The Internet of Things, or IoT, is and will continue to change how most industries operate. The numbers can vary on how widespread IoT is going to become, but generally, it’s believed that there are already 20 billion connected devices in use, and that number will only keep growing.
Gartner, for example -- an analyst and consulting firm -- thinks that over 50% of global enterprise applications in production will be IoT-enabled by 2024. This is truly a global technology, as well: China, the EU, and the United States have all been trying to maximize connected device usage for years now.
You will often hear IoT referred to as “the backbone of Industry 4.0.” What does that mean? In that telling, Industry 1.0 is mechanization and water/steam power, then Industry 2.0 is mass production, assembly lines, and electricity. Industry 3.0 is when computers and automation began to take hold, and now we are already beginning Industry 4.0. That’s where we will take computing power and make it smarter and more efficient with data and machine learning.
The reason IoT is the “backbone” of Industry 4.0 is that the sheer volume of connected devices will allow people to gather tremendous amounts of data. The data drives decision-making, and also is used as an input in bettering systems through AI and machine learning. The data is everything in this equation, and IoT allows you to capture tremendous amounts of it. Find your advantage within that data and you can become a very successful company.
New revenue streams
We worked with a large telecommunications client who started the development of a Device Connection Platform (DCP) but had to slow down their DCP work because of dynamic requirements on other projects. Their connected work was about to miss deadlines, so they engaged with us on a consulting and team extension model.
We were able to work together on a project that involved aggregation and processing of large amounts of input data from multiple data sources. This involved data interpretation from sources (sensors), source categorization (hierarchy), data analysis and implementation of different input interfaces, and two different types of databases: Relational database PostgreSQL and NoSQL Cassandra.
The end outcome? New revenue streams -- and greater efficiency -- for that company.
Cybersecurity vs. Internet of Things
Even very successful company have a finite amount of money they can spend, and they need to make sure they are spending it wisely. One recent trend we’ve seen -- and has been reported -- is that companies are spending more money on the Internet of Things projects (good), but less money on cybersecurity (bad), which can expose you to hacks and data breaches.
The idea of cybersecurity and IoT are not exclusive ideas; you need to have both, or else all the data coming in through the connected devices (IoT) is subject to hack/breach, which reduces the competitive advantage you might have seen from that data. There is also a small degree of concern that many IoT transactions are not secure enough right now.
Broader societal projects in the EU
The EU is pursuing several notable big IoT projects, including smart living environments to support the elderly, smarter farming and food security, and pilots around autonomous vehicles in a connected environment. This underscores that while IoT is really important for business and profit, it has a great societal impact too -- the connectivity and data can power more than just the bottom line.
Why is it important to get a consultation and team extension on IoT projects?
Mostly because time is finite and expertise is limited. You need people who understand how to work within IoT and sensors and understand how to set up the processing of massive amounts of data in different databases. In most cases, an IoT project will not be a legacy product for your company, because IoT is still new to most companies. But because it doesn’t always involve the legacy product, IoT projects can lose attention and fall behind, missing deadlines and goals. That’s why it’s wise to extend your team and bring in some consultative help -- people and teams who have done this kind of work before and seen success with it.
It can be hard to find those types of teams, though
It can. So to help you out, we created a checklist of what you need to look for when you do an outsourcing project around software development or emergent technologies such as IoT. You can download the checklist guide below so you know how to begin the process.