Solving the software problem: How industrial OEMs can go to market faster with smart connected IoT
Demand for IoT products continues to grow at a rapid pace. For industrial OEMs, building a secure connected solution involves considerable resources and time – and building a smart connected solution can be even more complex, even while doing so can deliver substantial long-term business value in benefits such as reduced support and maintenance costs, enhanced customer engagement, improved product quality and more.
As Shahram Mehraban of Lantronix says, leveraging the benefits of a multi-dimensional IoT application development and deployment platform can help OEMs eliminate complexity from the process, allowing them to focus on their core competency and to go to market faster.
Today, demand for IoT solutions is growing at a rapid pace – by 2020, it’s estimated that the number of connected machines will be more than 34 billion, more than four times the human population.
For industrial OEMs, delivering a smart connected IoT solution can deliver substantial benefits and create a virtuous cycle where the data the OEM gets back from devices helps it to develop new products or open new revenue streams. But there’s a danger that the complexity of doing so distracts the OEM from its own core competencies and adds too much time and cost into the product development, with knock-on effects to pricing, customer satisfaction and the ability to beat competitors to market.
For many OEMs, the motivation to create IoT solutions starts with reducing the costs of remote device support and maintenance. At the same time, connected devices also provide data to improve understanding of how the devices are used and their performance, helping the OEM identify where it can make changes or improvements to its product offering, or even create new business models.
All of which help to differentiate the OEM in the market and improve customer engagement and satisfaction. Building a smart and connected IoT solution requires that industrial OEMs make significant investments in resources and time to address a multitude of issues that are typically more complex than those faced by traditional or consumer product manufacturers.
One area of complexity is software. Unlike traditional or consumer products that may only require one or two applications to support management of that device throughout its lifecycle, an industrial IoT solution often requires multiple customised applications and services to address the needs for the various stakeholders that may interact with it.
And there can be many stakeholders; from the OEM and maintenance teams that provide post-deployment support and services, to system integrators and partners who must make it work alongside multiple projects and deliver custom application, to the end customers themselves who use the IoT solution and often manage it.
Even the most seasoned industrial OEM can find developing these applications to be a daunting task or at the least, one that can detract focus from their engineering team’s core competency. One global medical OEM with billions in annual sales reported that it had spent more than 24 months and millions of dollars to try and develop one management application.
For example, these are just a few of the elements that would need to be developed for a device management application:
- User registry – who has what access rights and to what?
- Device registry
- Device search – preferably one that doesn’t require you to remember the exact or full name
- Device status – is the device on or off? When was the last firmware update done? Which firmware update does the device currently have? When was the last service date?
- Ability to group devices by geography, network, customer, language, or other parameters
- Device alerts – under what circumstances should an email or text alert be sent…and to whom?
- Device provisioning
Now imagine that you’re trying to develop the same application – but want it to have a customised look for each end-user customer or partner – and your partner or customer wants the ability to deploy this within their own organisations to manage multiple machines operated by multiple groups of users each with different permission level.
For industrial OEMs seeking to go to market quickly and sustain a competitive market advantage, using a multi-dimensional IoT application development and deployment platform can help to jumpstart and shortcut the IoT product development cycle. This kind of IoT platform, such as MACH10 by Lantronix, would provide the essential applications for device management and still enable customisation, helping industrial OEMs to accelerate their IoT product development.
There are clear benefits to industrial OEMs that can leverage these types of solutions. It reduces product development complexity and total cost of ownership, helping OEMs bring products to market faster, maintaining competitive advantage, and to focus on their own core competencies to deliver enhanced customer experiences.
The author of this blog is Shahram Mehraban, vice president of Marketing for Lantronix
About the author:
Shahram Mehraban is vice president of Marketing for Lantronix. Lantronix is a global provider of secure data access and management solutions for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Prior to joining Lantronix, Shahram Mehraban served as marketing director and chief of staff of the industrial and energy solutions division of Intel’s IoT Group.