It has been several years since connected objects have appeared in our daily lives. Thanks to the proliferation of IoT platforms, we have seen high growth in the sector of the IoT industry and at the same time, the IoT devices are increasingly become interoperable to avoid human errors and optimize supply chain.
Today, the market players such as manufacturers, publishers and integrators begin to explore and enhance interoperability, the key to finally enhance the data from the connected devices and open applications. Interoperability becomes the key communication and interaction functions between connected objects of different types and suppliers.
One example of interoperability – I can create a “rule” that when my car approaches the house, it sends a message to the coffee maker to greets me with an espresso. This seems simple enough, but involves a chain from a car manufacturer, an espresso supplier and a coffee machine manufacturer. These actors must share a common repository, but also enable users to create their own “rules.”
What constraints or technological opportunities for this repository? Who will bear this burden and create value around? What economic model to value these interoperations?
Cloud computing – the heart of the challenge for IoT interoperability
Since 2015, IoT platforms have three main roles:
- Receive messages sent by devices and treat via a rules engine
- Store the time-series in a “Data Lake”
- Provide access to information stored via aggregation API
The solutions become standardized and Cloud allows this essential technical unification to create new uses. Microsoft and Amazon have unsheathed recently with AWS and Azure, which positioned at infrastructure level. These deals are committed to the standardization of the first point – the receipt and processing of messages. Then, there are multiple solutions to build a “Data Lake” and set API to open information.
This allows businesses of all sizes today to implement their Cloud IoT faster than ever, and to transfer information from objects. The fantastic masses of data can be transformed into more value for customers or business.
A common layer of interoperability
The next level is more global and the interactions will include not just objects from one company, but from multiple vendors. Since each vendor has its own platform, the interoperability should not only provide access in and out, but also adhere to a common layer of interoperability.
This issue raises questions of sending messages among objects. To make the system manageable, instead of sending the entire massive messages, some rules need to be set to choose the messages that should be sent to the second level. Technically, this consideration is very significant to make the second level of interoperability highly scalable.
The necessary to create and understand the IoT platform ecosystem
It is necessary to create an IoT platform ecosystem to enable interoperability and allow multi-application objects to emerge. IoT Analytics (https://iot-analytics.com/5-things-know-about-iot-platform/) puts together the following five things to know about the IoT platform ecosystem:
- Not every IoT platform is an IoT platform – it could be a connectivity / M2M platforms, IaaS backends, hardware-specific software platforms, or consumer/enterprise software extensions.
- A modern IoT platform architecture comprises of eight components – connectivity and normalization, device management, database, processing & action management, analytics, visualization, additional tools, and external interfaces.
- Different entry strategies into the IoT platform market – organic bottom-up approach, organic top-down approach, partnership approach, M&A approach, and Investment approach.
- Open source is driving IoT platform interoperability – Open source tools are providing the missing link, implementing a common framework for information modelling that eases integration and promotes interoperability between platforms and the entire IoT ecosystem.
- Data and connected services are the real value of IoT platforms – Gathering and connecting data points from billions of physical objects is fundamental to letting new IoT business cases come to life.
Define a business model and build trusted IoT services
IoT enables manufacturers to establish a new direct link to their customer by exceeding the state simply “manufacturer” and enable it to increase its competitiveness and its attractiveness by offering new value-added services to all stages from design to production, in the marketing process sales, in customer care, and in improving its supply chain.
The trust is the essential to all IoT services. IoT includes many different sectors and applications. This diversity has spawned an ecosystem that consumers need to trust to keep the services reliable and their data protected. There are many factors need to be treated to satisfy user’s expectations on the development of IoT platforms. For example:
- What standards to favour the interconnection between objects?
- How to encrypt data when necessary, on objects with limited computing capabilities?
- How can these platforms in case of attack it is difficult to connect the sensor data (temperature, displacement, attendance …) to purely private data (name, surname …)?
- How to make the identification of objects, the first step in order to assign them to a person or company?
- How to meet the legal requirements for data protection?