How do in-house and external IoT development co-exist?

Enterprise are moving IoT implementations in-house. Why is this happening, how do you make the decision, and how do you do this successfully?

As enterprises develop IoT solutions that combine elements of their enterprise architecture and IoT devices, they realize the need to diversify IoT development. Many enterprises begin with off-the-shelf solutions from external IoT vendors. As enterprises realize the value of the data harvested from IoT devices, they are becoming aware of their unique competitive advantage.

 

“This is the only way to build unique competitive advantage”

Data from IoT devices are the new oil. The hidden value in the data generated from your products and your processes could be your biggest competitive advantage in the coming decade. Augmenting off the shelf solutions with in-house IoT development may be necessary for three reasons.

  1. In house solutions can be as flexible as you need them. The ability to integrate your IoT solutions with your business operations as frequently as your business needs change can be a tremendous competitive advantage.

  2. Proprietary data remain in house. The integration of in-house development for proprietary processes and data with off-the shelf solutions will protect vital information and increase time to value.

  3. Significant product and process enhancements are developed in house. As data is mined, businesses become aware of competitive advantages available when products and processes are restructured or enhanced. Retaining these proprietary advantages can lead to significant business transformations.

How do you determine if you should consider bringing IoT in-house for your organization? The main criterion is whether a particular IoT function will bring your business unique competitive advantages. These unique competitive advantages may be reflected in your products, your operations, or your business model.

Example 1: Unique Data

An enterprise makes machines that could benefit from vibration monitoring. Vibration monitoring is already a commonly used technology today. In-house integration wouldn't bring any competitive advantage if these vibration signatures are easy to detect. However, if these machines have unique signatures that apply only to these machines, or if the signature quality improves with the number of machines in the field, then there is a strong case to keep IoT in-house.

Example 2: Unique Processes

An enterprise makes machines for manufacturing a particular type of packaging material. They discovered that they could patent a process in which they use a sensor to detect the quality of the packaging material and use that information to improve the manufacturing in real-time. This process uses machine learning and its performance improves as more data are collected. Hence, this is a strong case for keeping the development in-house.

Unfortunately, for some businesses the answer is not immediately apparent. This is because the transformational impact of IoT is not always known ahead of time. IoT adoption is a multi-phased process and the true impact often don't become clear until in later adoption stages. Our blog article, “Successful IoT Adoption Patterns”, explains the IoT adoption process. In general, IoT capability will be a main differentiation driver for many businesses and the race has already begun.



How to Move IoT In-House

Many enterprises are just beginning with the development of IoT solutions. For many businesses, COVID-19 may accelerate IoT adoption, particularly in areas of Industrial Automation, hazardous applications or protecting field workers. So how do enterprises tackle the challenges of accelerating IoT adoption?

Is an in-house team realistic?

For an enterprise with the prowess, it could build the entire IoT team in-house. In reality, only a small number of enterprises take this approach. This is because the field of IoT changes very quickly. IoT is not a technology by itself - it is a carrier of many technologies including sensors, embedded systems, edge computing, communication, security, data analytics, AI, cloud front-end and back-end, etc. It takes a vast amount of resources to build complete IoT solutions and stay ahead of the technology curve.

The majority of enterprises work with one or more technology partners. The job of technology partners is to provide a cutting-edge technology platform, and the purpose of the enterprises is to focus on their core competencies. Together, it is possible for enterprises to work only on the solutions that directly enhance their core competencies, and leave the infrastructure technology development to their partners.

Productive data science with IoT systems

For most enterprises, the most important technology to own in-house is data science. IoT is ultimately about extracting value out of the data collected in physical processes, and this value is what the enterprises want to own. This is about extracting the values inside their data, not about the actual data science tools, which can come from technology partners. Hiring data scientists to work on data analytics in-house should be a high priority for all enterprises today.

To ensure optimal productivity on data science, the enterprise needs a flexible and adaptable IoT system. This can be accomplished by using an IoT integration platform from a technology partner. This platform needs to offer powerful data analytics capabilities both at the edge and in the cloud; easily integrate in-house solutions with external and enterprise solutions; and it needs to be very easy to use by in-house data scientists and IT teams. This type of IoT integration platform is called an IoT Design Automation (IDA) platform.

IoT design automation is about separating IoT application development from IoT technology infrastructure. This enables data scientists and IT engineers to build customer-specific applications on top of a transparent IoT technology framework. This is the best choice for enterprises whose value is in the data, and not in the IoT technology framework itself.

Leading IoT Design Automation

Prescient IDA is a leading IoT design automation platform. It is designed to enable enterprises to build powerful IoT solutions in-house without IoT technology complexity. It includes the following key features:

  • Ease of use. Industry’s first platform to enable data scientists and IT engineers to easily build complete IoT solutions using low-code distributed programming technology.

  • Security. Advanced end-to-end security with content-based monitoring and full audit trail offers unparalleled control and security, particularly for the last mile of IoT solutions.

  • Performance. State-of-the art IoT technology framework maximizes performance and scalability and minimizes latency.

  • Standardization. Open and standardized technology framework with strong ecosystem support provides choice and flexibility for customers.

 

About Prescient Devices

The mission of Prescient Devices is to help customers achieve transformational IoT adoption. Our IoT Design Automation platform enables agile development of IoT projects without the IoT technology complexity barrier.

 

References

[1] “Beyond Proofs of Concept: Scaling the Industrial IoT”, Bain & Company, https://www.bain.com/insights/beyond-proofs-of-concept-scaling-the-industrial-iot/