Imagine a world where more of our decisions are based on data. A world where we can easily identify the real issues and focus our attention on finding the optimal solutions for them. That world is gradually becoming a reality with the use of the Internet of Things (IoT).
In essence, IoT is turning into our planet’s nervous system. In our everyday life we interface with numerous devices that can tell us something about our world. IoT gives us the opportunity to get real time data from those devices, enabling us to have real time feedback from our surroundings, feedback that can help us formulate a more robust understanding about our situation and figure out the best course of action when it comes to making critical decisions.
IoT is on the rise. Analysts predict that there will be more than 100 billion connected IoT devices worldwide by 2025. IDC predicts that data generated from connected IoT devices will be 73.1 ZB by 2025, growing from 18.3 ZB in 2019, with Industrial IoT applications being a large contributor to this vast collection of information. IoT’s economic impact projections are even more impressive with VMR estimating the market to be worth more than $3 Trillion by 2027, with multiplying effects for the entire economy.
“Data is for our economy what coal was for the industrial revolution”
It is the first time in our planet’s history that we have the ability to measure systems and process outcomes in such a detail. Utilizing the data gathered, in conjunction with solutions like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and 5G, is helping us fine tune and automate our world and invent a better tomorrow for all.
An IoT solution is composed out of five main components. The way they are combined varies depending on the specific requirements of each use case. Let’ get a better look at them.
They are our eyes and ears in the field. Their purpose is to detect events or changes in the functioning of the monitored system. They observe multiple operation parameters, using different specialized sensors, record the data and forward it for further processing. In some cases they also perform a control operation, either autonomously or based on human input.
Monitoring devices are by definition purpose build and customized to the task’s need. For an IoT solution to be successful, it might be required to integrate multiple IoT devices of varying functionality.
As computing power is becoming more affordable, edge processing devices are increasingly becoming a part of modern IoT solutions. They add a bit of intelligence in the field. Enhanced by Artificial Intelligence, their task is to interpret the raw sensor data and detect operational patterns.
They can be very useful for reducing the processing load of the entire IoT solution as well as reducing the amount of data being transferred from the field to the cloud, for further processing and storage.
The data from field devices has to be transferred to the IoT solution’s main servers via a communication network. There are many options to choose from, including a broadband internet connection, a GSM (cellular) network, LoRaWan and last but not least satellite internet. The chosen mode of communication depends on the monitored asset's location as well as on it being stationary or mobile. Surprisingly, data communication can be one of the most challenging components of the solution, especially in remote areas.
This is one of the most important components of any IoT solution as it implements its core functionality. In most cases it is implemented on a cloud service, like AWS, but at the same time can be provided as a stand-alone server, if required due to data protection legislation or any industry specific reasons.
On this component, data received from field devices is processed and the state of the connected system is monitored in real time. In the case of detected operation abnormbackgroundImageUrlalities, alarms are raised and the appropriate actions are taken, ranging from triggering automated processes to notifying the system administrators and users. Historical data is made available to them for further analysis and automated reports are generated and forwarded to the users, on an on-demand basis or according to a configurable schedule.
State-of-the-art IoT platforms pay special attention to data security both with respect to unauthorized access and with respect to corruption and loss. Also, they make available extensive APIs for integrating the data to other applications and services as well as for migrating the data to another provider, if the need arises.
If an IoT solution was an iceberg, its user interface would be its tip. A good user interface seamlessly and intuitively allows the user to access the IoT device data and evaluate the connected system’s state in real time, while at the same time safely exposes the platform’s features (platform configuration, user management, asset management, device management etc.) to the administrators. And of course a good user interface has to be available on multiple device categories (mobile, tablet, desktop).
Whether you are building an early stage prototype or figuring out a way to integrate your organization’s IoT enabled devices in a unified data management, analysis and visualization solution, though it might be appealing to roll up your sleeves and create your own infrastructure, take a few moments to consider building on top of an existing IoT device management platform. Here are a few good reasons for choosing the latter.
It always takes more time than unanticipated to build a state-of-the-art software product and at the same time it requires expertise in multiple areas. Consider the resources you need to divert towards creating from scratch robust data processing, management and storage infrastructure or an easy-to-use user interface. If time-to-market is a key aspect for your solution’s success, using an existing IoT device management platform could help you cut your development cycle down to a few weeks, getting ahead of competition and at the same time significantly reducing development costs.
If all goes well and your solution is successful, you will constantly have to think about adding functionality to it as well as figuring out how to scale up in an efficient and reliable way. Using an existing IoT platform will solve for you out-of-the-box most of those issues, giving you peace of mind and more importantly time to focus on what really matters, your client’s needs. Some of the functionality you would have to consider is:
- streamlined device integration
- device fleet network monitoring
- user management
- multiple client device support
- external application integration
- data analytics
In today’s world, security and privacy are two of the most fundamental considerations for any connected system. As an organization’s IoT infrastructure is one of the most fundamental components for successful decision-making, numerous security-related challenges and sources of threat have to be considered and dealt with early on. Using an IoT device management platform can be a good option for reducing security related risks.
- IoT Growth Demands Rethink of Long-Term Storage Strategies, says IDC – IDC
- Global Internet of Things (IoT) Market By Software Solution, By Platform, By Application, By Geographic Scope And Forecast - Verified Market Research
- The Future of IoT - IEEE Xplore
- Performance, Reliability and Scalability for IoT – IEEE Xplore
- A Survey on IoT Security: Application Areas, Security Threats, and Solution Architectures IEEE Xplore