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Top IoT Development Boards & Steps to Select the Right one for your Project

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As per Forrester, “The variety of IoT software platforms has continued to grow and evolve to complement the cloud giants’ foundation capabilities rather than compete with them.”

With that update, we can see the potential and expansion rate of IoT in the market. With each passing day, the use of IoT in businesses is not only increasing but also getting more sophisticated.

The IoT market is growing rapidly and so the demand for IoT development boards.

There are numerous development boards for different IoT devices or embedded computing products that you can use for prototyping or full-scale production. 

But here we are going to talk about the most popular development boards that you must be aware of to get the optimum result from your IoT projects. 

Well, before that here is a brief introduction to what a development board stands for and why we use it.

With 70+ Projects done on IoT devices, apps and games; Hashstudioz has also shared what are the top IoT Communication Protocols And which protocols best suits to your project requirements.

Interested to Explore?

Click here!

What is a Development board and what it is used for?

A development board is a printed circuit board with circuitry and hardware designed to assist experimentation with a certain microcontroller. 

Well, to understand this assume you have a microcontroller that is capable of doing many cool things but to be able to use that you need to first set up a group of circuitry and hardware on your breadboard every time. I know this is kind of frustrating to our smart engineers, especially when there are circuits that are going to be the same every time, like power circuits. At the same time, many hardware circuits are quite helpful in testing and debugging like pushbuttons that is better to be prototyped. 

In short, To make the engineers’ life easier and more efficient with prototyping development boards are constructed. 

Why not have a quick look at the typical components of a Development board. Here they are:

  • Power circuit– Generally set up to run off of a 9V power supply
  • Programming interface– Let you program the microcontroller from a computer
  • Basic input – Usually buttons
  • Basic output– Usually LEDs
  • I/O pins–  Used for motors, temperature sensors, LCD screens, etc.

Key Features That Must be Included in Your Development Board

IoT Development Boards

Any development board you consider for an IoT project must include a few important features. Those are:

Processing power. This could be in the form of a CPU, microcontroller, FPGA, or other CPLD. A microcontroller comes in handy for programming your device as many manufacturers provide the IDE you need. 

Wireless capabilities. This feature provides wireless communication without including an external transceiver module. Some of the common protocols include Bluetooth, Zigbee, WiFi, and others. 

Scalability. This particular feature allows one to add more functionality to the development board? You may verify if the board communicates via GPIO, UART, SPI, or some other protocol; As this will determine how the board interacts with other devices.

Memory. Board memory is important. To store much data, you need built-in Flash memory. A decent board allows connecting a MiniSD or MicroSD card to enhance data storage.

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Top IoT Development Board [ 2020-2021 ]

IoT Development Boards

IoT boards are useful hardware structures that we use to prototype a new IoT project. As we discussed above, the custom hardware results in expensive to design and manufacture, and development boards comes to rescue to avoid that.

There are several IoT prototyping boards in the market with different specifications. And  here we will cover top development boards for IoT projects.

All the below mentioned IoT boards will fall into any of the below categories:

  1. Microcontroller-based boards
  2. System on Chip (SOC) boards
  3. Single-board Computers (SBC)

Let’s get straight to the most popular IoT Development Boards:

  1. Raspberry Pi
  2. Omega 2
  3. Particle Photon
  4. Beagle bone – 
  5. Jetson Nano
  6. ESP 32
  7. Banana Pi
  8. Arduino Nano 33 IoT
  9. Tessel 2
  10. i.MX 8

1. Raspberry Pi

IoT Development Boards

The raspberry pi Development Board is a small credit card size computer. That works on Linux based operating systems and is good for embedded projects. Raspberry boards can be easily plugged in to your monitor, computer or TV. It uses a standard keyboard and mouse. Even amateur users depend on it for configuring their digital media systems and surveillance cameras.

Features

  • Processor: 1.2GHz, 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
  • 802.11n Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4 USB ports
  • 40 GPIO pins
  • Full HDMI port
  • Combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video
  • Camera interface (CSI)
  • Display interface (DSI)
  • Micro SD card slot
  • videoCore IV 3D graphics core

2. Omega 2

IoT Development Omega

Omega 2 is one of Onion’s Linux-based WiFi development boards that allow makers of all skill levels to build connected hardware. This highly integrated board comes with a powerful processor and flexible GPIOs. The Platform lets you prototype hardware devices using familiar tools like Git, npm, pip, as well as high-level programming languages like Python, Javascript, and PHP. 

Features :

  • Linux Operating System, powerful processor, and flexible GPIOs.
  • Compact size that easily fits into any project design.
  • Modular design for a vast range of flexibility.
  • Arduino compatible.
  • Integrated Wi-Fi;
  • Connectivity is expandable with 2G, 3G, Ethernet, Bluetooth®, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), GPS.
  • U.FL Connector for external Wi-Fi antenna attachment.
  • FCC and CE Certified.

