The 3 Indispensable Elements of an IoT Solution

IoT (and the things it can do) is one of the most widely discussed technology topics today: from precision farming to remote health monitoring, smart TVs to energy management systems. IoT is bringing a transformation across industries; it is predicted that by 2019, the IoT market will reach $1 billion. However, it is still a distant dream for most organizations do not yet know how to build a successful IoT solution. Although the use of smart, modern, innovative devices is commonplace, these tend to operate in isolation and not in a dynamic, interconnected world as the best Internet of Things solutions should.

3 Indispensable Elements of an IoT Solution

Elements of an IoT Solution:

For organizations looking to move from a disconnected world to a new, connected one where boundaries between hardware and software systems are constantly blurred, there are challenges at every level. These range from overall architecture to device connectivity, and data security to user interaction. Also, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of standards, technology options, and product capabilities. If you’re looking to build a successful IoT solution, there are the 3 indispensable elements:

  1. Hardware: The hardware you choose impacts your IoT solution in a variety of ways: device cost, capabilities, user experience, and more. Hence, choosing the right hardware is imperative to the success of your IoT solution. Start by identifying the kind of problem you are trying to solve. Next, make a list of likely solutions and use cases. And lastly, determine where and what degree of personalization you would require. Platforms like Raspberry Pi offer an entire Linux computing platform with USB, HDMI, and Ethernet port connectivity for building a top-notch IoT solution. Hardware platforms like these enable you to:
    1. Build custom chip designs and directly integrate sensors within the chip.
    2. Drive sufficient power efficiency, with an appropriate form-factor, and ruggedness.
    3. Integrate complex onboard analytics to run complex algorithms.
    4. Wire the chip such that only relevant information is sent to the cloud.
    5. Enable design modularity to accommodate future hardware upgrades and ensure maximum scalability and ROI.
  2. Software: Although the hardware is an important element of any IoT solution, it cannot by itself deliver results. For that, the device must be loaded with APIs and software development kits that let you build cutting-edge IoT solutions. It can be said that any IoT solution is only as good as the software that binds it. AWS IoT for instance, allows you to connect devices, secure data and interactions, process and act upon device data, and enable offline device interaction. Robust IoT software platforms like these allow you to:
    1. Integrate several capabilities and features into one solution.
    2. Build a high level of security and ensure strict software quality measures.
    3. Continuously monitor and review the code to avoid any failure.
    4. Build scalability and flexibility as per the need.
    5. Collect and manage data and enable analytics and visualization.
    6. Enable remote connections to all devices in the ecosystem.
  3. Cloud: The main aim of any IoT solution is to connect and allow communication between devices, people, and business and operational processes. Since IoT devices generate massive amounts of data, and the analysis and processing of that data need to be completed quickly and easily, managing the flow and storage of this data is a herculean task. Cloud computing with its different models and implementation platforms plays a very important role in enabling seamless communication. Google Cloud IoT offers a fully managed and integrated set of services for easy capture, management, and analysis of IoT data from globally dispersed devices on a large scale. Cloud computing platforms like these enable you to:
    1. Optimize investments in extensive hardware and management of physical network and infrastructure.
    2. Speed up the development process and cut down on costs.
    3. Manage and analyze data instantly and enhance the overall efficiency and functioning of your IoT solution.
    4. Enable application development portability and interoperability across the ecosystem.
    5. Gather data from the IoT device, transmit to the cloud, analyze it, and provide it back to the end-user in the form of actionable information.
    6. Scale up the infrastructure, depending on your needs, without setting up any additional hardware.
    7. Enable remote device life-cycle management including device registration, updates, and diagnosis.

Establish the Right Strategy:

IoT presents enormous opportunities for virtually every business; according to IDC, three industries that are expected to spend the most on IoT in 2018 are manufacturing ($189 billion), transportation ($85 billion), and utilities ($73billion). It’s fair to assume that a variety of other industries will follow suit in short order. The onus of a successful IoT solution lies entirely on the ecosystem it is built upon. This is a complex undertaking and requires careful consideration of each of the 3 main factors to provide a great experience for the end-user. With the right strategy in place, you can open the door to smart analytics, application management, and data security, to successfully ride the IoT wave.

5 Technologies that are the Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

Organizations are in the quest to accelerate business activities and offer an exceptional product and customer experiences by driving digital transformation. With 57% of organizations believing that digital transformation is a competitive opportunity, it is without the doubt that technology is enabling organizations to become more agile, responsive, innovative, and efficient in addressing their needs.

The Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

In a highly dynamic and competitive world, having an amorphous digital transformation goal is not enough; what is required is an understanding of the tools and technologies that can enable you to get there. Digital transformation spending is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by the end of 2019. Clearly, leveraging modern technology to significantly drive transformation has become a mandate for organizations around the world. However, only 10 percent of companies around the world describe themselves as fully digital – a significant gap. One of the challenges is the vastness of the scope. Where to start? What technologies will play a role? The questions are many.

Since markets, customer demands, and technology is changing rapidly, leading digital change requires you to embrace modern technologies. This will allow you to evolve with the rapid pace of digital change. Here are 5 technologies that are the building blocks of digital transformation:

  1. Cloud:
    For digital transformation to have a profound impact on business activities, the cloud must play an important role. The cloud offers digital organizations the flexibility to do business from anywhere, freeing them from the hassle of investing in and managing physical IT resources. It offers businesses the scale and speed needed to become agile and focus on continuous transformation. The cloud enables organizations to fuel better collaboration and constantly develop, deploy, deliver, innovate, and implement modern solutions. By offering flexible, on-demand access to resources, the cloud enables organizations to execute plans faster and address the changing needs of the market. With the cloud computing market projected to reach $162 billion in 2020, it is past the time for businesses everywhere to embrace cloud solutions to drive digital transformation.
  2. Mobility:
    A key pillar of digital transformation in today’s fast-paced world is mobility. Digital transformation involves radical reconsideration of how organizations use technology to build new revenue streams or business models. Mobility enables them to do that and achieve a host of benefits: anytime anywhere access to information, improved productivity, better process efficiency, lower operational cost, and an enhanced customer experience. Since mobile technology bridges the gap between the physical and digital world, it helps organizations make use of the right data in the right context at the right time and at the right place. It also fuels better communication and collaboration within the organization – helping organizations make more informed decisions, be more proactive, and engage with their customers and employees better. With 82% of organizations believing mobile is the face of digital transformation, the role that it plays is now self-evident.
  3. Big Data and Analytics:
    In today’s digital economy, organizations need to embrace technology not just to support existing business processes, but also to drive new avenues of competitive differentiation. Big data and analytics are driving organizations to analyze humongous amounts of data and unearth critical insights. They are examining business processes, customer behavior, market trends, and competition data and creating value. Since today’s digital customers are a major catalyst for digital transformation, harnessing the right data helps organizations to understand customer needs, make data-driven decisions, build products and processes to meet those needs, and shape the right experiences for them. As big data and analytics enable organizations to get answers to critical questions in near real-time, it allows businesses to react quickly to change, improve performance, and build competitive advantage.
  4. IoT:
    The Internet of Things is driving substantial transformation across industries by linking critical assets in a connected ecosystem. The data generated from these systems can be used to drive sufficient business value, potentially transforming operations and improving business efficiency. Gartner predicts that 1 million new IoT devices will be sold every hour and that IoT spending will reach $2.5 million per minute by 2021. Using IoT, organizations can extend their enterprise and make the most of the exciting business opportunities for transformative business growth. IoT can help drive industrial automation, derive insights into equipment data, enable predictive maintenance, and improve the safety of the workforce. What’s more, IoT data can also be used to boost efficiency, improve customer experiences, and increase overall business agility.
  5. AI:
    In a bid to drive transformation, organizations across the world are looking at ways of applying Artificial Intelligence to boost their business outcomes. AI is already a key driver of digital transformation across a wide range of sectors. Nearly 9 in 10 businesses believe that AI will serve as a key competitive advantage, and help them explore new opportunities and revenue streams. AI can drive significant automation in the enterprise. It enables organizations to apply a more agile framework for digital transformation and create repeatable, reliable functions that can be used widely. By understanding customer journeys and the outcome of future interactions with customers, AI can also be used to drive personalization in customer engagement – a key expectation of the modern digital customer.

Technology at the Core

The pace at which the world is moving is compelling organizations to embrace modern and innovative technologies. The aim is to become extremely agile, to quickly respond to market changes, and to address customer needs. Digital transformation requires you to leverage the available technology to enhance your business process efficiency and become more competitive. Modern technology advancements such as cloud, mobility, big data and analytics, IoT, and AI, offer a variety of potential business benefits. Picking an area of impact to your business and applying the right technology mix will help you take the first successful step towards digital transformation.