IATM & AWS: Delivering Transformational Returns on Assets for Enterprises | HCLTech

IATM & AWS: Delivering Transformational Returns on Assets for Enterprises
December 11, 2020

Co-author: Madhumanti Banerjee

As the number of IoT devices deployed across multiple geographies increases manifold, the cloud's role becomes more prominent, not just for remote device management but also for the management and analysis of the massive amount of data generated, resulting in valuable and actionable insights.

Today, a whole range of options and offerings are available for the utilization of cloud for IoT solutions. With the advent of smart devices and applications all around us in homes, offices, business, and commercial spaces, cloud usage has been interwoven in our journey to become more informed and intelligent.

At IoT WoRKS™, we strive for scalability, flexibility, reliability, and security in our solutions to reduce operational costs for our clients without compromising on the quality of our solutions and services. This has been repeatedly delivered by us and validated through many our clients' transformational experience of leveraging an Integrated Asset Tracking and Management (IATM) solution built using AWS IoT and cloud technologies.

Imagine a global enterprise trying to get a clear picture of the usage and whereabouts of critical assets allocated to their entire employee base around numerous sites and office locations. Indoor and outdoor tracking devices, tags, sensors, readers, and gateways connect the dark assets to the cloud. But the experience of extracting the necessary data, relaying timely notifications and alerts, and generating reports summarized on a dashboard; all of this becomes effortlessly possible by the use of numerous services offered by the AWS cloud.

Furthermore, the amount of resources and usage criteria varies for different industries and client needs. With Amazon's pay-as-you-go approach for the services on AWS services, it becomes incredibly beneficial not only from the initial cost point of view but also in terms of expandability to enterprise-wide deployment in a short duration. IATM hosted on AWS Cloud has made all of this and much more a reality for our clients!

What went right?

Organized data: Data, when organized into meaningful insights, brings real value to the owner of the data. The handshaking of collected data, backed up by the smart sensors, with an ability to process and analyze it on the cloud adds to IoT solutions' robustness. It enables the 'run-anywhere' and 'access-everywhere' intelligence of an IoT product.

Business outcomes at its peak: Real-time tracking and consequent timely business decisions lead to reduced operational costs. With a boost in tracking assets' speed, the risk to businesses due to potential fraudulence and misuse reduces significantly. Hence, the need to improve security and operational efficiency holistically is met satisfactorily.

Ease of deployment: To instantiate, we have deployed this IoT product for over 0.1 million assets, and it can scale up as per requirement for its deployment on cloud.

Other technical challenges addressed by AWS cloud architecture

It was essential to finalize the technical architecture and select the right AWS architecture services for the solution. We chose microservices-based architecture due to the apparent benefits of modularity, high scalability, and fault tolerance. High scalability was a critical factor in our design, considering the gap we saw in the market adaptability and the need for such a product.

First, we started to build a minimum viable product and launch it in the market and then add more functionalities based on our customer interactions and the product roadmap. We also decided to go server-less due to its added benefits of reduced cost and ease of deployment, and in this endeavor, AWS Lambda looked very tempting and an easy way out. We also deliberated on the deployment scenarios for our micro-services comparing Amazon ECS and EKS and finally decided to use ECS with AWS Fargate, allowing us to go server-less even for our containers.


Figure 1: IATM and AWS technical architecture

Another significant advantage with AWS Cloud is that it allowed us to achieve a high-security level by giving us tighter control over the firewall rules and the flexibility to configure multiple AWS Security Groups to define both ingress and egress firewall rules for different servers. The solution was hosted in a VPC that had both public and private subnets with relevant services hosted within them.

With more and more firms adopting IoT in their roadmap, scalability would be a major challenge and a stronger relationship with the latest architectural revolution like that of Cloud, can help take it to the next level.

How do we see the future in this direction?

A robust ecosystem of partners to cater to our hardware and cloud needs gives an anchor to our future in the AWS IoT journey. It helps reduce uncertainties and complexities involved in running an end-to-end customer solution. With more and more firms adopting AWS IoT in their roadmap, scalability would be a significant challenge and a stronger relationship with the latest architectural revolution like that of cloud, can take it to the next level.

To know more about how this can work for your organization, please contact us at iotworks@hcl.com.

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