3. Particle Photon

IoT Development Particle Photon

Particle Photon Board consists of an STM32 microcontroller, Wi-Fi, Switches, and LEDs. Simple to use, powerful, and connected to the cloud. Powered by a Cypress Wi-Fi chip alongside a powerful STM32 ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller, it is ideal for prototyping IoT projects.

Features :

  • Processor: STM32F205 120Mhz ARM Cortex M3
  • Real-time operating system (Free RTOS)
  • Memory: 1MB flash, 128KB RAM
  • Open source design
  • On-board Wi-Fi module
  • On-board RGB status LED.
  • 18 Mixed-signal GPIO and advanced peripherals
  • Soft AP setup
  • B802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • roadcom BCM43362 Wi-Fi chip

4. Beagle Bone

IoT Development Beagle Bone

The Beagle bone is a low power open-source single-board computer produced by Texas instruments. The board can boot Linux in under 10 seconds also you can start developing in less than 5 minutes with just a single USB cable.

It is a computer installed inside of a larger electronics project. The beagle board carries two rows of GPIO (general purpose Input/Output) pins mounted along each side of the board. That allow it to communicate with a wide range of servos, sensors, outputs and other hardware, making it act as the brain of large & complex projects.

Its capabilities can be extended using plug-in boards referred to as “capes”. that are easily available for LCD, motor control, VGA, prototyping, battery power, and other functionalities.

Features :

  • DDR memory: 512 MB
  • Ability to run Ruby, Python, and INO Sketches directly in the Cloud9 IDE,
  • Ethernet: On-chip 10/100 Ethernet
  • JTAG: Optional
  • Memory: 4GB eMMC memory 
  • Power Options: Via USB or 5V DC input
  • Price (USD) Per Unit: $55.00 (Suggested Retail Price)
  • Processor: 1GHz AM3359 Sitara ARM Cortex-A8

5. Jetson Nano

Jetson Nano

Jetson Nano is a power-efficient and low-cost development board. Provides total performance to run modern AI workloads in a small form factor. Additionally, It has the ability for heavy workload applications like image classification, object detection, segmentation, and speech processing. It is capable to run multiple neural network apps at the same time.

Features:

  • GPU: 128-core NVIDIA Maxwell™ architecture-based GPU.
  • CPU: Quad-core ARM® A57.
  • Video: 4K @ 30 fps
  • Camera: 1/3″ AR0330 CMOS Image sensor with 2.2 µm pixel.
  • Memory: 4 GB 64-bit LPDDR4; 25.6 gigabytes/second.
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet.
  • OS Support: Linux for Tegra®.

ESP 32

ESP 32

ESP32 is a dual core low-footprint system development board powered by the latest ESP-WROOM-32 module that can be easily placed into a solderless breadboard. It has a pre-integrated antenna, power amplifier, low-noise amplifiers, filters, and power management module. Because of this, it’s easy to build and test circuits as well as making projects related to IoT integrating with the cloud platform.

Features :

  • 2.4 GHz dual-mode Wi-Fi. 
  • Programmable with Arduino open-source IDE.
  • 8 independent LED.
  • Bluetooth chips by TSMC.
  • 40nm low power technology, power, and RF.
  • Easily embedded with other products. 
  • Strong function with support LWIP protocol. 
  • Supports three modes: AP, STA, and AP+STA. 
  • Supporting the Lua program, easily to develop.

7. Banana Pi 

Banana Pi

Banana Pi is a line of low-cost credit card-sized single-board computers(SBC). IT is a router-based development board, which efficiently runs on various open-source operating systems including OpenWRT and Android, Lubuntu, Ubuntu, Debian, and Raspbian. Well, the hardware design of banana pi was influenced by the Raspberry Pi and it is compatible with Raspberry Pi boards.

Features :

  • All winner A20 Dual-core 1.0 GHz CPU
  • Mali-400 MP2 with Open GL ES 2.0/1.1.
  • 1 GB DDR3 memory.
  • 1x Gigabit LAN
  • 1x SATA interface.
  • 1X MIC
  • 1x USB otg and 2x USB 2.0
  • HDMI out
  • Composite video out
  • CSI camera interface
  • DSI display interface
  • 26 PIN GPIO

8. Arduino Nano 33 IoT

Arduino Nano 33 IoT

The Arduino Nano 33 IoT is a dual-processor device that is perfect for experimentation. It offers a practical and low-cost solution for inventors seeking to add Wi-Fi connectivity to their projects with minimal previous experience in networking. The board is compatible with the Arduino IoT Cloud, where you can create IoT applications in a few simple steps

Features :

  • ARM Cortex-M0 32-bit SAMD21 processor
  • 14 digital I/O pins and 8 analog input pins
  • Support up to 12-bit ADC/PWM and 10-bit DAC resolutions.
  • Can operate as a few different USB devices: (asynchronous serial, keyboard or mouse) also referred as HID, and USB MIDI.
  • Can communicate via Synchronous serial communications.
  • Inbuilt real-time clock module.

