Businesses across every industry are undergoing a seismic transformation fueled by the capabilities enabled by IoT technologies. However, many organizations are struggling with the complex IoT ecosystem, resulting in downstream challenges associated with building, deploying, and maintaining effective IoT solutions that deliver business results.
To help organizations tackle these challenges, we have initiated a series of Q&A sessions with KORE’s IoT experts on how to maximize return on IoT investments and ultimately transform business performance. This blog provides a summary of our Q&A session with Bill Kramer, Executive Vice President, IoT Solutions and Sunder Somasundaram, Senior Vice President, Pre-Sales and Solution Architecture.
Getting Started with IoT Solutions and Solution Architecture
The first step in a successful IoT deployment is determining your organization’s business objectives. Too often, companies get very excited about the potential of IoT, but don’t tie their projects to desired business outcomes.
Once your organization’s IoT readiness has been assessed, the strategic planning process begins. It is critical for businesses to closely examine the additional IoT management capabilities that may apply to their IoT initiatives – including application management and DaaS, reporting and analytics, connectivity and carrier management, network and security management, endpoint lifecycle management, and managed services.
Constructing an IoT Solution Architecture
IoT solution architectures are more complex than most traditional IT projects. These architectures can be viewed from a logical OSI stack perspective or an architectural end-to-end perspective. Both are relevant, and it is useful to look at them together to better assess your solution requirements.
From a stack perspective, an IoT solution is like a three-layer cake. At the bottom is the connectivity, for which there is a plethora of options, depending on the business use case. The next layer up is comprised of two components: device management and the management platform. The devices and endpoints connect into the network, and the platform manages the devices and processes the data. The top layer includes the applications and data visualization, which deliver the insights that result in business value.
From an architectural end-to-end perspective, an IoT solution begins with an endpoint device, such as a sensor that collects data. That data is transmitted through some mode of network connectivity. These components are managed by a platform, or multiple platforms, that handle connectivity management, device management, application development, security, and other functions. The data is then stored in either a cloud or hosted data center, where it can produce analytics or feed ERP systems.
Addressing Global Complexities
Challenges to consider with global deployments include IoT device certifications and connectivity across different regional networks and carriers. For example, a global solution might need to work on a 2G network in Europe, a 3G network in LATAM, and an LTE network in North America. If the device were transported across any one of those networks, it would need to work seamlessly without any modifications to the device itself. Issues include everything from integration to multi-carrier billing and provisioning processes.
In this example, your organization could deploy one single - potentially expensive - device that provides seamless transition capabilities, or utilize multiple devices, each specific to a given region, as a more cost-effective option. This is where IoT expertise is essential. It is important to understand these complexities and how they translate to costs.
One significant obstacle we continually hear from customers is the need to securely manage IoT solutions as they scale. There are many problematic stories regarding inadequate security measures, such as sensor failures, bot attacks and camera hacks. Enterprises that deploy IoT devices into their customers’ premises are responsible for ensuring that the device does not become a vulnerability for the end user. This end-to-end security is a key challenge for the industry overall, but especially for large-scale deployments.
In many cases, businesses overcome these obstacles by partnering with an independent, expert IoT advisor that can help map the best technologies and strategies to business requirements. Seek a trusted, neutral and experienced partner with demonstrated IoT knowledge that delivers complete, global IoT management capabilities to maximize returns on IoT investments. An ideal partner will have the deployment agility to guide the solution design process, accelerate deployment schedules, and solve the pain of multiple contracts with individual MNOs/carriers, hardware/device vendors, as well as application enablement and service providers.
In sum, ROI is not achieved until the IoT solution is in the field and the intended business transformation occurs. Determine business objectives first, then choose the right technology for the processes and goals to achieve the desired results.
To learn more about building a successful IoT solution from the ground up, including information regarding device certification, network selection, and endpoint security, reach out to KORE today.