In a highly crowded IoT platform market, it is important to understand the what, the why’s and how’s of IoT. Only then would you be able to understand the role and scope of IoT in augmenting your business. In our previous blog, we had briefly touched upon how IoT can impact your business, how it has surfaced and evolved with time and how it is taking us towards a highly integrated future. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to its many aspects and magnitude.
Having worked in diverse industries helping everyone from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies build their empires, we have seen IoT giving businesses the much-needed facelift in a highly integrated digital world. If you haven’t yet jumped on to the IoT bandwagon, you will be lagging way behind your competitors and before you know it would be too late. So if you are still wondering if IoT is for you, allow us to take you on an IoT tour telling you the top ten reasons for using IoT platform based services.
First things first. Let’s start with the what’s.
IoT platform meaning explained
International Data Corporation or IDC defines IoT platform as follows: ‘an IoT platform is a commercial software product that offers some combination of the following capabilities: management of IoT endpoints and connectivity; access, ingestion, and processing of IoT data; visualization and analysis of IoT data; and IoT application development and integration tools’.
An IoT platform is essentially the support software that connect different components to enable users to automate their environment and connect without hiccups in communication. The platform thus functions like a middleman connecting components like hardware, development tools, access points and data networks to other parts of the value chain or mobile application. As such, it relies on sensors or controllers, a device that acts as a gateway transmitting data across the network, a communications network, software to decode and analyze data and end application service. Together, they form the value chain. While all this looks very simple at the outset, truth be told. The IoT is undoubtedly the most complex networking environment. That explains the huge number of players in a dynamic but young market such as IoT. Today, each one is outdoing the other embracing new strategies to adapt to changing requirements and environments. Today, IoT platform providers are waking up to new technological realities. All along, their approach has always been to help you choose an IoT platform that will help you manage, monitor, analyze and store IoT data effectively. While doing so, there is this inherent need to integrate the myriad capabilities and features into a solution that can be successfully deployed in a cost-effective manner.
Choosing the right vendor in a highly competitive IoT platform market can however be a big challenge for all. We’ve worked with more than 80 customers till now. And what we’ve learnt is that each one is poles apart from the other. Each will have its own parameters and the level of urgency and degree of dependence on the IoT platform will differ too. There’s a platform for every size, type and device. While some IoT platform providers focus on a device there would be others who would have something based purely on function. So if you rely on augmented reality headsets, they’ve got you covered. And if it’s for something pertaining to manufacturing and processing, there’s something specific for that as well. Despite the difference in purpose, certain technological needs will still remain constant. In that sense, the IoT platform-based services being offered are all very different and yet similar in their DNA. No matter which one you choose, it should help you reduce development and operating costs while giving you added functionality and power. Without much ado, we’ll proceed towards the Why’s.
Take a dekko at why you need IoT and the top ten reasons that will enlighten you on what you have been missing out on.
1. Effective device management
irrespective of the IoT platform architecture, IoT platform-based services give you the much-needed grip on all the connected devices within the network. The number of devices connected is unimaginably high. With more getting added to the system each day, a smart, intelligent system is required to ensure seamless on-boarding and off-boarding of devices. With the right IoT platform, you can organize all of them along with their infinite end-points through a flexi, horizontal device management system.
2. Effortless data management
Data is collected at different intervals and the data so collected needs to be filtered from time to time. The processing has to occur in real-time or else we won’t really be getting any insights so to speak. The IoT platform-based services help clean and segregate data at different levels so that only a certain amount of data is stored and archived while unnecessary data is expunged immediately. Kalsi, Director- Continuity 1 explains, “The IoT ecosystem is pretty diverse. It’s a complex matrix of sensors, gateways, networks and many others that contribute to the value chain. Today, enterprises are more inclined to develop their own IoT platform services that include in-house applications that are often connected with systems of third-party vendors. All major enterprise software vendors see opportunity in this kind of a diverse yet homogenous ecosystem that require seamless integration and management of devices and networks.”
3. Greater security
We are approaching a whole new level of security threat as we continue to put our data into the digital world. No matter how small a company is, it will forever be at risk unless it invests in ways to ward off unauthorized access to devices. IoT security therefore is required to be embedded at every level. As such, IoT platform-based services encrypt data protecting it with multiple layers of checks to authenticate users at different junctures. The IoT platform architecture is such that the authenticity of devices and gateway is also checked every step of the way.
Every business out there is in the hope of making it big. And most of them who have reached this far will survive and excel. So while doing the IoT platforms comparison, you must remember that the best services will always have room to scale up to your pace and magnitude. While allowing you to keep a tab on all of the connected devices, it should also help you generate new revenue streams.
