Why settle for any IoT platform?

cars being built in automated factory

Security, interoperability, IT/OT and hosting crucial considerations

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the evolution of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology that facilitates the interconnection of sensors, machines, IT systems and management platforms to enable the “smart world” around us. The leading technology behind this latest industrial revolution—Industry 4.0—IoT, is signalizing major changes and disruptions in both the internet and manufacturing industries. Wireless networks, sensor technology, and cloud-based and real-time computing make it possible to collate and analyze data across machines to make processes faster and more efficient. However, installing a system to monitor machines is only a first step. To capitalize on IoT, manufacturers need to make systemic changes across the organization.

Capitalizing on IoT

The amount of data generated in manufacturing is growing twice as quickly as in any other industry. However, many enterprises are analyzing only a small fraction of their data to get meaning out of it. In order to gain meaningful information out of existing data and gain a competitive advantage, enterprises need to tap into the power of IoT with a software platform with the following characteristics:

  • Interacts with machines
  • Delivers an intuitive user experience 
  • Collects and analyzes heterogeneous data
  • Features advanced predictive analytics for better decision-making
  • Prioritizes data security

Top considerations in an IoT platform

While most businesses are generating a great amount of data, it is only when that data is funneled back into the organization and analyzed that it can contribute to valuable operational and business innovations. An IoT platform gives you this ability, providing a standardized way to harness IoT so that your business can quickly build smart apps and solutions on the platform to make data-driven decisions and extend capabilities.

These are the major features that distinguish strong platforms from other platforms:

IoT security and privacy

Safeguarding data security and privacy throughout the organization’s entire IoT ecosystem is critical to address potential risks and prevent breaches that may leak important or private data. Together with secure connectivity, enterprises must build a strategy to ensure compliance with privacy regulations.

Interoperability and standards

When building an IoT system, it is important to look for a platform that is operable, programmable and communicable across the widest range of devices and sensors in the ecosystem. Choose a system that conforms to widely-adopted, non-proprietary industry standards to ensure interoperability with the highest number of applications and hardware. This helps to future-proof your system and safeguards your investment against technology obsolescence.

Convergence of IT and OT

By carefully planning and integrating your IoT platform into your operation technology (OT), you will enable the efficient collection and analysis of a huge amount of data. An organization’s machinery, facilities, devices and sensors throughout the organization make up its OT. Contrast this with an organization’s information technology (IT), which includes all the necessary communication technologies used in the organization, such as for the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The convergence of IT and OT is important to:

Improve information security

  • Increase control over distributed operations
  • Eliminate redundant processes to reduce operating costs
  • Fully extract value from data
  • Improve overall plant safety
  • Enhance performance and reduce time to market

Hosting model

The three major options for hosting your IoT system are on-premises, private cloud and hybrid. The right hosting model depends on the security, access and performance requirements needed for your system.

Next steps in considering an IoT platform

IoT goes beyond just M2M communications, bringing a new age of automation into manufacturing and other different sectors.

The challenges enterprises face today include data and storage management, security concerns, unplanned downtime, productivity, and decision-making: all of which can be addressed with today’s IoT platforms, but only ones that are built on a stable foundation today and flexible for tomorrow’s needs.

IoT enables transparency on the shop floor by applying smart manufacturing solutions across the value chain, while enabling more practical decision-making through consistent, real-time key data. Implementing an IoT platform will help you get rid of unplanned downtime, reduce productivity loss and monitor your assets remotely. This all enables you to grow your organization to meet future requirements.

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