Accelerate Your Business with IoT

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What is IoT?

IoT is a new term for an old concept. We’ve been fundamentally connecting devices to the internet for a number of years. What’s unique now is that Amazon Web Services (AWS) connectivity makes IoT much more accessible.

To do an IoT project, you often have many different components and disciplines involved. You have hardware and electronics engineers that are focused on the actual device. Then you have application developers that are building the logic that the device interacts with. So if the device senses something in environment, the application reacts to that based on the decided logic.

We also have data analysts that are taking the data collected over time and drawing insights from it. So whereas the application developers are focused on how we react in real time to the sensors, the data analysts are concerned with how we react over time to a larger set of data. To support these other teams, you need infrastructure teams that will deploy everything to AWS. These teams set up the underlying services that support the ongoing operation, they monitor and maintain the environments, and they often build and maintain the DevOps pipeline that deploys the application.

Why consider IoT for your business?

Companies adopt IoT initially to monitor the performance of devices in the field. So what are the first use cases we see customers undertake? They want to know how their product is performing in the field. They want to grab the data and then utilize that data to do preventive maintenance or to remove failures from a product’s development to improve the overall product quality. Once you build the connectivity, it’s pretty easy to build more applications around it. For example, if you’re building a widget that was deployed out in the middle of the desert, collecting data to prevent failure is step one then being able to command and control that device remotely for your customer is step two.

So now we’ve enabled our engineering, R&D team and customers to benefit from IoT. The final step is to take the aggregate data that we’re collecting from all of our customers and actually begin building new market insights. So now we’ve gone from failure prevention and maintenance to applications that are enabled by connectivity to AWS’ big data solutions that can analyze that data across a number of customers and come up with new business insights.

Customer Success Story: FRAC-CHEM

One of the IoT solutions we’ve worked on recently is for a company called Frac-Chem which develops hydraulic fracking chemicals for use in the oil field. As a part of their innovation strategy, they’re exploring different devices that can help them deliver chemicals in different forms. For example, deliver dry chemicals, as opposed to hydrated chemicals, then hydrate those dry chemicals in the field. This requires pretty significant machinery out in the oil fields which can be in very remote places in the country. So as a result being able to monitor the performance of these large devices, like water quality coming in, chemical quality going out, temperatures, engine speeds – all these things that can either tell us if machine is failing or if the chemicals coming out of the machine are going to be sub-par. Our customers’ ability to know about that before their end-user does, enables new business models for them. So IoT in this case, isn’t just enhancing what they’re already doing but giving them entirely new service offerings they built around Chemical as a Service.

How to get started with IoT

Customers often come to us and ask: How do I start? How do we dip our foot into the IoT ecosystem? We really like an approach that’s based around a proof of concept. We start by spending a day on site with a customer, coming up with a vision for the types of IoT solutions that can make a difference in their business. Based on that one-day workshop, we identify a proof of concept that we could build in 4 to 6 weeks. We take that back to our lab and build hardware, software and cloud components that support the use case in a matter of weeks. When we come back and demonstrate what we’ve built, we’ve moved the conversation from a “what if” or “should we” to something tangible. We can now touch and see the impact of this device on the customer’s business and it moves the conversation forward for our customers much more rapidly than any other approach we’ve seen.

Want to learn more about how IoT can accelerate your business?

Get in touch with our experts today!

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