2016 is quickly becoming the year that IoT solutions and deployments are moving from the “what IoT CAN do” message, to the “what IoT IS DOING” message.
However, there’s still a large number of unknowns, risks and variables to introducing an IoT solution to your enterprise. The IoT space is quickly evolving from concept to deliverable, yet the various pathways to achieving a successful outcome are also evolving.
Given this environment, we think that one of the pathways that enterprise can follow to reduce some of these risks is to tackle IoT solution development through an integration model. Cloud is now a well established foundation in many companies, having gone through its own period of trial and acceptance, and has given the market a proven model for integrating components to build a solution, rather than being locked into another end-application.
Here are three reasons why we think taking an integration path to IoT solutions makes sense.
1. Vendor choice
We’ve seen over recent years a move away from single vendor solutions in enterprise. Sure, there are still large incumbents in many areas of IT within an organisation, but many of the pointed applications and customer solutions that are being delivered consist of components from various suppliers. Customers can now choose from best-of-breed solutions to address their business and product requirements, and the drive towards cloud and API integration has made this very technically achievable. In an IoT setting, this means looking at who provides the most suitable hardware, gateways, device management, analytics, data visualisation, AI services and more.
We think as companies explore their options for IoT solutions, being able to combine offerings from the best solution providers and product vendors on the market will be an attractive alternative to having to choose an “end-to-end” solution in many situations.
2. Flexibility in your solution stack
With IoT still being a relatively new addition to an organisations IT strategy, having some room to move in building, testing, deploying and iterating on a solution can be a valuable asset. Early investment on a solution that ends up locking a customer into a solution that doesn’t grow with or allow for changing requirements can become a burden and quickly cast a negative shadow across the project and future investment.
By taking an integration approach, a company can try different tools before settling on the right one, or can swap out non-performing components as they asses the solution deliverables over time. With Reekoh this is as simple as exchanging one plugin for another in an already defined workflow, or even setting up multiple workflows (using the same incoming device data) to test different solution components before deciding to go with a particular selection (this includes hardware AND software components in the solution stack).
3. Leverage existing investment in cloud
Given the solid, foundational position that “cloud” now has in large organisations, there is often significant existing investment that has been made around certain tools or platforms. It makes sense, both from a financial and operational perspective, that organisations (as well as external solution providers and integrators who hold the account) are always looking for ways to maximise and leverage that investment.
Whether it be CRM, ERP, service management, marketing automation, analytics or system monitoring, we see incredible value in delivering IoT integration into products that organisations don’t need to duplicate or staff to be re-trained on. This is the value that Reekoh delivers through its App Integration Platform.
This approach is delivering value to not just the end-customer, but also to the system integrators and solution providers who service these organisations already. Reekoh is a tool that helps to build deeper engagements and relationships with their customers, who are seeking out the advice of trusted suppliers who have helped them transition to the cloud and now need an approach to transitioning into benefiting from the Internet of Things.
We think the integration approach is something that will help speed the “what IoT IS DOING” message very quickly.