With my two decades of experience designing complex electronic systems as well as recent two years focused on building IoT systems and solving System Integrators’ pain points, several key characteristics became evident to me that define the best-in-class industrial IoT sensor devices:
- Power consumption efficiency
- Ease of use
- Industrial deployment readiness
- Cost effectiveness
Now, I will cover each consideration in more detail.
- Most IoT applications undiscovered and undeveloped
- IoT applications as diverse as business needs are
- Most deployments will be small to medium size
- Versatility and adaptability is key
While IoT is not a new concept, collectively, we’ve just scratched the surface of its real-life benefits and utilization. Although there are some good, well publicized examples of businesses benefitting from this technology on a large scale, most of the IoT applications are still to be discovered and implemented. Widespread technology adoption and its business benefits always significantly lag the technological development curve. Risk mitigation, forces even large companies to start small and to expand from there once the benefits are proven in practice. Needless to say, majority of businesses will benefit from IoT sensor deployments that are on a small to medium scale (10 to 50,000 devices). Much fewer IoT applications will be ready for deployments of identical IoT sensors on very large scale in the foreseeable future, if ever.
The reason is that there are nearly as many specific IoT application requirements, such as different types of sensors or data communication methods used, as there are industries and business processes. With so many combinations of specific sensor device configurations and low volume installations, single-purpose-built sensor devices fall short of practical business realities in terms of the total development cost, deployment time-to-market, and adaptability to constantly evolving application requirements. Furthermore, System Integrators – people or companies that put together these complex IoT systems – work with varieties of system solutions from project to project. So, they can be a lot more efficient if they use a flexible and adaptable hardware platform they learn once instead of starting from scratch with a new embedded programming environment each time they start a new project. They need a versatile toolbox to create what they need for a given project.
While it is impossible that single, fixed solution fits all IoT applications, it is possible to create a versatile platform that adapts to many (but definitely not all) industrial applications.