Low-code Distributed Programming Enables Agile IoT Integration

With the fast-paced competition today, a low-code distributed programming framework simplifies and accelerates this process to advance IT solutions alongside their evolving businesses.

IoT integration builds and manages IoT solutions in an existing IT infrastructure. For most businesses, this can be a very complex, disparate, and time-consuming process. With the fast-paced competition today, a low-code distributed programming framework simplifies and accelerates this process to advance IoT solutions alongside their evolving businesses.

A Disparate IoT System Integration

The challenge of IoT integration is mainly due to the disparate technology layers that make up an IoT system. At a minimum, IoT systems include a variety of the following components:

 

Icons displaying edge hardware, edge software, cloud backend and cloud frontend

 

  • Edge hardware: edge computers, sensors, A/V, data acquisition instruments, and industrial equipment.
  • Edge software: embedded edge computer OS, embedded edge computer application, drivers for sensors and peripherals.
  • Cloud backend: data aggregation, analytics, and storage.
  • Cloud frontend: dashboard for visualizing actionable data insights.

 

The current system where firewalls often disconnect edge devices from cloud analytics

 

Today’s IoT system integration process requires the implementation and management of many disparate components. Data acquisition drivers, edge applications, cloud backend and frontend, etc., require separate codebases and in most cases, different application development frameworks. Furthermore, enterprises don’t just adopt one IoT application. They adopt many applications over time, so the codebases will multiply and eventually become unmanageable.

A major challenge to most IT and system integration teams is working with edge devices. They need to work with Software Development Kits (SDKs) in an embedded programming environment, and they often need to integrate unfamiliar sensors, data acquisition cards, and network interfaces. This is called the “last-mile” problem and it is one of the biggest challenges in IoT.

 

Low-code Distributed Programming

Low-code distributed programming enables enterprise IT teams, system integrators, and solution makers to simplify the IoT system integration process. It enables users to build and manage complete IoT solutions in a unified design framework without requiring IoT technology expertise.

 

What Prescient Designer does differently

 

In this example, Prescient Designer implements a low-code distributed IoT application with two edge devices, a server, a dashboard, and a database. The two edge devices are acquiring and processing data at the edge. The processed data is then sent to the server to be aggregated for further analytics. The resulting data stream is sent to the database for storage, and actionable insights are displayed on the dashboard.

 

Simplifying Programming and Management

Prescient Designer simplifies programming and management by incorporating the entire IoT application in one unified program, regardless of how disparate the system is physically distributed. Users can continue developing their IoT application without ever needing to login to any of their devices. This simplification also helps users focus on data analysis and data flow, rather than low-level IoT technology development.

 

An example of low-code being used in Prescient Designer

 

Low-code, not low-level

Notice how each device application is implemented in low-code, meaning using visual modules and wires on a graphical user interface. Low-code programming has received a lot of attention in recent years. Compared to traditional software application development, low-code programming offers many benefits:

  • Reduce time-to-market. Users can build applications quickly, which means reduced development time. This is especially important in IoT because IoT technology development and field testing often take years.

  • Reduced complexity. Users can build applications easily, which means no advanced IoT technology expertise or training is required.

  • Improved performance. Given a solid low-code programming framework, applications built inside it will have better quality and reliability than a solution built from scratch for most IT and system integration teams.

  • Standardization. If the low-code programming framework is a popular ecosystem, customers will find many resources to help support their development.

  • Transparency. Low-code programs are often organized in a modular and hierarchical structure. This makes it easier to understand the programs and to share solution modules with team members.

 

Not all low-code frameworks are created equal

A good low-code framework should be flexible and transparent, and should offer capabilities for both novice and advanced users. For example, Prescient Designer offers three programming methods to support different needs and skill levels:

  • No-code: drag-and-drop pre-qualified modules to build applications quickly;
  • Low-code: simple text programming in a sandboxed environment;
  • Software development: develop solution modules in full Javascript and HTML.

 

Supporting IoT for the long-run

By combining low-code and distributed programming, users can easily build and manage complete IoT applications containing disparate devices. This enables agility, flexibility, and adaptability. These are essential requirements for organizations to support IoT adoption for the long run.