If you have a business case for taking advantage of an internet of things (IoT) ecosystem, you're probably wondering where to start. It's a fairly complex system of interwoven technologies, so it's understandable to proceed with caution. We'll review the components needed in building an IoT ecosystem to give you a launching-off point.
The devices - actuators & sensors
These are the actual items doing the sensing for sound, temperature, movement and more. Plus, this category includes the mechanical switches and motors that perform an action when the sensors are triggered. Based on your use case, you should know what you want to monitor for and how the actuators should respond when that behaviour is detected. Telling them how to act relies on the next item.
The logic or applications
These are the individually configured rules or integrated SaaS platforms that instruct your actuators or human team members to act following a sensor trigger. According to Software AG Blog, your logic and application should always "use these digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities. This is where you transform into a digital business." So, you're not just replacing a manual, human task with a digital one - you're opening up new profit streams too.
How they connect
All these devices must connect to the internet, your data storage platform and each other. According to Saft, "Sensors, gateways, routers, applications, platforms and other systems have different requirements in terms of connectivity options based on their power consumption, range and bandwidth consumption. Options are numerous and range from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Cellular (3G/4G and 5G) or Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LTE-M, NB-IoT, EC-GSM, LoRaWAN, Sigfox and other)." But what you choose will have a huge impact on performance, so it's best to work with an expert partner in IoT connectivity.
The database & security
Here is where all the data is stored and processed. For most businesses, it makes sense to run a cloud-based database. You'll also want a digital experience monitoring (DEM) tool installed as well, so you can keep track of each component part of your IoT ecosystem. DEM monitors performance across the user experience. Lastly, you'll need robust security at the cloud, software, connection and device level. According to Thales Group, "the general security principles established in IoT and the acronyms used are PKI, public-key cryptography, encryption, mutual authentication, and certificates."
Reporting & analytics
According to NutaNXT, "As a general rule, the IoT's most significant selling point is its ability to collect previously ignored data and turn it into actionable insight. There is a requirement for powerful engines capable of analysing massive data sets to provide business information and easily understood recommendations. Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality (AR) are being used in many cases to maximize the intelligence gained from machine learning." Your teams will need to understand how the IoT ecosystem helped to improve operations, increase profits, and reduce costs. And the only way to quantify that for decision making is through great reporting tools which automate that process.