The promise of the Internet of Things is substantial. Each week it seems that the various industry pundits are providing increased forecasts on the number of connected, intelligent devices that will be deployed in the not too distant future.
The associated benefits derived by businesses and consumers from this connected world are logical. The question remains, however, as to how these goals will be realized and who can help move a project from concept to scale production. The challenge raised by these questions center on interoperability or, stated differently, the ability to connect disparate devices to share data and create a system of systems enabling the desired user experience. The Windows 10 IoT platform provides the viable solution as a single platform optimized for enabling interoperability across the system. By addressing this critical requirement, Microsoft has provided the means for efficiently achieving scale to meet your business objectives of manageability, enterprise-grade security, and interoperability.
The first step in the process is to determine the business strategy and the desired results associated with the deployed solution. Is the goal to minimize costs by have a better view into the health of the system in the field? Or, is it to create a deeper level of customer entanglement by offering new services that extend the customer’s engagement with the business? Regardless of the goal, knowing the business strategy upfront will help define the types of devices included in the overall system and data that will be utilized to drive the experience.
Fortunately, Windows 10 IoT provides the single platform while reducing R&D costs and increasing flexibility to develop, deploy, and manage devices. The efficiency gained by using the same tools and code, regardless of the device form factor, is most tangibly realized through the ability to leverage the existing skillsets of staff developers and the platforms they are most familiar with. This streamlines IT operations and saves on IT costs with one management and deployment approach. The combination of these positively impacts overall speed to market. The efficiency gain is even more prominent when it comes to new opportunities that arise as a result of shifts in the market. Whether the goal is the addition of a new feature to an existing application or the ability to enable the application to run on a new form factor, having a single platform at the heart of application development eliminates a major potential hurdle when it comes to quickly reaching the market. Once again, Microsoft has provided the effective means through Windows 10 IoT to accelerate their opportunity into revenue.
Another component in the ability to realize the full benefits of your business vision is strategic flexibility. Being able to implement features opportunistically, either to meet emerging market requirements or in a phased approach to maximize efficiency from limited resources, is a major contributor to the success of an overall deployment. Using a universal application platform for overall application deployment and system management provides a competitive advantage to the organization looking to save time, development costs, and provide a consistent user experience when running the application across different device types. Windows 10 IoT is the cornerstone for a flexible product development and delivery strategy. Working from a single code base and tool set, software developers can fluidly move from enabling one type of device, for example mobile smartphones, to another, such as intelligent gateways or kiosks, with minimal effort in terms of recompiling code or porting drivers. The benefit of this inherent flexibility is the ability to capture new business from adjacent markets and do so in a manner that aligns with both the overall opportunity and the reality of resource availability. One other note on flexibility: Microsoft Windows 10 IoT comes in a variety of engagement editions designed for unique business models ranging from Core, to mobile industry devices, to powerful industry devices (enterprise, consumers, commercial, industrial). The associated licensing models are easy to understand and implement, which further assists in the overall time to market equation.
Other considerations related to overall interoperability include seamless security across devices and connectivity to the other elements in the overall system deployment, including sensors and cloud-based enablement tools. At a high level, using a single platform for both application development and system management minimizes the potential for unauthorized access and the negative implications this raises. Further, Windows 10 IoT includes enhanced security, manageability, and the ability to customize and enable granular control of the user experience across devices. Having enterprise-grade security protects user and device identities, data and, connections. As it relates to connectivity, Microsoft extends the IoT experience with Microsoft Azure Cloud services. Once again, leveraging a common platform saves time on learning curves and creating code compatibility. By offering a single source for data management and data visualization, complimenting the application development and management workflows, Microsoft ensures every aspect needed to deploy an intelligent system is fully covered.
The theoretic potential the Internet of Things offers businesses is truly game changing. The ability to quickly move from theory to practical implementation is often the difference between success and failure. Fortunately, businesses looking to capitalize on what IoT has to offer are able to rely on Microsoft and the Windows 10 IoT platform to achieve their objectives. Windows 10 IoT addresses critical interoperability requirements by providing a unified, integrated platform for both application development and system management. This is done in a secure, flexible manner, which mitigates risk, minimizes system development costs, and connects with other key elements in the solution including the ability to access sensors and connect to the cloud for data management, analysis, and visualization.
Gina Haraway is supplier management director at Avnet (products.avnet.com).
Edited by Ken Briodagh