Building and implementing an Internet of Things application can be a very resource intensive endeavor, especially when considering the many different components as well as specific skill sets that are required to build the complete solution. However, utilizing the right tools and technologies can help make it a much more efficient process.
This is the third installment in a series of six on different approaches that will make IoT development more efficient. In my previous installments, I talked about how companies can benefit from leveraging IoT platforms and the power of the ecosystem when building IoT solutions.
One challenge that shouldn’t be overlooked during the building process is that IoT solutions are typically not closed systems but highly distributed, with requirements that constantly change.
So how can companies efficiently evolve their IoT solutions?
The value of an IoT solution is immediately dependent on its interoperability and integration with business systems, devices, services and other data sources. If we look at a car manufacturer that wants to develop an IoT solution to optimize their manufacturing process, for example, there are many different elements they would need to integrate.
In a first step, the car manufacturer might look at integrations with customers to get real-time insights into demands as well as integrations with suppliers and partners to automatically pull and push order information. Moving forward, the manufacturer might want to get real-time insights into product availability and capacities, in order to automatically trigger subsequent processes, such as order confirmations or logistics processes. Therefore, they would need to incorporate things like manufacturing line status, output created, and current inventories. Adding services such as predictive analytics, they would eventually be able to create much more accurate forecasts on future demands and output requirements.
The list of possible integrations is endless, and of course depends on the use case at hand. This example shows, however, that the scope and requirements for an IoT solution continually evolve as companies move forward and incorporate IoT into their business.
How well an IoT solution can integrate and interoperate with new elements will ultimately define its usefulness and value.
The IoT ecosystem is a powerful resource that can provide many pieces of an IoT solution that companies would normally need to spend time on developing in-house, which is why using the ecosystem is a strategic move.
It is also critical that the underlying technology used to build the solution supports such a flexible and diverse architecture. IoT platforms are specifically designed to meet these requirements. In order to find the right platform that will not only meet the requirements of your current use case, but scale in future projects as well, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the platform enable easy integration with 3rd party systems, cloud services, and hardware components?
- How well does it support interoperability with other applications such as predictive analytics or big data services?
- What does the process for changing or adding elements in the future look like?
- Is the platform supported by an ecosystem of partners and developers that offer complementary technology and out of the box functionality that can be plugged directly into the platform?
- Are there already existing pre-built components? Can they be accessed via a central app store or marketplace?
Using an IoT platform that is designed to integrate components provided by the ecosystem as well as extend the functionality with additional components, enables companies to efficiently adapt their IoT solutions to future requirements and gives them the flexibility to benefit from new developments in IoT technology.
The question I will be addressing in my next installment is how to enable interoperability between different products and technologies.
- Removing Obstacles to Make IoT Development More Efficient
- No One Company Can Do It All: The Power of the IoT Ecosystem