There is a new era in computing technology – the Internet of Things (IoT).
Non-connected devices are becoming intelligent through the ever decreasing costs of embedded processors, wired and wireless communication protocols, cost-effective embedded sensors and the abundance and power of cloud computing.
The topology is literally billions (or trillions in a decade or two by some estimations) of low-cost devices with which the world interacts everyday interfacing to the infinitely more capable, scalable, analytics driven cloud where data intelligence is king and economic value can be realized.
Why this is important for your business
Implications for some businesses are more obvious than others. Most pundits agree that the IoT market will dwarf any other market and it will impact your business in one way or another. Think about it for a moment, the most pervasive consumer device in developed economies around the world is the mobile phone. Now consider your own household – how many mobile devices does your household own? Then think about all the windows, doors, outlets, appliances, lights, HVAC, smoke alarms, etc… and imagine them being “smart” and connected. It doesn’t take much mental math to see the trajectory of the trend lines.
As business leaders, it is imperative that we anticipate the implications for our organizations and extract as much value as we can going forward.
An IOT Case Study
A specific Hallsten Innovations client is an industrial focused, Midwest (USA) Fortune 1000 company with products installed in industrial complexes all over the world. They had previously designed a wireless based sensor device which monitors their product’s health in industrial settings and allows them to post-process analytical reports to their customers to highlight continuous improvements and best practices related to their products. Unfortunately, data gathering was a very tedious process requiring a company technician to be on-site, chase down the equipment, and directly pull the needed data.
The client was in need of an automated, real-time means to retrieve data from varied facilities and upload it to the cloud – a more accessible and lower cost structure. They needed to talk to their custom wireless sensors already developed and installed in the field, and the project needed to hit certain timeline and budgetary constraints.
After an initial consultation, Hallsten Innovations visited an end client with installed sensor systems, talked to subject matter experts within the both organizations, and proposed a multi-faceted solution that met both client needs, and end-client requirements.
The engineered IoT architecture solution took the form of the diagram below:
The gateway/router is implemented with a modern ARM® Cortex-A8 processor and an embedded Linux® operating system utilizing robust security mechanisms. The gateway/router communicates to the cloud at the appropriate sync intervals via either Ethernet or Cellular communications for double redundancy. The software of the gateway/router is updated remotely. The propriety sensor datasets are gathered wirelessly by the nodes which are controlled by the gateway/router over a wired protocol.
The cited project is just now nearing completion and has been in beta for several months. The client is thrilled and is contemplating other revenue streams that can be leveraged with the scalable data collection system.
We are also starting to discuss a new generation of custom wireless sensors with vastly improved analytics.
The IoT space is a very fast, dynamically growing market. It is in the best interest of business leaders to anticipate the growing market implications on their organization and extract as much value as possible. An organization’s IoT projects and their associated time-to-market factors could be the difference between a first market mover advantage or missing a market opportunity window.
Said in another way, pick the wrong custom design IoT partner and it could be disastrous!