution, which consists of three components, will ensure more transparency on construction sites and building yards, because it can be used to track small equipment such as vibratory plates, compressors, etc. as live inventories, automate prescriptions, reduce search times and thus increase productivity.

The principle is very simple: All devices and tools to be tracked receive a tracker (transmitter). Construction sites and warehouses/building yards are equipped with gateways (receivers). The trackers exchange collected data via radio technology. LoRa with the gateway. The gateway in turn sends the data into an IoT platform using the mobile network and into existing systems via standardised interfaces.

Digitales Gerätemanagement: Ein Tracking Sensor wird an den Griff einer Rüttelplatte angebracht.

At the centre of the solution is the tracker, which is just 40×40 mm in size and is now being produced by the thousand. It contains climate and motion sensors, which make it possible to derive information about the status and utilisation of the devices. The compact tracker shines especially with its battery life, because thanks to its low energy consumption it achieves battery runtimes of up to four years.

Do you need implementable device management? Contact us right now for more information.

Donations for the Kinderschutzbund

As part of the summer festival in September, SenseING GmbH collected donations for the Kinderschutzbund Ortsverbund Karlsruhe e.V.

Doing good in the region, a goal that SenseING GmbH has pursued from the very beginning. For this purpose, donations were collected for the Kinderschutzbund Ortsverband Karlsruhe e. V. at the last summer party in September. In addition, SenseING GmbH donates five SenseKit.indoor for monitoring the air quality in the premises of the Kinderschutzbund.

SenseING GmbH sammelt Spenden für Kinderschutzbund

With the donated money, the Kinderschutzbund would like to make a drum course possible for the Albschule Karlsruhe . The Albschule Karlsruhe is a special education and counseling center with a focus on mental development. The course enables the children to develop their self-confidence and to reduce existing fears and frustrations. It also promotes the perception and expression of emotions.

In order to finance the course, another 400€ are needed, which is why we are making an appeal for donations together with the Kinderschutzbund. You can also support the project.

Midmarket meets startup

Collaboration between startups and medium-sized companies offers great potential. Short development cycles, high innovation potential and dynamic teams bring a breath of fresh air to medium-sized companies. Nevertheless, collaboration rarely comes about.

The event "Mittelstand meets Startup" at HubWerk01 – Digital Hub Region Bruchsal e. V. was about exactly this topic. Together with the company Peter Gross Bau SenseING was a guest and presented the collaboration as well as the resulting sensor system "träck", which will be used in the construction industry in the future.

With their guest contribution, Peter Gross and SenseING provided an ideal example of the previous presentation by innoWerft Technologie- und Gründerzentrum Walldorf Stiftung GmbH. They explained why it can be worthwhile to realize development projects with a startup. Afterwards, all startups were given the opportunity to introduce themselves in a 30-second pitch. Anyone who had questions could then visit the startup at the information booths.

CO2 traffic light for indoor monitoring

SenseING bringt CO2-Ampel zur Überwachung von Innenräumen auf den Markt

The SenseKit.indoor developed by SenseING is a CO2 traffic light for monitoring indoor environmental conditions. Via a visual signal, the unit indicates, for example, when it is time to ventilate the premises.

More topical than ever is just how high the CO2concentration is indoors.Because regular ventilation in the rooms can significantly reduce the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2. This is described in a recent statement by the Commission on Indoor Air Hygiene (IRK) at the Federal Environment Agency. CO2 traffic lights can serve as a guide to good or poor ventilation, according to the IRK. Even the use of mobile air purifiers is no substitute for adequate ventilation in schools. A healthy indoor climate in schools also creates an improvement in learning ability of up to 15 % (source:

PoE-Kabel wird in CO2-Ampel gesteckt.

Even before the pandemic, the indoor climate was very important. The ability of pupils, students, employees and colleagues to learn and concentrate depends very much on the ambient conditions. The health department has already defined limit values for this, including sound pressure levels and brightness, for example.

The SenseKit.indoor can also monitor these parameters.

Buy now

  • 1
  • 2