Take a moment and think about the many different interactions each of us has in our daily lives: as a parent, child, sibling, colleague, neighbor, significant other, manager, cousin, friend, etc. Each individual is one person — and at the same time, how each person is viewed and interacted with depends on the audience he or she is engaging with. In other words, each of us is multi-dimensional.
While IoT-enabled machines are not people, it is people – different people, often times in different roles – who interact with them. What’s strange is that often in the world of IoT, this concept – the idea that one machine interacts differently with different groups of people – is often forgotten when it comes to IoT software platforms and application development. This can lead to the erroneous assumption that only one portal or application is needed to interact with a machine. OEMs, who follow this path of thinking, risk shortchanging the value they can derive from the Internet of Things, and worse, they risk missing the boat when it comes to positioning themselves competitively in an increasingly connected marketplace.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re an OEM building ATM machines. There are multiple stakeholders that will interact with your ATM machine after it is deployed:
- The end-user is the bank which uses the ATM to deliver cash and processing various interactions with authorized card holders. Here, there may be a network administrator, who manages and monitors the bank or store’s ATM network across multiple locations (possibly in multiple geographies) and who is also responsible for assigning data access privileges to the ATM. In addition, there are also likely bank personnel, who are responsible for doing daily interactions with the ATM (such as adding in cash, removing deposits, etc.).
- The system integrator is another stakeholder, who purchases and installs the ATM for various banks and stores. The system integrator may also provide on-going support and maintenance to the ATM machine itself. They may have more than one bank customer that uses the same ATM model, and therefore, need a way to deliver a customized experience to each one, while increasing efficiency in the field, and at the same time, making sure that the proprietary data from multiple bank customers are not compromised.
- Finally, there’s you – the OEM. As part of the warranty or services that you deliver with your ATM, you may need to provide technical support, deliver firmware updates, etc. In addition, you may want to gain additional insight into how your smart connected ATM solutions are performing in the field so you can improve your product design going forward and further enhance the experience of your various customers.
One Machine, Many Different Views = A LOT of Software
In some cases, several of the tasks between these groups are similar (where is the ATM, what is its status, has the relevant firmware update been uploaded) but even in these circumstances, the views must be tailored to the audience asking the question. In other cases, the need for customized streams of data or functions would benefit from being able to develop and deploy these services and apps quickly through a common platform but one that offers different portals or views depending on the audience.
All of this adds up to a lot of software, which can translate into a big headache for OEMs seeking to build their smarter, more profitable connected machine. How can OEMs do this effectively without breaking the bank?
The Two Things You Need to Build Your Killer IoT Application And Get To Market Faster
There is a common myth that all IoT application development needs to be done from scratch by the OEM. Tens of thousands of hours can be spent trying to develop management and other key core service applications that are not central to an OEM’s key strengths and market expertise. At Lantronix, we believe that success in getting to market quickly with your smarter, more profitable connected machine and delivering a robust software experience can be achieved through two key strategies:
- OEMs should focus software development on their specialized area of expertise and creating a robust end-user experience. Whether you’re a maker of ATM machines, medical devices or industrial security machines, as an OEM, you best know and understand the special needs of your end-user customer audience.
- Leverage a ready-to-use, multi-dimensional IoT software platform to help you do the rest. There are now a variety of IoT Platforms on the market to choose from, but be assured they are all not created equal. Selecting a modular platform that delivers essential apps and functions that co-exist with an OEM’s existing software can eliminate the need for costly rip and replacement or having to invest in significant re-education of support teams or end-users. Here are some things OEMs should consider when selecting an IoT platform:
- Do the apps and functions allow me to fill gaps within my own platform without throwing away what has already been developed?
- Can they be customized or personalized to support my unique needs, and do I have the flexibility to mix and match depending on my end-user customer or system integrator’s needs?
- Is it built on an open platform or is the system proprietary?
- Is the platform one that is scalable enough to support web-scale or enterprise deployments?
- How easily can it be integrated with my software?
- Can I (or my end-user customer, system integrator) use my cloud service provider of choice?
- Does the platform support multi-tenancy and multiple views?
The Internet of Things provides OEMs with a unique opportunity to go beyond the current traditional product development model and create new opportunities for building business value. But the key is to go beyond mere connectivity and a cool looking end-user GUI. By leveraging the right IoT software platform, OEMs can focus their efforts on creating specialized industry-specific applications and at the same time, deliver a true IoT experience to all of their stakeholders.
To learn more about the myths of OEM IoT application development, download our whitepaper here.
Lantronix is the developer of MACH10™, a multi-dimensional management software platform designed specifically to enable OEMs to quickly and profitably deliver web-scale IoT applications and services. The company will be demonstrating MACH10 at the upcoming 2017 Embedded World in Nurnberg, Germany, March 14-16, 2017. To learn more, visit www.lantronix.com/mach10/