5. Real-time monitoring and analytics
When we talk about data, we are talking about a huge mass that includes charts, graphics etc. For instance, if it’s a manufacturing unit, there will be processes to monitor, and production lines to be supervised in real-time. IoT platform-based services will help you manage all of this effectively giving you a whole new perspective on data and analytics. Not to mention, the amazing functionality and clarity it brings along to make better decisions and judgments. While keeping a tab on new information, IoT platform will also make the old data available to concerned people to help them build a predictive model that can give them better insights and help enhance operations.
6. Operational analytics
As mentioned earlier, there are use cases where immediate action is required. For instance, if there is a major breakdown on the highway or there is a sudden problem in an aircraft engine, you have no time to ponder. The matter has to be resolved immediately. Enterprise ready IoT platform services come in handy in such situations where problems can be detected immediately and fixed without delay. This goes a long way in preventing outages and optimizing performance of an enterprise.
7. Save time on integration
With greater pressure on process optimization and upgradation, enterprises are struggling with integrating within the existing infrastructure. Traditional approach cannot work in such a scenario. If you look at industrial applications, they are so distinct and diverse. Luckily, IoT platform design methodology is such that it provides advanced tools and services to enterprises helping them focus all their energies on more important tasks without having to worry about integration.
8. Predictive maintenance
The biggest financial drain for enterprises is maintenance. It’s easy to install equipment but failing to maintain it can lead to sudden costs. Plus, losses pertaining to breakdowns and repairs can be huge in terms of the time and money lost. However, with data pertaining to past events, enterprises can certainly avoid sudden breakdowns and repair costs. While event-based failure predictions come from previous data pertaining to machine performance and any kind of abnormality or deviation from the normal, sensor-based failure prediction relies on the data received from sensors in real-time.
9. Global Public Cloud Provider
Public Cloud providers such as AWS provide AWS IOT base platform. Continuity1 platform is based on top of AWS IoT for several reasons. Scalability, Availability, Reliability are top three reasons why one should choose a platform that’s built on top of an already high quality base foundation. If you are looking for scaling your solution to x device queries per second, or are looking for 5 nine availability, you need to make sure that the platform provider has deep Cloud expertise. If you are a global corporation, having a Cloud provider that has multiple data centers across the globe helps in issues like latency management.
10. Reduced costs
Sectors like retail, healthcare, manufacturing etc have been able to lower their costs considerably by tracking and locating mobile assets. Smart location tags with integrated sensors help keep a tab on environmental conditions affecting the asset. These methods go a long way in not only protecting and detecting assets but also ensuring their optimal utilization.
The modern IoT platform architecture offers green IoT solutions that can help you monitor smart charging, smart lighting, climate controls, energy monitoring etc. The IoT platform design methodology is such that you can add on supporting IoT applications too in order to aid in asset tracking, workflow enhancements, proximity-based sensing and many other tasks.
Things to consider
There are certain things you must ask your IoT platform services vendor before you invest your money and time. At Continuity1, we have answers to all your questions. People often ask- does the platform offer scope for developing, testing and maintaining multiple applications, are there prewritten applications, can the platform connect well with existing applications, can it ingest high-speed streams of data, how is data formatting and correction managed and many more pertinent questions. Just because you are convinced about a particular use case, does not mean that should be the sole determining factor while choosing the platform or services. Typically, your choices should be based around the out-of-the-box applications available, the kind of application-development environment and the common enterprise-application interfaces being used. Simplicity matters. And a lot of times simple apps are the ones that are most popular. As Kalsi elaborates, “For a manufacturing company for instance, whether all machines are switched off or not can be critical information. An app that tells just that surely is a boon.”
Every enterprise has certain roadmaps when it comes to charting its journey. Clearly, the IoT platform-based services you choose will depend on a whole set of factors including versatility, security, scalability, viability, cost etc that are expected to further it on this journey. There is a growing interest in IoT platforms open source as IoT technologies continue to evolve rapidly. As Nicolas Windpassinger, author of the IoT book Digitize or Die, rightly says, “The different types of IoT platforms have become essential enablers, a means of gathering and making sense of data and delivering the right kinds of services at the right time”.
Kalsi, CEO of Continuity1, is proud to mention that “C1 platform is good, but IoT is also about connecting people. Collaboration of devices requires working closely with people, and C1 is amazing at producing a reliable, scalable platform because of the warm close knit culture C1 created with each of their customers”.
On this note, we shall let you ponder over the reasons and benefits of using IoT platform-based services. Meanwhile, we at Continuity1, will gear up to bring you something more engaging from the world of IoT. Stay tuned.