Dogami – petaverse
IoT hardware is at the heart of every connected project.
However, choosing the IoT hardware exact for your project can be overwhelming due to the sheer number of development boards and modules in the space.
In our practice we ruled by the Customer choice.
However doubtlessly, it is useful to know more about the board's specifications and possibilities.
The one of the chipset we worked with in our projects is ESP32 by Espressif Systems.
Espressif is a fabless semiconductor company that develops Wi-Fi and Bluetooth low-power IoT hardware solutions.
They are most well-known for their ESP8266 and ESP32 series of chips, modules, and development boards.
In fact, many development boards across the industry run on Espressif chips (like Sparkfun’s development kits).
Espressif development boards are designed for simple prototyping and interfacing but can be used as a simple proof of concept or enterprise solution. Espressif also offers several software solutions designed to help you manage devices around your home and integrate wireless connectivity into products. Some of the IoT development boards they offer are:
2.4 GHz Wi-Fi & BT/BLE Development Boards — These boards provide PC connectivity, 5V/GND header pins, or 3V3/GND header pins ESP-IDF source code and example applications. These boards support everything from image transmission, voice recognition and come with a variety of possible features, such as onboard LCD, JTAG, camera header, RGB LEDs, etc.
2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Development Boards — Standard set of development boards that integrate the commonly-used peripherals.
As was mentioned you can surely use ESP32 for prototyping/establishing Proof of Concept (PoC). If you need to use several devices, ESP32 is perfect for your app.
One of the major advantages of ESP32 is the presence of inbuilt WiFi and Bluetooth stacks and hardware.
Therefore, ESP32 will be your choice of microcontroller in a static application where good WiFi connectivity is guaranteed, say an heating equipment monitoring application in, say, a static appliance. The presence of WiFi stack on the module itself means you will have saved money on an additional networking module.
However, if you use ESP32 in an asset tracking application, where it keeps moving around, you will have to rely on a GSM or LTE module for connectivity to the server (because you will not be guaranteed WiFi availability). In such a scenario, ESP32 loses the competitive advantage. We will discuss a more suitable board for moving devices next time.
To recap, ESP32 has specs that are good enough to accommodate most of your applications. When scaling up production, you need to just make sure that the specs are not too much for you.
In other words, if you can get the desired output with modest specs, you may be better off using a cheaper microcontroller and save money. These savings become significant when your production numbers increase by orders of magnitude.
However, production aside, ESP32 is definitely the ideal microcontroller for prototyping and establishing the PoC. That was the reason, why our customer preferred this board for his prototype.