Internet of Things (IoT) has brought exemplary changes in the industrial vertical, business processes and software development. IoT has been gaining a lot of attention in the market these days as it is very efficient in providing quality, scalable, secure and user-friendly solutions that bring a direct positive impact on business outcomes.
Despite these advantages that IoT provides, there are still some challenges that are being faced by developers these days. Some of these challenges include,
- Right operating environment
- Choosing the right gateways
- Selecting the right IoT platform
- Cross-platform deployment
- Customer-centric applications
Right operating environment
Before commencing the IoT development process, considering all the technical factors that can have an impact on the development is a good idea. Unlike desktops, IoT devices are considerably less powerful and smaller in size. So it is important to choose the right operating environment that is compatible with the capabilities and functionalities of the IoT device and vice-versa.
Among the most commonly used operating systems like Windows, Mac and Linux, Linux is known to be the most developer-friendly OS which is also suitable for IoT devices. For very small IoT devices, especially sensors that are used only to sense and relay data, barebone firmware without an operating system could be a better choice.
Choosing the right gateways
The entire IoT system depends on connected devices or sensors where machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is key to realize the intended benefits. Gateways act as the connecting medium between these devices. The connectivity protocols such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LoRa and NBIoT, etc… vary with devices and the use case. The right protocol which meets the needs of the use case and also feasible enough to provide a solution must be selected. Also choosing the right gateway enables safety, privacy and reliable communication between the devices.
The IoT gateway market is expected to grow at a rate of 15.3% from 2021 to 2028.
Selecting the right IoT platform
Internet of things (IoT) is a network of various devices that are connected with one another and collect massive amounts of data. An IoT platform acts as a middleware between the layer of connected devices and IoT gateways. IoT platforms ensure if all of the devices in the network are connected to make sure that there is an uninterrupted flow of communication between the devices. There are several companies in the IoT marketplace that offer insights in finding the right business strategy, project cost estimation tools that help in determining the amount of investment and also make it easy to request proposals for IoT product development that can be used to find the right business partner. One such company is Ioterra which provides a shortlist of IoT platforms for your business based on your needs and assists in finding the right development partner to build custom IoT solutions.
The right IoT platform should offer uninterrupted connectivity, security, scalability while also making sure that it can be easily integrated and used. Some of the other features that an IoT platform should provide are that it should support various IoT data protocols like REST APIs, MQTT, COAP, gateway hardware with various wireless protocol options such as WiFi, LoRa, etc.. and should possess remote device management capabilities. Moreover, an IoT platform should enable an inbuilt analytics engine and should be able to integrate third-party APIs.
IoT is a collection of connected devices, hence it becomes vulnerable to cyberthreats and cyberattacks. So eventually, if one device is hacked into, it may spread into the entire network of devices. As technology keeps improving, the methods to provide security has to be modified accordingly. Some of the most common ways of providing security are implementing zero-trust security models, providing end-end encryption between end-users and the machine and SSL encryption.
According to Forbes, the global security market is expected to reach $270 billion by 2026 and 77% of the companies will be spending on externally managed security services. Regular security updates should be a part of the IoT platform package that you choose.
Different IoT devices have different architecture, protocols and differ in the way they function. For these devices to co-exist in an environment and function efficiently, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has come up with universal standards and protocols for cross-platform deployment. The purpose of the cross-platform deployment is to ensure that the product works exactly as intended in various digital environments. For instance, users use different kinds of OS like Windows, Mac and Linux and also various devices like mobile phones, computers and tablets. A product should typically be capable of functioning efficiently in all of the above-mentioned environments in order to gain a lot of attention in the market.
Customer engagement is the key factor in running a successful business. So, developing a product that is user-friendly and efficient is important. With the help of developers and designers, developing a product that ensures security, effortless authentication and personalization according to the user’s needs and a unified environment helps in gaining a reputation and trust towards your product. Understanding the needs of your users can assist in increasing operational efficiency such as modifying the existing product’s features based on customer feedback. The right customer-centric application helps in retaining the existing customers and also in gaining new customers which in turn keeps the business up and running.
Opportunities in IoT product development
The technologies used in IoT and the applications of IoT in various verticals keep evolving constantly. This creates a wide range of opportunities in predictive maintenance, blockchain, data processing and data analytics. This means that there is a consultative approach needed for enterprises to rely upon, before they venture into creating solutions around IoT, but encompassing its wide array of features and applicable use cases. Here is where post-covid IoT development research can deliver a consultative approach in bringing your solutions to fruition in an ever-changing landscape that is IoT.
According to a study, IoT offers a potential economic impact of $4 trillion to $7 trillion in 2025.
Predictive maintenance is used in identifying the problem before it could occur by analyzing the data collected from the sensors. This method is widely used in large-scale manufacturing industries where maintaining each machine becomes a laborious task.
Utility suppliers implement predictive maintenance in their business so foresee early warnings of supply and demand issues and address this issue before the occurrence of a material outage.
The predictive maintenance market has been growing at a rate of 28.9% and is expected to reach $21.20 billion by 2027.
The most reliable method of security these days is blockchain. Blockchain allows a community of users to record and share data and information. Blockchain allows a distributed ledger that enables security and scalability. By implementing blockchain, a decentralized DLT in IoT, the data transaction between the devices are encrypted which prevents the data from cyberthreats. Also, blockchain enables smart contracts, which are helpful in understanding the business agreements, terms and conditions and eliminates the monotonous paperwork. Since smart contracts work only if the given conditions are met, there is no need for involving third parties to over-look the contract.
Blockchain lays the foundation for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero which are end-end online monetization systems that work in a decentralized manner.
IoT devices usually have limited processing capability as they run on battery power. This results in difficulty in the data processing. With the help of edge computing, data processing can be made efficient and cost-effective. Edge computing also enables data processes between devices and sends only the result to the cloud without transferring the data to a data center hence it requires only a less amount of data transmission bandwidth. Edge computing when implemented alongside ML engines, enables the creation of machines that can understand, detect and learn things without the need for complex programming while replacing the older methods where machines had to be constantly adjusted based on the needs and quality of the product.
Edge computing helps to process and store data closer to the machines to reduce latency. Machine status monitoring and data analysis can be done in real-time without any delay in transferring data.
IoT devices generate massive amounts of data and IoT platforms analyze it. These analyzed data can be used in optimizing and automating processes with the help of AI/ML, customer engagement and can simplify the workload of employees. In other words, using data analysis, raw data can be organized, understood and can be structured to get useful insights and to arrive at a solution.
AI/ML is vastly used in e-commerce to read user’s behaviors and in personalizing the data based on previous activities. This method has been very useful in maintaining customer engagement while achieving market growth.
According to Statista, the global market for Internet of Things (IoT) end-user solutions is forecasted to reach $1.6 trillion by 2025.
IoT has the potential to offer many opportunities in the future. Keeping IoT as a foundation, industries will be adopting agile methodologies and AI/ML in automating business processes to greatly scale-up the business while also providing customer satisfaction.
: Yash Mehta
is an internationally recognized IoT, M2M and Big Data technology expert. He has written a number of widely acknowledged articles on Data Science, IoT, Business Innovation, Cognitive intelligence. His articles have been featured in the most authoritative publications and awarded as one of the most innovative and influential works in the connected technology industry by IBM and Cisco IoT department. He heads Intellectus (thought-leadership platform for experts).
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