The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot and trending topic among business and industry leaders. It is a technological concept that is changing the way things are done in many diverse industries. The ability to connect almost any conceivable object to the network has presented opportunities that were best left to science fiction only a few short years ago.
It is only natural that many businesses desire to take advantage of the IoT paradigm in order to make them more competitive or to offer new services to consumers. According to idc.com, over $770 billion will be spent worldwide in 2018 by business and industry as they build systems to interact with the IoT. The IoT also has internal applications, as is it works hand-in-hand with the drive for industrial automation by allowing a production facility to connect and monitor their remote devices from a central location.
Many applications of the Internet of Things interact with consumers directly, as their mobile devices and smart appliances or electronic components are used to provide data to service providers and businesses. This fact adds some layers of complexity when you are developing a site to use with the IoT.
Here are some aspects of building a site for the IoT that you need to consider before moving forward. Adequate planning is key in a project of the scope and size of an IoT installation.
Security needs to be one of your primary concerns when developing systems for the Internet of Things. The Internet and networking, in general, have opened the doors to potential intrusion into companies’ internal information, and the IoT has made the problem of protecting their assets exponentially more difficult.
Each user device or remote sensor that is added to your IoT network can possibly be used to enact unauthorized access to your network. These devices could have been hacked without the user’s knowledge, and they can inadvertently allow malware or viruses to infect your system. This complicates your security policies, as now they need to extend to every device that may come in contact with your network.
According to zdnet.com, targeted attacks like Stuxnet and the Mirai botnet are threats that are not liable to go away any time soon. Security must be a key component of your IoT site to protect your business and your customers.
Related to security is the question of privacy. One of the uses of the IoT is to collect and store user and device data to be used for business analysis. The repositories that hold this data need to be secure to ensure the privacy of the information that they contain.
There are no worldwide standards regarding privacy, adding another wrinkle to the collection of personal data. Data collection policies at the business end of the connection may not be the same as what the user expects, and cross-border data flow can bring up extensive legal issues.
3. Development Tools
Your choice of development tools can have a major impact on the success or failure of your IoT site. You have a number of directions you can go when choosing a development strategy. One way is with off-the-shelf software packages. These are liable to constrain you and force you into using proprietary data structures and can be hard or impossible to customize fully for your specific implementation.
You can employ custom developers to create your site, but this can also lead to issues when your requirements change. The cost of custom development can also pose roadblocks to using this path.
Open architecture is the third option you have in development tools, and it offers some flexibility that the other solutions cannot. Open tools and applications are more cost-effective and give you incredible flexibility in areas such as licensing and interoperability with other components. It lets you use your data in the format you prefer, without the need to work around proprietary data structures. For many IoT applications, developing on an open platform is the right choice.
In the same way that the IoT has taken over the conversation regarding networking and business and consumer connectivity, there is no telling what developments the future holds that will impact your business. You want your IoT site to be flexible and have the ability to scale up as your needs evolve.
When you create your IoT site, you need to make provisions for it to be expanded if future events warrant it. A system that cannot be scaled up can become obsolete in a short period of time as your business requirements change, and end up being a waste of your company’s financial resources. Always build your IoT site with an eye toward expansion.
5. User Interface
The user interface that you build into your IoT system is the portal through which your company can access the data and information that your system has collected. It should present this information in a clear and user-friendly manner to increase its usefulness across your organization.
One way to ensure that your UI is used by everyone who can benefit from it is to develop in a way that multiple devices can be used to access the interface. Mobile phones, tablets, and laptops should be able to access and use the interface in addition to any dedicated devices that may be located in a central control room.
These are some of the factors that you should consider when planning your IoT site. Attention to these details will put you in a position to use your system to its fullest potential and add real value to your business.
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