9. Tessel 2

 Tessel 2

It’s a kind of System on Chipboards. With WIFI capabilities, it allows you to build scripts in Node.js. The board also provides you with a connected hardware prototyping system that can be used in multiple different applications. Loaded with on-board features including two 10-pin module ports to add sensors and other external hardware, a 10/100 supported ethernet port, 2 USB ports for camera peripherals and flash storage, and a microUSB connector for power and tethered programming.

Features :

  • 2 USB ports (you can connect cameras or flash storage, for example)
  • 10/100 ethernet port
  • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • 580MHz Mediatek router-on-a-chip (you can turn your Tessel 2 into an access point!)
  • 48MHz SAMD21 coprocessor (for making I/O faster)
  • 64MB DDR2 RAM, 32MB of flash (lots of space for your programs and stuff)

10. i.MX 8

 i.MX 8

i.MX 8 boards offer low power, flexible memory options, a wide range of high-speed interfaces, as well as industry-leading audio and video capabilities. It also comes with a pre-installed boot image flashed on one eMMC memory.
With best-in-class computing power, superior graphics performance, and sophisticated security features, i.MX boards became the next-gen technology for industrial embedded systems.

Features :

  • i.MX 8M Quad Applications Processor.
  • 4x Arm Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz.
  • NXP PMIC PF4210 power management.
  • LPDDR4 x32 @3200MT w/4GB, eMMC 5.0 w/16GB, MicroSD, QSPI w/256Gb memory availability.
  • HDMI 2.0a Type-A , MIPI-CSI Camera mini-SAS, MIPI-DSI Display mini-SAS camera connector.
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet, USB 3.0 Type-A & C, PCIe M.2 interface, and Infrared connector.
  • Linux, Android, and FreeRTOS OS support.

So, these are the top development boards that may fit for your various project requirements. And if are overwhelmed with the options and need guidelines that may assist you in finding the right development board.

Then, don’t go anywhere!! Right below we, being a leading IoT Development Company is sharing what you need to consider while selecting the best fit board for your project requirement.

How To Select The Right Development Board For Your Project

 IoT Development Boards

There has been a huge surge in the electronics and embedded industries for developing low power, low-cost IoT development boards. From open-source Arduino to giant Intel, everyone has stepped in the ever-growing IoT market. But as a developer, maker what works best for you is the real question.

As a development board or kit serves as the brains of your project and is responsible to communicate with all the interconnected electronic components. Your decision makes all the difference.

So here goes the 3 key steps you need to follow before selecting any board for your project:

Check the Development Board Type

The first thing to put focus is the development board type. It may fall into one of the several different categories as per their specification and design.

In the market, you will find microcontroller boards, which include the Arduino Uno and Mega. And then there’s the single board computers(SBC) like the Raspberry Pi and the BeagleBone Black.

But key is to ask what is your project type (i.e. visual, control, sensing the environment, etc.) should dictate which of the above three is appropriate. Sometimes, you may use boards from more than one of the three categories, like pairing an Arduino Uno with a Raspberry Pi.

Observe the Board Language & Community

Your choice of programming language or operating system is another important factor in choosing the right development board.

Support for multiple OS, programming languages, and integrated development environments (IDEs) helps in creating a richer experience.

Few boards, like the ubiquitous Arduino, sport custom IDEs make the platform easier to use. C and C++ are universal languages and many boards support them or some similar variant.

IDEs for some boards will allow you to explore more than one programming language.

Most single board computers run some flavor of Linux. For example, the most popular operating system for the Raspberry Pi is Raspbian which is based on Debian Linux. Community and support are important factors when choosing a development board. So keep that in mind.

Check the Specification of the Board

Well, your project requirements will determine the specifications of your development board. It isn’t necessary that bigger the specs is always better.

There are two basic reason behind that, First the price- the board with more specs usually cost more and second they sometimes creates more problem to the developer.

Hence, neither go with an over-kill or an under-kill specs for your project. Find a mid spec board. Of course, if you need to add more functionality down the road better specs could be opt.

Now, you know the trending development boards and how to select the right one for your project. Why not check our IoT Service page or contact us for any of your IoT based project. You never know You will find the best solution at right price.

Let us help you scale your business with our IoT expertise. People are liking our Home System Automation and other projects done. Do check out our IoT page to know more. You may also Click here to discuss your requirements or write to us at info@hashstudioz.com


Vivek Sanghi
Passionate first generation entrepreneur, engineer by education, with flair for sales, business Development & CRM. Working experience of selling software products/applications & development services; possessing hand on experience with both domestic and International markets. Customer handling skills, make me fit for any sales & relationship management job and this is what I do at HashStudioz & REZOFY. Sales, CRM, Partner management. Interest ranges from B2B web applications to end consumer facing tools; Most of the not-at-work time is spent in Socializing, assisting friends family with IT and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem development.
http://www.hashstudioz.com

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