IoT is slowly and gradually making its way into the market and slowly taking over. Everything from everyday machines to safety-critical machines IoT now has it all covered. But IoT’s potential growth is stunted by fragmentation and we think the industry is finally coming up with a solution: Open IoT Ecosystem.
IoT or as it is now called, Industries 4.0, is in the second stage of development right now. Through these developments, developers connect devices to the IoT network. This results in less focus on factors like security and more on deployment. The current ecosystem of IoT is a hindrance to its growth.
Big players like Huawei etc., along with startups are now developing proprietary IoT solutions. Each solution has its own distinct approach. They all develop different solutions to cover fundamental operations like security, data collection, and general management. Their approach to connecting people and devices is different as well. These closed ecosystem propriety architectures are limiting but they offer very good customer service and curated experience to its users.
This current IoT ecosystem has led to fragmentation, which is one of the predictions for IoT in 2020. Startups that start their journey with IoT vendors and locked in with them. When they decide to scale up, they face problems including financials and integrating the new IoT systems in their business. Although closed ecosystems provide a more closely governed approach, they do come with legacy costs. Additionally, they lead to a far less customizable options for its users.
An Informa survey reveals the true problems the survey participants face. These participants include both users and industry professionals. The major concerns all combined reflect the constant issue, Fragmentation.
open IoT ecosystem solves these problems
But let’s be honest every solution on its own is never perfect. Not every IoT professional knows how to solve every problem. On a bigger level, organizations are good at a few things but not everything. That is why the industry now needs to call for a well-rounded collaboration solution. Under the umbrella of an ever-growing ecosystem of solutions and their suppliers, these collective efforts will enable the growth of IoT to its full potential.
To fix this issue experts are now referring to what they’re calling an open ecosystem. This approach can further be explained with a common approach to a very widely used open ecosystem. This system is functioning pretty well in the environment for decades.
We have all been using the internet for decades as an open ecosystem. Because of this, the internet is accessible to anyone around the world. This gave it room to expand and grow and adapt to changing customer requirements over the period of decades.
Previously, a short-lived solution for a closed ecosystem for the internet was launched. Each closed solution gave way to a better solution eventually. People soon realized that they could connect to the internet using their ISPs. This only proves that even technology as savvy as the internet could not survive a closed ecosystem.
Not only the internet, we see that this approach is adopted by new and emergent technologies like web frameworks and android development. On the other hand, you can also observe a closed architecture in the Apple and iOS platform and its limitations as compared to Android and Microsoft.
A recent report revealed that 91% of IoT developers use open source software, open hardware, or open data in at least one part of their development stack. Fewer than 1 in 10 IoT developers will never take up the open-source option, and would rather rely on propriety software as a safe option. These numbers show that while not many people are using open source IoT as the main option in major parts of development, we are seeing some form of acceptance for the open IoT ecosystem.
An open ecosystem is our best bet to solve fragmentation in IoT. We need to introduce a standardized approach when it comes to devising implementation and other integrations on technologies like backend cloud etc.
IoT Infrastructures naturally generate and process a lot of data. Each business invests in multiple IoT devices to cope with this load, so these machines can update data to the cloud regularly. The open ecosystem is now facilitating the use of servers to call web workers.
As a business needs to scale up, they can make use of a stream of these online web workers. These servers can crunch their data at the same speed, but through a queue, which makes the system inherently scalable and asynchronous.
Additionally, open IoT ecosystems are now supporting asynchronous communication mediums within device and storage architectures like the cloud. When businesses scale up they face the problem of overwhelmed servers because of the increase of data generated by devices. However, as businesses have begun to move towards an open ecosystem that is now investing in asynchronous setups for communication. Systems are easier to scale using this mode of communication.
Scaling means the introduction of new devices ultimately. To state the obvious, managing only a few devices and a hundred devices on the other hand are two very different scenarios. With businesses dependent on the vendor, this nee open ecosystem has introduced online management of devices quickly and efficiently. With careful planning and the use of modern cryptography, this is achievable and companies are now bringing it into consideration pre-development.
Nevertheless, open IoT systems open multiple pathways for scalability and choice. These were only a few approaches as to how to open IoT ecosystems are now solving fragmentation in the market.
With an open ecosystem, IoT can have as big an impact on the industry as the open internet. The community-wide availability of the internet what is it today, and going down the same path we see IoT as the major technological advancement in the industry. What we need to do is come together, and put our differences aside and build an open community for IoT so that startups as well as leading agencies in the world can contribute towards a better future for IoT.
Additionally, it has been observed that 6 out of 10 IoT developers (58%) don’t just use open source technology, they also contribute to open-source projects. Some contribute more than others but the point is these developers are creating a space for an open IoT ecosystem. These advances are gradually increasing and making space for open source technology, making the community helpful and an engine for innovation and growth.
From a purely technological perspective, these developments might sound very exciting but it will be a concern for many business owners. The concerns will purely come down to cost, implementation issues, the security of their data, etc. As the industry contributes to the development of these approaches to compensate for these issues the customers don’t know that yet. We need to start developing systems that cover these issues and also give the customers space and scalability options.
Business Owners should keep a close eye on what’s going on in the industry as well. Changes are happening rapidly especially keeping in view the pandemic. People are losing jobs, instead of laying off employees, IT professional in your business should be trained. The world ahead of us has very little space for legacy hardware systems. You should now choose to train your staff in these emergent technologies and at least invest in a hybrid network for the very least.
According to Gartner, as many as 25 million devices will join the IoT network by 2021. Each year the estimates are crossing the number of predicted devices. This mass inclusion of devices has led to many problems we’ve discussed before. But this doesn’t not in any way mean that IoT will not grow, rather, it highlights a very positive aspect of our industry. We are willing to make a change and learn from our mistakes. IoT has the potential to grow far beyond our expectations and the industry has started taking steps like open IoT ecosystems to promote it. Now more than ever, may you be a developer or a business owner, you need to look into opportunities to learn and work on IoT solutions. If you need any help with your next IoT project you can contact us or leave a comment.