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Digital Transformation in a Nutshell (1/3): Answering Essential Questions

Digital Transformation in a Nutshell (1/3): Answering Essential Questions

Did you know that two out of three business leaders believe they have barely scratched the surface of what Internet of Things technologies can do for their business?

The reality is that the IoT has entered every cell of the business ecosystem and become an imperative. Businesses that realise its tremendous value will breathe new life into their products and processes. On the other hand, companies that do not embrace it will struggle to keep pace with their competition. This message comes through loud and clear from every article, panel discussion, and every study.

But, where and how should you start this journey?

The first in a three-part series, this article answers some of the essential questions you will come across when starting your digital transformation journey.

What are the components of an IoT solution?

Generally speaking, IoT solutions are complex. They include four separate layers, usually covered by different vendors.

  • First, there are different kinds of HARDWARE that need a way to send data to the Cloud and receive commands securely.
  • This is done through the use of modern CONNECTIVITY networks, like 3G, 4G, WiFi, or LoRa, NB-IoT and Sigfox. However, some systems are not designed to share data (non-IP-enabled devices and legacy hardware). In those cases, there is an intermediate step between hardware and the rest of the solution, such as a gateway or a bridge device.
  • Then, you need to develop end-user APPLICATIONS, like web and mobile apps, which enable you to interact with the IoT system, use all collected data and act upon it.
  • And finally, to make it all work, you need a core layer that manages all the interactions between the hardware and the application layers. The world calls this layer an IOT PLATFORM. For many IoT systems, the heart, or rather, the brain is in the Cloud. Activities like data storage, processing and aggregation take place here rather than on the device itself. IoT platform enables you to manage your devices, users and data, as well as monitor and automate processes.

IoT Layers

Do you have all the skills needed to develop, maintain and support IoT solution in-house?

Building a custom IoT solution from scratch can last up to 36 months.

The IoT project requires more experts in your technical team - which means investing more money into the HR and the technology.

Additionally, in a specific ecosystem, the IoT platform would need new features frequently, which leads to many changes, keeping up with the technology updates, learning new communication protocols, tools and databases.

So, instead of focusing the efforts on what really matters, your team will invest much of its knowledge, time and resources in reinventing the wheel.

IoT platform represents around 80% of software every IoT solution needs. So, using an already developed one simplifies development as it solves a lot of complexities that you normally deal with while building an IoT solution. It’s a key tool for IoT developers and a huge time saver, allowing you to focus on your core business. Plus, it makes sure your applications are well-tested, more stable and easier to extend.

How can you choose the right IoT platform?

Evaluating the performance of 500 IoT platforms is tedious, demanding and money-draining process.

To make things worse, 99% of IoT platforms are Platform as a Service, and most of them are developed to work with just one type of hardware or service.

When you start going through them, you usually face many different questions:

  • How much does it cost now? And if you scale? It is really difficult to estimate daily and yearly expenses as costs usually include payment per functionality, connected device, added user, sent message or API request.
  • Where are they storing data and is it secure?
  • Will you be able to comply with GDPR requirements?
  • Can you rely on their shared support?

In the second part of this series, we will provide you with a deeper insight into how WolkAbout can help you face these challenges and start your digital transformation journey as smoothly as possible.

Stay tuned!

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