Don’t overlook sensor management if you want your IoT project to be a winner

So you want to ensure that your Internet of Things project changes the world?

In an earlier post, I outlined why building and implementing your service strategy is critical to the success of any IoT project. It’s the assurance that if something breaks, you’re able to fix it – and to do so fast enough, before it becomes fatal to the entire proof of concept.

Organizations have woken up to the value in collecting data from devices and sensors across their operations. However, just having vast numbers of sensors creating huge amounts of data is meaningless if that data isn’t analyzed and leveraged to provide valuable insight that can move business and society forward.

Don’t just capture the data

This is where data management services come in, ensuring analysis and visualization of raw data. Data is transformed into meaningful information, providing actionable insights that enable businesses to make decisions which drive improvement and innovation.

It’s all about the data, yet all too often, the need to guarantee the sources of this fundamental factor is overlooked.

The cold reality is that many IoT projects have only a few previous weeks to prove themselves, and fail for the wrong reasons – often because service management for the critical devices and sensors is an afterthought.

A lack of meaningful data, or no data at all coming from a sensor can knock a time-sensitive IoT project off course. There is no longer enough time to prove a business value-add – so the project gets shuttered. The fact is that even a simple in-field failure can cause an otherwise healthy IoT project to die a painful and premature death.

IoT needs field support

Keeping the data from sensors flowing tends to be taken into consideration only at the last minute – often when things have started to go wrong. That is never the best time for troubleshooting.

IoT sensors are often very low cost units or components that are installed with the purpose of gathering and sending data that can be analyzed remotely.

And in the world of IoT, remedial action could mean having to manually locate all your sensors within a factory, since the only person who knows where they are located happens to be on vacation. Incidents like this are a painful reality check caused by the lack of planning, and delays mean increased downtime.

If you are outsourcing the support for your IoT solutions, then this is not the time to discover that your support organization lacks the appropriate field resources. That’s why we recommend picking a service partner who can guarantee their ability to deploy, repair, replace and manage the disposal of expired IoT devices and sensors, no matter where they are located.

Keep on running

Typically, IoT devices and sensors are deployed and then forgotten, at least until they start to malfunction. When devices do play up, you need  a support partner to identify and / or discover them, ensure their security and relevant access/permissions, enable firmware upgrades and provide a level of monitoring and maintenance.

What complicates matters is that IoT devices and sensors are supplied by a multitude of manufacturers each with their own support services. This presents challenges in identifying the most cost effective way to provide such services, since traditional monitoring or management toolsets may not be the right approach, or simply too expensive to consider so a digital partner who can “rise above” the individual elements and provide an over-arching service is key.

What does the future hold for IoT Service Management?

IoT projects are driving the adoption of self-service tools and automation. They are also making use of advancing technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to monitor, learn, manage and provide pre-emptive service support.

To ensure its survival, Service Management for IoT must be cost effective, agile, pro-active, automated and innovative. This requires using next generation self-service, omnichannel service desks. Ultimately, incidents should no longer be reported by users, but identified by systems and data. This is also more efficient and cost-effective.

The key to success for service providers and organizations deploying IoT solutions is a step change in the use of technologies, a shift from manual processes to value-add knowledge and analysis, and a move to a pro-active, pre-emptive service mindset.

If you’d like to know more, drop us a line – IoT@uk.fujitsu.com.

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