Davra Storms '19 MQ
As an enterprise decision-maker, you’re no stranger to taking on tough questions. After all, the industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, helps you solve some of the most pertinent riddles — if only you didn’t have to worry about fickle human opinions. When your business partners declare their undying passion for their favorite IoT platforms, convincing them otherwise can feel like fighting a doomed battle.
Equipping yourself with the facts makes it a lot easier to break through people’s misconceptions and deep-seated preferences. Tired of bashing your head against the ramparts of user stubbornness? Here are some tips on guiding stakeholders, partners and coworkers away from the realms of DIY IIoT platforms and towards the safe harbor of proven solutions.
Practicing some intentional goal-oriented thinking is one of the easiest ways to quickly determine whether your current IoT Platform is justifiable. It can also aid your attempts to persuade hard-headed users that there’s a better alternative.
You may need to go beyond high-profile, superficial goals and look at the broader picture to help others see the light. Imagine that your refinery wanted to use smarter surveillance to improve safety routing around core areas. A hacked-together, homebrewed platform might accomplish such an objective given sufficient time and margin for error, but there’s no guarantee that it would do so in an optimal fashion — or perform consistently in emergencies.
Minor inefficiencies breed major cashflow losses, so tighten up your justifications and standards for using the Internet of Things. Your IoT Platform shouldn’t just help you realize a few specific business goals here and there. It also needs to achieve the vital task of continuously improving itself so that it automatically minimizes inherent overhead.
Nowadays, almost anyone can build a basic working network. It’s also not too hard to add controllers that keep production lines moving or sensors that enhance environmental conditions in manufacturing facilities. You might even create your own apps and integrated software to run it all.
This form of hands-on computing is nothing if not proactive. In many cases, it even proves essential in implementing solutions to unsolved problems. Unfortunately, it lacks the finesse of IIoT systems built around more robust frameworks.
Home-baked IoT Platforms run into major challenges when it comes to producing reliable quantitative feedback on an intensive schedule. Although they’re great for realizing short-term qualitative improvements, their on-the-fly, nonuniform backends make it harder to:
• Rapidly put large volumes of data together in ways that make sense at a glance.
• Train algorithms to filter and organize information based on semantic context without needing human intervention, and
• Support top-down decision-making processes, uniform system updates and consistent operations across a wide range of deployments.
Such weaknesses may prove fatal for industrial producers and service companies that want to expand. For instance, even though your partners might prefer their own IoT Platform because they’re used to it, the extra time they waste on its custom workflows and unique foibles is poison to your bottom line. You have to ask yourself whether such losses are worth their minimal gains and put the data forward in a way that lets anyone draw the obvious conclusion.
It’s not always easy to pin down how companies and other organizations use the Internet of Things. For one thing, many of the solutions that power enterprises entail bespoke system architectures and unique usage cases that can be hard to track — let alone quantify in universally applicable ROI terms. Such ambiguity is part of why people turn to the IIoT in the first place, but it can also make it hard to win people to your side when change is long overdue.
Where can you turn for a less spotty picture of what your organization should expect from its Internet of Things? Examining recent industry standards may be a good start.
Gartner’s 2019 Magic Quadrant for Industrial IoT Platforms revealed some key aspects of how leading organizations are using distributed computing in the real world. Although each company is different, your competitors are actively using enterprise-grade platforms to:
• Monitor multiple endpoints and event streams seamlessly
• Track the flow of data as well as its historical lineage,
• Parse raw logs from hundreds of sensors simultaneously regardless of whether they all use the same formats or standards,
• Analyze information in the cloud as well as in edge networks,
• Reduce the lead time required to develop and deploy new business systems,
• Manage devices and resources, including sensors, controllers and gateway hardware, remotely,
•Institute governance frameworks to keep data, users, stakeholders and consumers safe, and
• Reduce the costs of deriving insights from existing IIoT network architectures.
Can your IOT Platform do all of that and more? If your platform falls short, then your business or organization won’t be far behind. Keeping up with your competitors is far more straightforward when you share a level playing field.
One of the biggest misconceptions about transitioning from one IOT Platform to another is that doing so involves a loss of core functionality. This notion may seem understandable among professional computer users who’ve spent years getting indoctrinated into various cults of vendor loyalty, but it doesn’t always hold true.
Today’s modern, deployment-ready IoT systems can tackle everything that their hacky predecessors could. Most even go a few steps further in terms of usability, which offers substantial benefits for business-oriented workflows. For instance, industrial deployments cater to the unique needs of their diverse users, such as multinational manufacturing enterprises, public infrastructure providers and medical caregivers, by including visualization toolsets, rule engines, dashboards and machine-learning features commonly leveraged in these fields.
Remember that many IIoT solutions support building atop existing deployments instead of tossing them out with the bathwater. For instance, with the right upgrades, you’ll still be able to use your current hardware, networks and favorite devices. The main difference is that you’ll no longer need to work quite as hard to ensure that all the pieces play together nicely.
Convincing professionals that they could do better with improved tools is only half the battle. You also have to show them how easy it is to make the big leap. This process proves far less contentious when you pick solutions that don’t take long to get up and running.
The industrial IoT Platform playing field abounds with options. Which IoT platform will become your organization’s savior in the neverending fight to put data to good use? It may be simpler to narrow things down when you focus on the overarching objectives, such as deriving actionable operating insights, realizing enhanced ROI and continuously combatting inefficiencies. By focusing on concrete objectives and broad organizational goals from the start, you can make a choice informed by relevant business concerns and more realistic perspectives — instead of hurriedly rushing to build a platform that only solves a few specific problems.
Finding an industrial IoT Platform is easy. Finding an effective one is far harder unless you look to established leaders in servicing your niche. Learn how Davra’s Magic Quadrant-approved industrial IoT platform is redefining the way your field does business today.
Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO
Davra Storms '19 MQ
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