IoT: Procuring the right software

Before manufacturers conceive of new analytical insights, optimized factory production and innovations capable of reshaping business goals, they should shift priorities toward obtaining the appropriate Internet of Things platforms. 

Cost, need and ROI 

Conducting a spend analysis on how much money a production company is likely to invest in IoT is a good first step for these organizations to take. In addition, it's imperative that these companies carry out the following activities:

  • Compare and contrast provisions from technology enterprises offering solutions applicable to IoT
  • Initiate thorough background checks pertaining to on-demand support and security protocols
  • Figure out how scalable and adaptable solutions are to more data, new applications and complex software
  • Interview users to identify key pain points

What's needed from professionals? 

In regard to the people responsible for administrating an IoT system, companies can either:

  • Hire personnel knowledgeable of such architectures
  • Train existing staff on the technology's infrastructure

What such skill sets are going to be required? According to Electronic Design, Cisco recently presented a graph pertaining to IoT's influence on contemporary enterprise needs at the Internet of Things Developers Conference, held in Santa Clara, California, in early May.

The company discovered that businesses are most likely to use "fog computing," a multi-layered implementation that operates IoT frameworks on-premise while providing network support through cloud technology. Therefore, vendor resource management tools should be geared toward looking for IT experts knowledgeable of:

  • Allocating tasks to smart objects
  • Storing and processing information on virtual environments
  • Optimizing response time to new data input by the fog network

Getting a handle on security 

Suppose a factory implements 2,000 smart sensors. At first glance, this doesn't seem too intimidating given the amount of storage a cloud environment can handle (virtually endless). However, it's important to remember that this isn't a network of assets operating at the mercy of a centralized system - it's connected to the Internet. 

So, what does the facility need to do? Procure technology capable of sanctioning communication between smart devices and the Internet while preventing malware from contaminating the network. From what InformationWeek contributor Christian Borcea would assert, either a closed-loop framework or an advanced architecture should be implemented

What's closed-loop? If the aforementioned factory wants to use Internet technology but disable the system from communicating with, say, a website user, it can launch an environment through which administrators remain in control. Manufacturers with no interest in connecting to the Web should contract companies capable of constructing such an architecture. 

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