This article highlights the need for an efficiently budgeted, differentiated approach to IoT. Further, it lists several key features of custom IoT solutions. Finally, the article stresses the importance of future-oriented approaches and presents the IoT platform Reswarm as an enabler of change.
Why plug-and-play may not be a good idea
Easy plug-and-play solutions may sound ideal at first. Plug-and-play IoT provides a simple, open language for manufacturers to interact with their IoT devices. You can add IoT devices and device functionalities to cloud solutions without writing embedded code. But what will happen with your plug-and-play solution next year? For the most part, plug-and-play offerings are inflexible. They cannot withstand the pace of innovation and are not suitable for the long term as you cannot build on them. Plug and play usually lack hindsight and neglect the realities of a specific situation.
What makes a good custom IoT solution?
A custom IoT solution takes into account the specificities of a project from the conceptualization phase through developing actual working solutions, deployment, and beyond. Custom IoT considers long-term potentials and developments. It makes sure that you have enough openness and elasticity to accommodate newer approaches.
A realistic appraisal of the status quo should consider the feasibility of your proposal, the challenges encountered on-site, the targeted deadlines, and the level of technical know-how involved. Each use case is singular and context-dependent. Equally so, each solution should be tailored specifically to its singular situation while allowing enough flexibility for the implementation of future improvements on the existing infrastructure.
Context and openness
First, a viable IoT offering is holistic, and comes with an integrated solution architecture. All relevant components are taken into consideration within the framework of an end-to-end approach stretching over the entire value chain. Individual assets, the specificities of the cloud architecture, questions of interoperability, as well as the frontend need to work in concert to deliver a fully rounded service.
Second, you need to consider the full and seamless integration of existing systems and processes. Integrability is the key word here as existing analog assets and isolated solutions involving both internal and external systems have to be incorporated into the new IoT architectures for a fully rounded value chain.
Third, you need highly customized use cases that offer an in-depth understanding of individual challenges, the unique characteristics of your development environment, and project focal points. We would even go so far as to say that each IoT ecosystem has its own personality. Accordingly, a successful IoT solution should mirror this individuality and build on it. A failure to do so will mean loss of critical potential and a truncated result that only partially addressed a multifarious development landscape. Industry giants are also going in this direction of pursuing individuality in every aspect of work.
Scalability is another aspect to be accounted for. After all, IoT is about connectivity and facilitation. Scalability is the capability of a service to adapt both to the constantly changing environment and to potential future requirements. For example, this can be the rapid addition of a growing number of connected devices to a device fleet without any negative impact on performance and capabilities. Both vertical and horizontal scalability are essential to any system designed to tackle ever-growing data volumes. The proposed IoT solution should first and foremost serve as an enabler. Ideally, each dimension of an IoT initiative should be open-ended and future-ready.
Planning for security
Finally, security is the central constituent of a custom IoT solution to be considered when aiming for a sound, sustainable outcome that can serve you over the long term. Without focusing your efforts on security from the outset, many things can go wrong—entire systems, automation processes, and devices can be exposed to errors and external harm. Integrating cybersecurity measures into your custom IoT solution is itself a complex process. This involves the management and enforcement of policy, as well as the integration of system capabilities for the monitoring, detection, and handling of potential threads.
Measures include the safeguarding of the physical integrity of hardware assets and the mandatory authentication of devices. Added to this is use of IoT data encryption and API security methods and running frequent security analyses. You need access control, frequent testing, and management across various IT assets.
Devices should be updatable over the air, the hardware should be tested regularly. And proper planning of the long-term security strategy for your IoT apps and devices should be in place. Added to this is the necessity to keep current with the latest trends in security breaching and actively look for ways to anticipate any emerging gaps in your systems.
Custom meets future-fit
We also have the question of interoperability—the ability of the platform to integrate services or devices from different vendors to co-exist and work together. The common case is that each individual solution provides its own IoT infrastructure, IoT devices, APIs, and data formats. Examples of interoperability issues include vendor lock-in, the impossibility to develop cross-platform or cross-domain IoT applications, or difficulties in plugging non-interoperable IoT devices into different IoT platforms. At the end of the day, lack of interoperability blocks the emergence of IoT technology. It confines each IoT solution to its own little world.
Our IoT platform Reswarm allows for such openness as it offers a great deal of integrability: you can integrate dashboard tools and a vast variety of development platforms. Any device that runs on Docker can also run on Reswarm. In this way, we safeguard a seamless flow and enable cross-vendor resource sharing.
Managing transformation is about finding the right measure. An IoT-based project that is too rigid will inevitably require a major overhaul at some point in the future. Solutions that lack flexibility can turn out to be extremely costly in the long term. Solutions that are too flexible, on the other hand, will consume budget without going in a particular direction. A robust modular approach showing in-depth understanding of all methodological steps of the process and the relationships between steps is indispensable when it comes to implementing development principles.
A successful custom approach involves a focus on the efficient use of budget and on-site assets. The ability to identify focal points and prioritize their development is part of generating successful results. Tangible, well documented, and identifiable project milestones are also part of the picture. And finally, you need room for creativity. Developers should have the opportunity to reflect on their work, test out different options, and have the freedom to further refine the established process.
Our solution? A platform where you develop YOUR solution
Custom IoT solutions equip you with the needed freedom and flexibility to focus on your product development without distractions. Reswarm is an enabler of customization. With Reswarm, we introduce a fully customizable IoT and IIoT development studio. Design engineers and developers are offered a platform to build their own apps and manage connected devices. The platform encompasses both IoT app development and device management suites. You work within a secure environment where you collaborate with others and learn from best practices across the globe.
Start here to find out more about Reswarm or sign up to add your first five IoT devices for free.
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