Difference between embedded system and IoT

difference between Embedded System and IoT vs

Embedded system and IoT


The key to a smooth functioning system is that each of its components plays its role effectively and efficiently. Whether it is in a mobile phone or an automobile or a huge factory machine, each unit of the machine needs to function well to keep the machine smoothly running.

However, a huge backdrop to this phenomenon of “well-running and efficient units” is that the majority of these components are often confused with the other.

For instance, in a thermal temperature detector, the system that checks human presence and the system that checks the temperature, might often be confused since both of them are sensors and work simultaneously.

However, they are still used for different dedicated purposes, and thus can never replace each other.

This case of confusing 2 different dedicated systems with each other due to their complementary nature also occurs with Embedded systems and IoT. Since both of them often work together to make a machine run smoothly.

So, within this article, we will discuss why embedded system and IoT are confused and distinguish them separately. Along with covering, how they work together in different machines.


See alsoWhat is an embedded system ? Introduction to embedded system


Embedded system vs IoT

Firstly, An embedded system is a computer with a dedicated function. It is placed within a larger mechanical or electrical system and often performs pre-defined tasks with very specific requirements. On the other hand, IoT is an integration that can have many connectivity options and devices; however, IoT has nothing to do with technical specifications. Seems confusing, right?


Image credit: bluefruit


Well, let’s break it down further IoT vs Embedded system


Internet of Things Embedded System
IoT is a network of objects that are connected to the internet Embedded systems are a combination of customized hardware and software that performs one specific task.
Can be updated using network capabilities Have a dedicated function that cannot be updated once programmed
IoT has access to the internet and cloud resources, big data and so much more, making it more complex than Embedded systems. Embedded systems are limited in terms of resources, as they have lesser computing power, memory, and peripherals.


To understand the difference between Embedded systems and IoT better, we need to keep in mind that Embedded systems are a subset of the Internet of Things. So, while small software programs that implement a few functions can be called Embedded systems, it is IoT that joins all these embedded systems together along with sensors, and processors to create a connected environment.


Moreover, it is not wrong to say that Embedded systems are key enablers of the Internet of Things. Further, Embedded systems have characteristics like low power consumption, real-time computing, and high availability, which makes them highly unique and also allows them to play a key role in developing IoT technology.


The fun part is that this relationship between IoT and Embedded systems is 2 way. So, it is not just embedded systems that support IoT but vice-versa as well. The world of IoT is the key player in how embedded systems can collect and exchange data via the internet.


Now, let’s look at how these two complement each other and work together in facilitating machines.


See alsoWhat are the embedded system applications and examples ?


Embedded system and IoT – how they complement each other


With the growing popularity of IoT, the tasks that can be achieved using embedded systems have become limitless. IoT has created the possibility of using embedded systems however we want and whenever we want. But, how do these two work together? Let’s look at some common examples.


Embedded system vs IoT journey

Image credit: SRUniversityCenterIoT

Mobile Phones

You would have used your mobile phone to click awesome photos of some of the best memories of your life. Well, the camera that is used by your phone and its adjoining system, in reality, is an embedded system. While the photos you click are achieved using an embedded system, it is the very popular IoT technology that allows you to send them via Bluetooth or even save it on google drive.


Air Conditioning

One of the most comforting innovations by humans, an AC as well uses both embedded systems and IoT to provide you the comfort of cooling your room. The cooling mechanism within your AC uses a dedicated embedded system, while it is IoT technology that allows your AC to communicate with your phone.


So, by using these two examples, it can be seen that embedded systems are used when you need a machine to perform a particular. However, this is not the case with IoT, which is more specifically used whenever two or more machines need to communicate.


Wrapping it up, it is not wrong to say, that these two when applied together have created limitless opportunities for technology to advance. However, it is necessary to know the difference between the two to use them properly and create innovative and inventive projects.


See alsoDifference between IoT and M2M communication (IoT vs M2M)


Let us know what you think about Embedded system vs IoT and their applications in the comment section below.

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