Establishing Connectivity and Finding IoT Value in the Cloud
Many predict that the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform the world as we know it. That’s why many companies have begun developing IoT applications. However, a study by Gartner showed 60% of IoT initiatives failed to move beyond the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage. Only one in four projects are considered a complete success and fully one third fail miserably.
Key factors in IoT success include collaboration between IT and the business, as well as IoT expertise – whether in house or external. Therefore, it is important to find the right IoT platform and partner ecosystem. This is the best way for organizations to cross the chasm between IoT PoC and Proof of Value (PoV).
Find an IoT Platform
With tens billions of devices exchanging data, connectivity must be top of mind. The way to achieve that is by building an IoT infrastructure on the right foundation. That foundation should consist of a platform that can securely connect all devices, sensors and equipment and provide them with the highest levels of performance. The platform must extend from the data center to the cloud, and from mission critical servers to a multitude of devices and sensors in remote locations.
An IoT platform should comprise an open system that can easily interact with applications such as SAP, Oracle or Salesforce. It must be able to function smoothly on any cloud (Amazon, Google, Azure or any other). Organizations, their partners and members of their supply chain should be free to develop their own applications, which can integrate seamlessly with the IoT platform. Additionally, the platform should have the ability to abstract complex functions so operators can quickly review current status and take appropriate action.
But as the network will soon consist of millions of remote devices and sensors, it no longer feasible to channel all data and transactions into centralized compute resources. This traditional approach to IT architecture is doomed to failure in the IoT age. Instead, preprocessing must be done at the network edge. Summarized data can then be forward to the cloud. But edge computing must be deployed if the network is to function efficiently without bandwidth constraints or bottlenecks.
PoC to PoV
It is clear that most companies believe there is definite value to be gained by investing in IoT. Most also understand that the cloud is the best place to achieve this. Unfortunately, many have trouble moving their IoT initiatives from PoC to PoV.
Part of the reason for this is that they are forced to confront too many choices in areas of relative unfamiliarity. Do they try to build their own IoT solutions in house, buy them from another vendor or partner with others to create them? Should they use a private cloud, a public cloud or a hybrid? Is it better to stick with Amazon, Google, Microsoft or SAP? How do they secure the enterprise from so many potential avenues of attack?
What is missing in the equation for many companies is working with a vendor that can bridge the gap between IT, operational technology (OT) and industrial applications. IT vendors, for example, may know all about the cloud. However, they have little experience in the fields of automation and machinery operation. Any partner ecosystem or platform choice, therefore, had better include this factor of domain expertise.
MindSphere – the OS for the IOT
Siemens MindSphere is such a platform. It is an open, secure, cloud-based operating system (OS) for the Internet of Things. Vendors and service providers can either build their own applications to layer on top of it or purchase such applications from an open app store for industrial devices and applications.
MindSphere is equipped with application programming Interfaces (APIs) to make it easy to securely integrate with any open application and any cloud. By connecting effortlessly to the entire range of IoT devices, equipment, sensors and data repositories, MindSphere makes it possible to reap huge dividends from powerful machine learning capabilities and built-in analytics. This enables the organization to drill down into data to provide vital insight.
Dedicated IoT connectors such as Siemens MindConnect Nano and MindConnect IoT2040 establish a plug and play connection to MindSphere. They collect and buffer data from multiple field devices to forward essential data to the cloud. Similarly, MindConnect Edge Analytics simplifies the task of collecting data from IoT sensors and pre-processing in PLCs, CNC machines or other types of industrial or telecom equipment. This enables data analytics and associated services to be moved from the cloud much closer to data sources.
The end result is an IoT strategy build on a sound foundation – and the ability to finally move beyond PoC to gain real value from IoT initiatives.
Note: Article based on a presentation made by Martin Kunz, MindSphere Business Development Consultant, Siemens, at Manufacturing in America 2018Have an Inquiry for Siemens about this article? Click Here >>