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IoT Platform Solutions: Giving Business a Digital Voice

The use of passive sensors, including RFID tags, will play a critical role as companies transition to the digital business era, but adopters are faced with a range of choices.
By Dr. Ramin Sadr

The software container embeds all of the components typically in a server, such as file systems and libraries. In addition to providing a much-needed boost in scalability and throughput using the same hardware platform, the underlying model becomes independent of the cloud-hosting service provider. This is a key enabler for the application to run on any hosting service, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google. This model relaxes the constraint of being host-service dependent and running only on a single service.

Another frequently overlooked—but key—capability is that startup time for containers takes less than a second. This is highly beneficial for sensor data streams with non-stationary flow characteristics. From an operational perspective, distributed software applications with Docker substantially reduce the number of systems required, due to each container's small footprint. All of these benefits combined lend themselves to a win-win business scenario for both a buyer and a supplier to pay for exactly what a customer uses, as opposed to a theoretical physical hardware, sized up for maximum offered load.

In selecting the proper software, a buyer needs to know if the solution conforms to modern software design patterns for web services and cloud hosting—and, most importantly, whether it is designed and developed by experts in wireless sensor networks. Knowledge of WSN in different propagation environments, as well as the proper engineering of these networks for mission-critical business processes, is a requirement for the successful deployment of a large network of IoT devices.

Ease of configuring, provisioning on demand, and real-time monitoring and control of large WSNs require specialized capability in the software to assure scalability within an enterprise to grow from point solutions to multiple locations with a global footprint.

When IoT data is mashed up with data streams from public sources (weather data, for example) or private (such as Nielsen ratings), it can enable an enterprise to optimize operational efficiency and, ultimately, the bottom line. With the right choice, a buyer should be able to seamlessly complement his or her data with public or private data feeds, for the purposes of visualization, data mining, and behavioral or prediction analysis.

Internet of Things: Transforming the Business Model
Growing capabilities of virtualization in computer science, coupled with IoT technologies, are coming together to transform the enterprise into a digital projection of its business model. Currently, the IoT creates the ability to digitize, sell and deliver physical assets as easily as with virtual goods. Services presently characterized as platform-as-a-service (PaaS)—infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) evolving from the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model—provide buyers with alternatives to minimize up-front capital expenditures for digitization of their business with the IoT.

We are entering an exciting period of IoT adoption with accelerated growth. Innovative disruptions are to be expected—from the sensor device level to the edge of the network to the very core of the network, with web-scale-size services supported by a rich set of data mining and machine-learning tools. All of this is uniquely transforming the process of digitizing businesses with wireless sensor technologies.

Ramin Sadr, Ph.D., is the founder of Mojix, a provider of RFID and IoT solutions. With more than 25 years of experience in the communications industry as an entrepreneur, researcher, executive and lecturer, Sadr has launched and led successful high-tech businesses based on his technology innovations. He holds numerous patents and has received 15 NASA achievement and recognition awards for his contributions to the U.S. space program.

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