Pundits suggest that the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communications will grow exponentially in the coming years. From a conservative estimate of 4.9 billion connected things in use today, the market could grow as wild as 1 trillion connected devices by 2020, if predictions are to be believed. But those of us in the industry know that IoT/M2M is no longer mere hype, it’s part of mainstream technology and a viable business. In Aeris’ eBook, The Definitive Guide to IoT for Business, we discuss how organizations can smartly scale for growth in a whole chapter on IoT scalability and alternative technologies.
In the context of IoT/M2M, scalability is the ability to grow the application, the solution, and platform to keep up with the projected growth in the number of devices, the data traffic from these devices, the applications servers that process and store the received data, the real-time (or near-real-time) streaming data alert systems, the pattern and predictive analytics, etc. Even if you’re just starting out with 10 SIMs and a prototype application right now, you’ll want to think about scalability earlier than later.
Avoiding the Growth Stall
Many businesses run into difficulty after deploying their first few hundred or thousand IoT/ M2M devices. This is not totally surprising, because planning for scalability is difficult and involves many factors, both technological and business-related.
Sometimes, systems and processes simply reach design capacity, and it’s time-consuming and costly to change the architecture of the solution or add capacity. Or the cost of operations becomes higher than expected or planned for, which has a deep impact on startups and smaller companies that are resource-constrained. Even seemingly simple tasks like generating end-user bills and invoices can place unexpected burdens on businesses when scaled up.
The key reason that companies get caught in a growth stall is that planning for growth was secondary to getting their products launched. This is quite common, but it doesn’t have to happen. Successful organizations plan for the entire application lifecycle, from development to operation to scaling to end-of-life.
Understanding how IoT/M2M application must be scalable and designed for growth is a vital part of your business plan. Challenges you’ll want to anticipate include:
- Planning for the increased number of devices and applications.
- Providing effective security solutions for the data and solutions.
- Storing the data and providing rapid analysis for action.
- Deploying new wireless and wired connectivity technologies for the increased traffic.
- Managing the connectivity and device “subscriptions” for large numbers of devices.
In addition, you may find it helpful to review some of the alternative connectivity technologies that are likely to be used for large-scale IoT deployments. These range from cellular and satellite connectivity to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, LPWAN, and more.
The Definitive Guide to IoT for Business outlines all of these topics, and includes a chapter on managing the IoT product lifecycle from design to end-of-life. As you scale up from SIMs project and get ready for market, this book can lead the way.