4 ways to future-proof your IoT solution and avoid obsolescence
The Internet of Things (IoT) is evolving rapidly and it’s difficult to say what things may look like in a year or two, much less in the next decade. One of the biggest concerns for organisations is buying what soon becomes functionally or technologically obsolete, but continually deferring to invest in IoT could lead to analysis paralysis.
Organisations understanding the use cases and potential of IoT are the organisations that will likely drive innovation over the next decade. IoT is enabling businesses in numerous industries to prevail – especially industries you would not typically associate with this technology. Manufacturing plants are using machine learning and smart sensors in their manufacturing process, farmers are using IoT to meet growing agricultural demands, and oil and gas companies use IoT devices to optimise drilling procedures.
The below graph showcases the worldwide IoT spend per industry in 2015, as well as the predicted spend for 2020.
The biggest spenders over the last few years have been the manufacturing and logistics industries, due to the fact that the industrial world comes with decades of legacy equipment and existing infrastructure that cannot be replaced easily or cost effectively. After dealing with the replacement and integration of legacy systems, how are these industries ensuring successful IoT adoption while still avoiding obsolescence?
Unlike more established technologies, the immature and fast-evolving nature of IoT solutions increases the risk of early obsolescence. In the age of IoT cloud-based solutions, future-proofing is a continuous process to maximise solution adaptability, while still managing risk.
Below are four considerations to keep in mind to ensure a future-proofed IoT landscape.
Masses of data means masses of potential security threats
There’s a quip that goes: The ‘S’ in IoT stands for ‘security’. This is because IoT adoption is widely criticised for the lack of security. Having an IoT solution that does not start with security as first priority – addressing authentication, authorisation, and encryption of data – will not only lead to obsolescence, but will also risk putting the entire solution at risk. Future-proofing your IoT security will ensure that customers’ personal details don’t get leaked.
IoT solutions should be based on horizontally scaling architectures
With the IoT wave growing quicker than expected, there has not only been an increase in devices, but also an increase in the amount of data that is being transferred. There are many considerations that go into building up an IoT infrastructure that can scale, but there’s a lot more to consider than simply scaling servers. Designing an infrastructure that can scale will help ensure the success of the business that is built upon it.
Rapidly adopt new devices, protocols and integration
As more IoT applications emerge, architectures need to be flexible enough to adapt to varying requirements and feature sets. There will undoubtably be new devices entering your ecosystem and your IoT solution must be prepared to handle those devices. A lack of flexibility will result in the rapid aging and obsolescence of your system.
A single deployment model is not enough
The universal shift to the cloud is challenging for many large enterprises. For those looking to build future-proof IoT, leveraging cloud-based technologies and the application of real-time data analysis can enable autonomous decision-making, and create the potential for new services and revenue streams.
Fortunately, the frameworks provided by major technology players have recently matured. The Platform-as-a-Service offerings from Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apache are now truly production ready. They have a large amount of infrastructure, data and network heavy-lifting available out the box, and pre-configured solutions available for other areas in some instances. There are essentially fewer breaking changes which would affect your product, so there has never been a better time to pursue an IoT solution.
Future-proofing your IoT infrastructure is achievable as long as your organisation is thoroughly prepared for the changes that IoT brings, or you have an expert technology partner who can guide you through these four critical aspects.
Entelect is an end-to-end technology services provider delivering custom software across all industry sectors. Entelect has developed several large IoT enterprise solutions, leveraging modern cloud infrastructure to ensure future-proofing.