Simplifying the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is growing to include more, well, things.

By 2020, the number of products connected to the internet is expected to reach 21 billion, a figure that does not include computers, tablets or smartphones.

That’s according to the research firm Gartner, which says there are already 4.9 billion connected devices at work in the world, everything from toasters to wind turbines.

Like the advent of the internet a generation ago, IoT is expected to have a global impact, bringing convenience and efficiency to new heights while generating trillions of dollars in new business opportunities over the next decade.

But this level of growth – getting to the 21 billion device figure Gartner talks about – can only happen with IoT platforms to simplify connections and manage complexity and security.

The yearly market for IoT platforms alone is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2021.

A new connected world

Everything from appliances to light fixtures will one day be connected to the homeowner via the internet. In industrial applications, machines, materials and logistical assets will be monitored and maximized through this connectivity.

This connectivity will come with many benefits:

  • Resource utilization – By automating tasks and monitoring these processes, you can be more productive and efficient.
  • Cost savings – A connected world is one with fewer redundancies and faster response time. In the end, both can offer cost-saving.
  • Reduced risk – Preventive maintenance schedules and end-of-life predictions can be based on actual product usage to reduce customer risk while malfunction data can be used to improve products

How does IoT impact a product design?

Ideally, new products should be developed with IoT capability baked in as part of the specification. To simplify the task your design and development team should answer these key questions:

  • What hardware and networking functionality is required to enable connectivity?
  • What software functionality will be required for the connectivity to work seamlessly?
  • What cloud-based infrastructure will be deployed?
  • How will these assets be made secure?
  • These complexities can be a challenge to navigate for many product developers because their core competencies may not align with Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

IoT Technology Requires an Investment

When choosing an IoT solution, your company may be weighing whether to go with an existing solution or to build their own.

But keep in mind that building your own solution requires a significant investment in both time and money. Even an in-house IT team with advanced skills may not know everything about the emerging field of IoT such as networking communications, server architecture, application development, and security.

Alternatively, your company can look for an IoT solution provider in the marketplace. There are many – sometimes more than one can keep track of. However, many IoT technology and platform suppliers focus on one piece of the overall solution leaving the job of putting together the various pieces of the puzzle to their customers.

With this approach, you are still committing to an ongoing investment in the integration effort to develop, maintain, and improve your solution as new capabilities and requirements emerge.

Choosing the Right IoT Platform

For a product developer, the best option may be an end-to-end solution that enables connected products affordably without the burden of figuring out how to piece it all together.
Even then, when choosing an IoT Platform, there are architectural considerations that should be taken into account.

For instance:

  • What pieces of the IoT infrastructure are included in the platform and what software development is required for my product?
  • Is it an end-to-end solution including hardware and end user interfaces?
  • Can data be segregated for appropriate user level access?
  • Can products be updated over-the-air for future enhancements?
  • Is the platform flexible and configurable to support my current and future product needs?
  • Is the solution architected for scalability and growth?
  • Is end-to-end security inherent in the solution down to the device level?

If you’re looking for a full solution end-to-end platform to help connect your product to the internet, contact Ciqada.

We have taken these considerations into account and more to offer all the components of the IoT infrastructure. Our fully integrated solution includes hardware modules with ciqada communication firmware, a managed cloud server, user dashboards, and mobile apps.

Your overall cost and time to bring a connected product to market are minimized by leveraging our investment in IoT. Simply connect your device to our hardware module and your product is IoT enabled!

Ciqada is a division of Mars International, a contract engineer and manufacturer with a 52-year record of delivering mechanical and electric assemblies to the OEM market. You’ll find Ciqada’s work in IoT products ranging from humidors to HVAC systems. Let us help your product enter the Internet of Things era.