In the next chapter of our ongoing IoT Insights series, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Tushar Sachdev and Vice President and General Manager of Location-Based Services, William Sandoval share their expertise on application management and data-as-a-service (DaaS). This blog provides just a hint of the insights available in the full Q&A, which can be downloaded here.
Application Layer: The Heart of an IoT Ecosystem
The application management layer is the glue that allows you to make operational decisions and better manage your business. It is the most critical layer, partially because it is the element with which most business users interact. The applications provide the ability to retrieve data, process it, manage it, and convert it into usable information that organisations use to make decisions or initiate processes.
IoT applications can either make or break a business. If you are implementing a fleet management solution, applications will tell you where your vehicles are, provide insight on your driver behaviour, report on fuel efficiency, and more.
Emerging Approaches for Application Development
The application management layer is not just about management, but the ability to create business solutions. It all starts with a use case or a challenge definition. If the definition of the challenge is clear, then ready-made applications may solve the problem. In some industries, however, the use case and value are clear, but the metrics are not. In these scenarios, you need to build a sophisticated, custom, use case-specific application.
Integrating New IoT Solutions into Existing Systems
Open architecture and APIs are key to integrating IoT solutions with existing systems. In some cases, it is as simple as providing a feed from a sensor into an end system. In other scenarios, computations may be required. For example, a refrigerator in the field may be reporting temperature and pressure anomalies. Computations determine that the temperature is below a certain threshold, which triggers a maintenance or repair ticket.
Experience Matters: Overcoming Application Development Challenges
As organisations plan their IoT projects, there are often many aspects that are not considered in advance, which creates challenges. Many do not have the internal expertise to go from an idea to an actual market-ready product requirement. Building a proof-of-concept (POC) version is valuable, but it is not enough. You need to understand the maturity of the devices and you need to understand how to integrate these devices in a seamless way.
Metadata Drives Business Value
In IoT use cases, there are several useful downstream data sets. However, it is important to understand the scale of this data. A vehicle may have 50 to 100 or more sensor inputs. Multiply that by 50,000 trucks within a fleet, and the volume rises considerably.
Can something go wrong here? Yes. And that’s where the value of the metadata – the data about the data – becomes useful. Metadata provides insights to determine if all of the devices are connected correctly, provides a greater understanding of device behaviours, and delivers business value in many areas.
Considering Downstream Data Applications
Due to inexperience in building end-to-end IoT solutions, many organisations are collecting data without considering how to analyse it, which tools are needed to process it, and more importantly, if the organisation has the knowledge and skillsets to perform these operations. A use case to improve fleet fuel efficiency is incomplete if the downstream applications are not ready to make adjustments into the ERP system.
Partnering For Success
Experienced, independent IoT partners can be instrumental in helping organisations succeed with IoT application and DaaS strategies by providing end-to-end strategic guidance. A fleet business or a manufacturer should focus on their own business, and not be burdened with the nuances of IoT. Too often, they get lost dealing with different hardware, configurations, data feeds, payloads, and connectivity options. These complexities can be more efficiently and effectively handled by an experienced IoT solutions provider that creates long-term solutions, maximises IoT investments, and transforms business performance.
With the growing number of IoT devices generating an increasing amount of information, a lot can be done with data and applications to drive business value. To learn more about building a successful IoT application management, download the full Q&A here.
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