The last few months have seen a surge in programs beyond remote services and predictive maintenance. Customers are looking now on improving their end customer experience and outcome by leveraging IoT and are focusing on complete Value chain integration and Supply chain integration based on Sensors, Connectivity, Analytics and Service Aggregation.Customers are looking now on improving their end customer experience and outcome by leveraging IoT and are focusing on complete Value chain integration and Supply chain integration based on Sensors, Connectivity, Analytics and Service AggregationTo build new outcome-driven use cases rapidly, it is important to have an architecture that is agile, scalable, flexible, and distributed. The basic plumbing services required to make this happen need to be commoditized. Some of the areas of recent advancements in the architecture are captured below:
- When it comes to data collection, there is a renewed interest in data loggers. The idea is to use them as a data collection equipment. Data loggers provide minimum functionalities and interfaces, making them secure. Tagging solutions like beacons and RFID are being leveraged increasingly for new use cases like tracking and tracing Materials, Products and Tools.
- The software stack on the edge has advanced significantly in the past few months. With all major IoT providers offering their own edge framework, edge management is being made simpler and easier. The analytics framework integration at the edge is helping bring processing closer to the device.
- The transport layer handling Device to Cloud and Cloud to Device communication is becoming commoditized. All major cloud IoT platforms now have matured offerings, enabling easy bidirectional connectivity to the devices on the field.
- Device management is also in the path of becoming commoditized, capabilities like device lifecycle management remote software upgrade all of them becoming standard services in various IoT platforms.
- Advancement in server-less and event-driven technologies is helping architects build complete flexible systems. This has also enabled building incremental business value without impacting other parts of the system. We believe that event-driven architectures will become a fundamental part of all IoT solutions in another six months.
- Device data modeling still lacks a common manufacturing standard. The most popular model currently available in the market is OPC information modeling framework.
- There is still no unified industry-wide security architecture. The general trend is to make the devices closer to the machines and have a standardized gateway platform that can be managed by enterprise IT. Some of our customers are concerned on the growing number of Raspberry Pis and other IP-enabled devices on their network. They are looking at isolating and protecting them at the network layer. This is where best practices for an enterprise network security architecture for IoT devices can make a lot of difference.
- Integration with enterprise systems and processes is becoming key to the effectiveness of IoT programs. Systems handling Asset management, material management, supply chain management, and field support are key applications that are getting integrated. The event-driven architecture patterns are increasingly getting leveraged in these areas.
- IoT is becoming a key driver for other for new technology adoption like Blockchain. For use cases like product traceability, it is important to identify physical objects in the digital world and track their location and integrity. This is where IoT solutions are a significant enabler.
- Today, edge management is becoming simpler thanks to IoT console and the end-point alerts that can be managed on the cloud. The run is converging to an integrated service support model where the cloud and edge are being managed with a matured ITSM process in a single console.
In summary, we are seeing a significant progress towards a hyper-distributed, agile IoT architecture with connectivity and device management getting commoditized by vendors.