Across organizations in all verticals — from mining companies to municipalities, appliance makers to automotive manufacturers — the Internet of Things (IoT) is fundamentally changing the way companies design, build, and iterate on their products and services. With the explosion of data generated by connected devices, organizations of all sizes are able to make smarter decisions, faster. Behind the scenes, however, is a complex infrastructure driving this new connected world — and in the vast ocean of IoT, how you structure this foundation can mean the difference between sinking and swimming.
The reality is that for organizations venturing into the world of IoT, taking a one-off approach to your solutions can mean big costs for your company. These single-point IoT solutions often require incremental CapEx and OpEx, both for maintenance and in order to scale. This is why MachineQ has developed a highly integrated platform-based ecosystem enabling diverse use cases and powering more than 200 unique solution providers. In this article, we’ll explore why a platform approach is a game changer for your connected business and explain how building your IoT strategy with MachineQ at the core enables a plug-and-play architecture that accelerates your organization and keeps you ahead of the competition.
In a more “traditional” IoT infrastructure, going from data point to action can be a complex process. Any IoT implementation begins with actual sensor data — this could be a temperature readout from a refrigerator in food service or a utility consumption measurement from a connected water, gas or electric meter. This sensor data then must be transferred securely and reliably to the cloud before it is interpreted, visualized, and acted upon. Embedded along that complex journey are a number of essential components – the sensors and devices themselves, gateways, network servers, databases, middleware and end-user applications, for example – comprising a functional IoT infrastructure.
If the goal is to measure, interpret, and take action on a single data point for the life of your company, a single-point architecture may suit your needs just fine. However, most companies are not measuring a single variable, but many. Regardless of industry or application, the more data points you are measuring and processing, the more complex your system becomes.
Take the example of a large enterprise IT manager looking to deploy a temperature monitoring solution for the company’s manufacturing facilities, which may require a standalone network (and by design, own servers or cloud architecture, supporting IT staff, a storage solution and data visualization process, and so on). The IT manager also wishes to explore energy monitoring to optimize electricity consumption at each site, vibration sensing for predictive maintenance on factory floor machinery, and asset tracking for key pieces of equipment (again, each potentially necessitating an entire stack of systems, people and processes when approached on an individual basis).
This IT manager may then discover incremental needs after an upfront IoT investment, such as leak detection and pest control for the same facilities. The fundamental element in delivering these distinct solutions efficiently and cost-effectively is an IoT platform that can readily support add-on use cases and scale with the company’s needs over time.
In a one-off approach, each of these solutions is going to need an entire infrastructure built around it. Then, at the end of the cycle the user is going to want to centralize all that data to provide a single source of truth for their most valuable insights. It’s a complicated, cumbersome, and costly way to approach IoT, affording no viable opportunity to scale.
The key to simplification is integration, and the far more effective approach to IoT deployment is to build your network as a scalable, flexible platform. Backed by Comcast, MachineQ has taken the hard work out of building an IoT network. Our device-to-cloud platform gives companies immediate access to the enterprise-grade wireless infrastructure you need to securely collect, transmit, and receive your data.
Built on LoRa wireless technology, MachineQ’s IoT platform offers best-in-class power efficiency, network security, range and propagation. As a result, companies can invest in fewer gateways to connect more battery-operated end devices more securely over larger areas, compared to WiFi, Bluetooth, or cellular implementations. And, compared to the young and emerging landscape of competitive solutions, MachineQ provides an enterprise-grade, globally scalable platform to integrate the entire data path and the secure backhaul that supports it, from devices to the cloud and beyond.
In literal terms, building and scaling a dedicated IoT network is as simple as powering up a gateway and provisioning devices – as many devices as your network requires. Each MachineQ gateway is designed to process millions of transmissions per day and support thousands of unique devices each. The MachineQ platform handles everything else, including adding or removing devices and pushing updates over the air, as the needs of your network change.
At the user-end of all this infrastructure lies a powerful network management and provisioning platform, MQcentral. And, for independent solution providers or OEMs who would prefer to utilize their own custom analytics and applications, MachineQ provides a comprehensive suite of APIs and output profiles that give companies complete access to all of their data where they want it and when they need it.
The MachineQ ecosystem supports over 200 solution providers offering everything from soil moisture sensors to asset trackers, and with a growing suite of MachineQ’s own sensors, we are able to serve the business intelligence needs of just about every vertical there is with a single platform for management, maintenance, and growth. When you want to add a new solution to your IoT stack, you don’t need to spin up an entire new system and process — just add it on to your existing network. Not only is MachineQ best-in-class in terms of quality and performance, but by unifying your approach, your organization can save significantly.
Whether you are deeply invested in the world of IoT, or just starting to explore your options, a platform-based approach offers a number of benefits and cost savings that are difficult or impossible to achieve via a one-off solution strategy. By leveraging the power of MachineQ, from sensors and gateways, to centralized software and global scale, your organization can navigate the world of IoT successfully, and turn abstract data into actionable insights faster, more reliably, and more cost-efficiently than ever before.