There is lots written about how the Internet of Things is complicated and it stands to reason that any catch all phrase like IoT that covers dozens if not hundreds of permutations will result in a fragmented marketplace for equipment, software and services and therefore on the surface seem very complex. But regardless of what the pundits say, implementing an IoT strategy need not be rocket science and there are plenty of resources available to simplify the process, certainly in the early, proof of concept stages.
IoT Strategy Need Not Be Rocket Science
In order to de-mystify this, I thought I’d break down the basics of what an end-to-end IoT project looks like so we can understand what most/all of the elements are that make up a successful product, the term product being loosely defined since IoT doesn’t need to be something you ‘sell’ it can be embedded into an existing product to make it smarter, or it can be inserted into an existing process in order to gain efficiencies.
At the very basics, what you have in IoT are ‘things’ that are networked (in the IT sense) back to a cloud service or an end application that does something with the ensuing data. You can break that down to ’embedded things’ and ‘networked things.’
In the true sense of ‘Embedded’ we are talking about a device/sensor/chip that is built inside something in order to connect it whereas networked, for instance, would be using a device, like a router, to get information off of an existing piece of equipment, or using a sensor to get information off of some object and send that data back for analysis and action.
Once you have connected things, embedded or otherwise, you need a ‘Network’ to bring that data back to the cloud. The Network can be local or wide: so Cellular network, Satellite network, or Wifi, or Bluetooth, or low powered radio. These are all viable networks that work in different circumstances depending on what you want to accomplish and in what environment over what distance.
And last, you need something that can take that data and make it actionable, whether in the ‘old’ client/server world or in the Cloud. Again, how your organization uses the cloud and the data very much depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
When it gets right down to it, that’s all end-to-end IoT is: Devices networked to the cloud. Though I’m oversimplifying a bit, let’s remember that these concepts are at the very heart of all IT services even going back to the analog days. So, although there are many permutations of the above, which does lead to complexity, the rapid evolution of technologies are making it easier than ever to implement. So there’s no excuse not to jump right in and start developing a strategy for IoT in your enterprise.
Next month I’ll take a fictional manufacturer of low/no tech consumer goods and do a case study that encompasses most/all of the elements of IoT across one enterprise both internal and customer facing.