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The global Internet of Things (IoT) is set to explode. It is projected to grow from $381 billion in 2021 to $1854 billion in 2028. Just as COVID-19 accelerated the migration into the cloud, it likewise supercharged the adoption of IoT technologies. The applications in the daily lives of individuals will continue expand in exponential proportions, as everything from fridges to cars becomes smart. Of comparable importance is the adoption of IoT by industry to streamline manufacturing processes and supply chains. Indeed, 66% of early adopters of the Internet of Things say that it is critical to their competitive advantage.
In this article, we will discuss:
By 2025, there will be an estimated 30.9 billion IoT devices. One need not list or mention all the aspects of life gaining a new level of connectivity. From voice assistants to smart metering, the Internet of Things has quietly become ubiquitous.
As the physical and digital worlds mesh, an unfathomable amount of data is created. These new sources of data offer countless opportunities for companies clever enough and willing to seize them. For example, insurers could offer users of fitness devices, such as Apple Watches or FitBits, cheaper premiums in tandem with higher measured levels of physical activity. Home security companies have begun integrating their alarm systems with home voice assistants and other devices to more accurately determine levels of risk.
The proliferation of the Internet of Things also opens up new business models and revenue streams. Whereas many industries previous operated based on a one-off selling model, such as automotive or TVs, the integration of intelligent software into devices presents the opportunity for premium software as a service, potentially as part of a subscription. Tesla offers a software upgrade for $100 monthly that reduces the acceleration time in some of its models. As cars and devices get smarter, expect more of this.
Companies with a variety of devices or who create very well-integrated partnerships will be able to use the increased compatibility of their devices to increase customer loyalty. Apple is an exemplary company at building up a self-sustaining, isolating ecosystem of devices. Companies can use their own "walled garden" of IoT devices to provide superior customer experiences and encourage the sales of complementary products, while guaranteeing customer loyalty.
The Internet of Things technologies offers such promise for manufacturing industries that it has a twin concept known as Industry 4.0, referring to a coming fourth industrial revolution. The marriage of the digital and physical worlds to create smart automation will unlock unparalleled heights of productivity, risk reduction, and incremental revenue.
With sensors actively monitoring equipment, IoT can be implemented to send an alert if it begins operating abnormally. More advanced use cases could include detecting a piece of equipment vibrating too much and slowing down the manufacturing to the point that the equipment can operate safely until a repairman can fix it. By enabling condition-based maintenance schedules, downtime can be minimized and throughput maximized.
The integration of IoT-powered technology allows for managers to monitor production in real-time and ensures more accurate data for reports. With better data in hand, it becomes easier to make good decisions and form a customer-centric strategy. IoT gives management more transparency into their manufacturing processes, which allows them to identify bottlenecks and less productive practices.
Sensors can proactively detect defects or other quality problems; while sensors and artificial intelligence can be combined to implement predictive maintenance of factory machinery.
Through predictive analytics based on collected end-user data, demand can be estimated. In tandem with an IoT-integrated supply chain, this can help to ensure that there are neither shortages nor excess supply sitting in inventory. A leaner supply chain means reduced costs and greater profits.
The Internet of Things can be used to analyze how customers actually use the products, highlighting the difficulties and problems so that future software or product iterations can be designed to better address their needs and wants.
The software behind the Internet of Things is complex and poses an entire host of challenges– integration into the cloud, use of 5G, interconnectivity, and security risks. These difficulties can be compounded by non-standardized embedded systems where the incompatibility between devices can thwart cross-functionality and diminish the user experience. Additionally, the Internet of Things requires huge sums of coding. A modern luxury vehicle, for example, has hundreds of millions of lines of code. This expensive software development is often overly complex, resulting in defects and technical debt, which in turn exacerbates the challenge of aligning IoT strategy with overall company goals.
Software Process Mining has been shown to be an effective solution in streamlining the development of embedded systems. Through the implementation of intuitively understandable KPIs and software visualizations, transparency into software development is created, allowing company leadership to actively steer and monitor their software organization. Furthermore, Software Process Mining provides actionable insights and drill-downs to identify, and fix, the root-cause of negative trends before they escalate into critical issues. While this is not a cure-all for IoT's challenges, it does greatly improve the efficiency, transparency, and productivity of IoT development teams and enables its strategic management.
If you're interested in finding out more about how software process mining can greatly improve your embedded systems development, please contact us here.