In my last few blog posts on “Internet of Things”, I explained about what it means to you and your company, recent advancements in the industry and how to get started to transform your business or a company to IoT ready! In this article today, we’ll see how should we draft the plan of execution for Internet of Things. We’ll also see who and what can contribute to the success of IoT in your company and what are the key points to remember while you start executing your strategy.
Information Technology (IT) has gone through four transformation regimes, we name it as IT1.0 to IT4.0, where it has evolved from being “supported” to “driven”.
IT 1.0 regime was where Information Technology was still getting introduced in many sectors of the industry. This era was mainly where businesses were IT supported. There were computers and servers and IT infrastructures for the connectivity.
During IT2.0 era, Businesses were IT enabled. It was essential for any business to adopt to IT and IT was enabling many new areas for business from faster delivery of the products to quick customer support.
Businesses moved very rapidly from IT 2.0 to 3.0, where the core of the businesses were IT. Lot of businesses saw transformation to their strategy of operation in this era. One good example was retail stores transforming to e-Commerce sites. This not only helped businesses to reach to customers quickly but also to reduce the cost of operation of their businesses. IT 3.0 actually introduced many more online business opportunities.
Finally today we stand to the point where businesses are actually IT driven. In this era of IT 4.0, IT is ubiquitous! Without IT no businesses can stand longer! IT and IoT are so closely related to each other that they can not be separated out when it comes to the execution strategies. The differentiating “o” defines the awesomeness that IoT bring to the business!
In all the organizations, its always a question that who owns the IoT transformation? Although there is no rule of thumb for this, however considering that all businesses today are IT driven and as IT and IoT is so closely related, IT can actually make this transformation a lot more easier and faster! In earlier days IT was considered only as an “Enabler” for the business but now IT is a new partner!
Let’s look at how can you build IoT developments for your company
The first step towards your IoT’ization is finding opportunities. Your company or a business will have lot of processes that are running on a manual mode. Try to find out area where improvements can be brought up with pulling down the IoT strings. For e.g., if you have legacy machines which are needed to be manually monitored, try considering for automatizing them with IoT. You may require to capture data and take decisions based out of their analytic.
The next thing is to prototype the idea. Use Wireframe tools to draw concept into prototyping. The very essential thing is to develop an architecture of the system. Building an architecture will reduce lot of issues in future. The complexity of the architecture depends on how complex your IT infrastructure is. For instance, if the company has firewalls or multiple connectivity options or a complex IT infrastructure, your IoT prototyping has to consider all of them. For prototyping, use IoT prototype development boards that are available. There are hundreds of them available in the market today. The most popular are Arduino, Raspberry Pi’s, Mediatek LinkIt series, Particle photons etc. You can use hosts of IoT Operating systems of your choice. There are Linux based OS to Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT core, which can help you develop your IoT apps/solutions on platforms like Python or Java to Visual C#. First rule for prototype is that do not bother about the form factor or the minimized hardware. When you are done with prototype, you can always customize your hardware to the form you want. Try to use different type of IoT hardware.
The prototype that you just developed can not be feasible to use as a final solution. There might be many reason for it, but the most obvious are that either the prototype is too big, or requires a huge power source, not handy etc. You will also see that you might need only 20 to 30% of your prototype boards features for your final product. For example, you might require couple of sensors and so only couple of GPIOs so you can cut down on the rest. You may require a small memory than what is used in prototyping etc. There are many more ODM services which can give a shape to your IoT prototype to final product.
The success of your IoT project depends on the uniqueness and effectiveness of your IoT solution.