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Hardware Design Challenges of the Embedded Internet of Things (IoT)

With the advent of the internet of things or IoT, there has been a massive growth of the embedded systems market due to the speedy development of the connected devices. The embedded intelligent connectivity continues to increase at a phenomenal rate as a result of the Internet of Things.

Role of Embedded Systems in IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as a process in which objects are equipped with sensors, actuators, and processors that involve hardware board design and development, software systems, web APIs, and protocols, which together create a connected environment of embedded systems. This connected environment allows technologies to get connected across multiple devices, platforms, and networks, creating a web of communication that is revolutionizing the way we interact digitally with the world. This connected embedded systems are changing interactions and behavior with our environment, communities, and homes, and even with our own bodies.

There are embedded systems around us in the form of commercial systems like vending machines, smart kiosks, AC controller, connected cars, hotel bill printers, etc., which are capable of performing a unique variety of operations. Hence, when it comes to designing of these embedded IoT systems, they need to be designed for specific functions, possessing qualities of a good product design like low power consumption, secured architecture, reliable processor, etc. However, designing an embedded IoT hardware system is not easy.

Challenges of Designing an Embedded IoT Hardware System

Designing a hardware for embedded devices in the IoT ecosystem requires a deep thoughtful planning. The reason is, there are several challenges Embedded designers face in designing a hardware system for IoT enabled devices. Listed below are a few challenges of designing embedded IoT hardware system:

● Lack of necessary flexibility for running applications over embedded systems:
With the rising demand for connected devices, embedded systems need to work with heterogeneous devices and adapt to different networking architectures to cope-up with new functionalities and performances in the real-time environment. Due to this situation of increasing technology adoption and deployment of new applications, embedded system designers face several problems in terms of flexibility while developing embedded IoT systems such as:

  1. Problems in ensuring smooth integration of new services
  2. Difficulty in adapting to new environments
  3. Frequent changes in hardware and software facilities
  4. Issues in packaging and integration of small size chip with low weight and lesser power consumption
  5. Carrying out energy awareness operations, etc.

● Security crisis in embedded system design:

All the IoT hardware products need to perform securely in the real-time embedded environment. Since all the embedded components operate in a highly resource-constrained and in physically insecure situations, engineers often face problems in ensuring the security of these embedded components. These systems have to be designed and implemented to be robust and reliable and have to be secure with cryptographic algorithms and security procedures. It involves different approaches to secure all the components of embedded systems from prototype to deployment. To know about these approaches, click here.

● High power dissipation of embedded system design:

Another increasingly aggravating limitation is power dissipation of microprocessor hardware design for getting the best performance out of real-time applications and devices. The persistent challenge is how to deploy an embedded system with an increasing number of transistors and with an acceptable power consumption ratio. There are two causes of high power dissipation in designing low-power embedded systems:

First, because the power dissipation per transistor is increasing with the increase in gate density, the power density of system on chips is set to increase. Thus, the engineers must reduce overall embedded systems’ power consumption by using efficient system architecture design rather than relying on process technology alone.

Second, engineers focus on better performance with low power consumption by increasing the frequency of the system, which burns more power. Engineers need to pay more attention to design choices as well.

● Problems of testing an embedded system design

For ensuring a reliable product design, conducting in-depth testing, verification, and validation is another challenge.

  1. Embedded Hardware Testing: This is similar to all the testing types where embedded developers use hardware based test tools. This refers to the embedded hardware tested for the system’s performance, consistency, and validation as per the product requirement.
  2. Verification: Ensuring whether functional verification has been implemented correctly or not.
  3. Validation: Referring to ensure whether the product matches with the requirement and passes all the quality standards.

● Inadequate functional safety of safety-critical embedded systems:


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Functional safety is considered as a part of a product’s overall safety. Embedded systems are considered as generalized control systems, which perform various control functions that require autonomy, reconfiguration, safety, fault-tolerance and need to eliminate all the unacceptable risks to meet functional safety requirements. These considerations highly influence their use in applications, where many functional loops are competing for the design of computational resources due to which, a number of timing and task-scheduling problems arise.

● Increased cost and time-to-market:

Apart from flexibility and security, embedded systems are tightly constrained by cost.

In embedded hardware design, the need originates to derive better approaches from development to deployment cycle in order to handle the cost modeling or cost optimality with digital electronic components and production quantity. Hardware/software code-designers also need to solve the design time problem and bring embedded devices at the right time to the market.

If you are looking for supporting hands to assist with transformational experience in embedded systems design for IoT hardware devices, then connect with eInfochips (An Arrow Company). eInfochips has more than 20 years of experience in providing high quality embedded solutions and services, supporting customers in North America, Europe, and Asia regions.

From silicon design to embedded systems prototyping and from product development to deployment and sustenance, eInfochips maps the journey of its customer by extending hardware and embedded software design services like system modeling and design, rapid prototyping, analytical verification, embedded system deployment, and much more.

Looking for hardware design solutions to drive efficient embedded product design?

Contact us now

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Komal Chauhan

Komal Chauhan works as a Digital Marketing Senior Executive at eInfochips where she supports digital marketing activities for various verticals - semiconductor and silicon engineering partnerships, DevOps, and Aerospace. She has 7+ years of experience in digital marketing which includes search engine optimization, content planning and management, inbound & social media marketing. She holds an engineering degree in Computer Science. Her hobbies include gaming, digital gadgets and traveling.

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