Simplicity is Key (part I)
For the healthcare sector, marketing researchers are already expecting an increase of new IoT services, once the crisis is over. “The crisis has triggered a lot of ideas and solutions“, said Achim Granzen, principal analyst at Forrester on futureiot.tech. And yes, we can confirm this with at least one hard fact: With the “Microdefender” our client, Italian-based Work In Progress Bio Medial Srl., has developed an intelligent disinfection device. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the company has no quiet minute anymore.
The time was never better to develop new and clever IoT solutions. But beware, successful IoT projects need good planning. The topic is complex, but simplicity is key!
However, besides having the sparkling idea for a new IoT project, getting these projects to life is not an easy task. Surveys indicate a 75% failure rate of all IoT projects worldwide. Reasons are too long completion times (the average is about 18 month), lack of internal expertise, poor quality of collected data and finally the hurdle of a successful IoT integration. The result? Budget overruns and finally shutdown.
Designing a functional IoT project can be full of surprises if you don’t know of all the pieces that you must take into account. The IoT market is a jungle with a wide range of technologies and applications. Whatever you design, you need to get a picture first of what is commonly used in your designated target group. Also make sure in advance that you have a clear picture of all the building blocks that your IoT project will consist of. It comes as no surprise, that all of IoT projects usually share the same challenges.
When planning an IoT project you will always encounter these four building blocks your project will consist of: sensors, a platform, an application and last but not least: reliable IoT connectivity.
When designing an IoT device, the “thing” part of your project, sensors are the key element for data collection. Make sure of using the data stream correctly, avoid “dirty data”, data that is incomplete or faulty. Poor data quality results in poor usability. In the worst case, it leads to wrong decision making. Whether it is temperature, luminosity, humidity, power consumption – make sure you know what you need and choose accordingly. Are there any standards being used in the industry you are developing for? Fulfilling them could make your product more widely accepted.
The 1NCE customer Harpa Italia developed “Aircare“, an IoT device that monitors and evaluates room environments according to a wide range of quality criteria. Up to 15 sensors create a holistic picture of the environment: With Aircare the concentration of diverse particles, CO2 or VOCs, but also humidity, temperature, noise, light and even electro smog can be monitored. By measuring all those relevant air condition data, the device fulfils the specifications of the WELL Building Standard, which is a performance-based system for measuring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being.
Every IoT project relies on a platform. It will manage the devices, is responsible for sending or receiving data and messages and it allows all devices to be monitored and communicate with each other. A platform should be flexible enough to support different communication protocols and it must provide an API to get the gathered data to the application. The program, the end-user later will work with. And again, the same rule applies: Make sure you get everything you need but keep it simple. If possible, don’t re-invent the wheel.
German-based autosen, specialist for industrial sensors, has created the io-key. It connects over 6,000 sensors from more than 200 manufacturers in less than a minute to their cloud. For easy connecting industrial sensors, the company developed an IoT platform based on Cumolocity that is operated within the AWS Cloud. Using the 1NCE IoT Flat Rate and the AWS Cloud Interface, IO-Link capable sensors can automatically transfer machine data to the integrated customer system.
In the second part, we talk about what you need to know about the application and IoT connectivity. As always, complemented with an example from our customer references.