Articles

A breakthrough in IoT product lifecycle management

The Internet of Things is facilitating industries with analytical insights to improve their business processes. This is empowering them to make better decisions for the growth of their businesses. Once an IoT product is installed, the sensors monitor it and record every issue that arises in the product. Organizations can also detect abnormal patterns in their asset’s performance and take necessary actions to prevent damage with the help of insights gained from the analysis of data gathered by these sensors. This also helps manufacturers to make amends in the manufacturing process and avoid reoccurrence of any previously detected defects in future products.

Before IoT was integrated with a device, the process of lifecycle management was limited till the deployment of a product. But now with the integration of IoT with a product, the lifecycle management starts at inception and continues till a product is decommissioned. In short, IoT has given us the capability of providing lifelong maintenance facility to a product.

IoT product lifecycle management pinpoints key objectives that project teams must focus at every stage. It enables every stakeholder involved in the product’s lifecycle to learn about the performance of the product even without receiving any information from the end user. It gives you a holistic overview of the connected-product lifecycle that increases the chances of success of a manufactured product.

Let’s take a look at stages of IoT lifecycle management process:

 

Design and development

In this phase, developers gather all the information regarding an IoT product including its requirements and services. They make decisions about the hardware and software platform, communication type, sensor analytics, storage, alerts, network configuration, security, etc.

IoT has opened doors for new experiments and developments. Developers require more flexible development methods to build better applications and deploy them with different applications efficiently. When a single standard of device connectivity is not available, it becomes necessary to have various platforms and ease of integration. In this case, having a pre-configured development platform which is already optimized for IoT and has no requirement of using actual devices can speed up development and improve efficiency, minimizing errors and delays.

IoT provides a cloud-based development platform which enables anytime, anywhere access for distant development teams to coordinate efficiently. Since IoT is susceptible to security breaches, an end-to-end security strategy must be considered at inception i.e., at the design stage. Creating a security function at this stage reduces complexity, saves time and lowers the risk of security breaches caused due to misconfiguration.

Deployment

Deployment stage has various phases like:

1. Proof-of-concepts

2. Pilots

3. Commercial rollout

As compared to deployment of traditional products, the deployment of IoT solutions is quite complex. This is due to the involvement of many stakeholders (solution partners, system integrators, end users, customers) in the process. Preliminary presentation and configuration of an IoT platform in the field has to be done swiftly and smoothly. Planning deployment and activation of consumer products can ensure its success even at a large scale.

Once an application has been tested, it is ready to be deployed. At this phase, developers require a medium to deploy it easily to numerous devices in the field. For this, they need a development platform which has built-in capabilities for remote operations and customizations of a device with different applications.

Maintenance

The third stage of product lifecycle is maintenance. It is the longest stage since it begins with the deployment of a product and continues till it is decommissioned. As discussed above, there are many stakeholders involved in this process and once the product is deployed and put into use, multiple stakeholders access the device for various purposes like:

1. Providing maintenance

2. Providing updates

3. Optimizing its performance

One of the most critical drivers of value in an IoT solution is its ability to obtain data from devices and accumulate and analyze it to make decisions about device performance. An end-to-end IoT development environment must be incorporated with a management component that allows system operators to monitor the status and performance of devices remotely. They must have a facility to check devices for security susceptibilities and execute upgrades on a regular basis.

Decommissioning

The last and final stage of an IoT product lifecycle is decommissioning. It is very important that OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) plan for decommissioning a device at the design stage. This enables end users and stakeholders to remove a device from the system securely and deploy a new one. It should ensure that a decommissioned product does not expose a vulnerability due to which the system gets exposed to security breaches after removal of an IoT device from the system.

Conclusion

An effective transition into the realm of smart connected products gives organizations a comprehensive understanding of their IoT journey. The IoT product lifecycle helps to identify gaps in knowledge, project plans and business concepts contributing to progress or decline of an organization. This provides stakeholders and project teams with a better understanding of IoT projects to develop an advanced approach towards IoT with a greater success ratio. Let us help you to successfully navigate the IoT project lifecycle for your connected product with our workshop.

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