The Internet of Things is a revolutionary invention and has the potential to turn the world around with its solutions. IoT acts as a connection between the physical world and the world of the internet. For the development and implementation of IoT, you first need to understand the major building blocks of an IoT-enabled solution.
There are three approaches to building an enterprise IoT solution:
Create your custom solution from scratch
An organization chooses this option when the deployment size is large or the quantity of data to be streamed to the cloud is huge. There is no right solution in the market to suit all the requirements and hence you decide to build your solution. Developing a platform from scratch is a time-consuming and complex process, you need to put in major investments and have a staff ready at your disposal to maintain the entire architecture.
Build using commercial IoT development platforms
You can choose to build an IoT solution based on a commercial platform to establish device connectivity and to store IoT data. Prospective platforms could be Azure or AWS IoT. This method helps you save money and time as the implementation cycle is much shorter. There are lower risks involved as well.
Engage with an IoT service provider or IoT integrator
If you find that building an IoT solution would require your employees a lot of training or you need to create an entire department just for this purpose, you could instead choose an IoT service provider to build a solution you need.
A typical Four-Step Approach to IoT solution has the following components:
Sense and collect data
In the Internet of Things, things refer to a wide range of sensors, tags, actuators, devices, and so on. They provide you with a rich source of data that can be used for further analysis. Therefore, in the first step, all kinds of data collection and sensing activities occur with the help of industrial equipment and their surrounding environment.
There is a difference between protocols in the industrial IT network and a modern-day IT-enabled solution. An industrial IoT extends industrial IT networks in existence. This is addressed by a gateway solution that forwards the obtained data to back-end services. These backend services can be hosted on the cloud or on-premise, as per your needs. A gateway will bridge the communication gap between two isolated systems.
Without the ability to store data, you won’t be able to analyze it, and without analyzing it, you will not be able to improve a product or a service. Selecting a database is a primary challenge at this stage. The common mistake is choosing a conventional method rather than an actual use case method.
Compute and create insights
The real value of IoT lies in the data you collect. This does not mean you gather tons of data and do nothing with it. Extracting meaning from the data is the most important step because your customer is going to interact with this. You must try to provide value to your customers through constant improvements. The stored data should be processed by applying different algorithms as per your project requirements and presented via interactive web and user interfaces.
Thus, building an IoT solution is like finding the key pieces to a digital transformation puzzle. It is a handy strategy if you know how to use it well. The important point to remember is that IoT isn’t one size fits all. You need to take care of individual building blocks so that they cater to your specific needs. The four-step approach of building an IoT solution is applicable whether you choose to build a solution from scratch or take assistance. Ultimately, you must have a solution that provides the best output to your customers.
About the author: Ram Narasimhan is the Global Head of AI and Cognitive Services at Xebia. Ram drives AI-First business and technology initiatives, helping organizations transform their digital strategy into an Innovation powerhouse deriving the value from AI, Big Data, IoT and Cloud based enterprise solutions. He can be reached at com/in/ramnarasimhan