On average, companies spend days on on-site firmware updates. Meanwhile, over-the-air ones take minutes. Real estate representatives often сhoose the second option, meeting customer needs and increasing revenue.
In this article, I share my experience with making a traditional firmware update and how it slowed down business and describe how to design the Internet of Things (IoT) platform.
How is the firmware of devices usually carried out in smart buildings? The company appoints an employee who periodically conducts on-site customization. If you are a developer with several properties in one city, it is suitable. But whether it will allow your business to expand - remains a mystery. When a company enters a regional or international market, inconveniences arise. For example:
That is why we considered implementing an IoT platform for device management for our client. Why not? Thus the client can control buildings' functioning, timeliness of utility provision, settlement transactions, and many other lovely options.
Developers understand the value of this approach and benefit from it and create paid platforms as an additional service to their buildings. Here're a few companies that offer to implement monetization options:
In turn, by creating a single IoT ecosystem, the developer gets the opportunity to:
You should decide with your client, what issues this IoT platform will fix and what goals to achieve. For example, one of our clients, a global developer with 1 million smart buildings around the world, tried to solve the following issues using software:
All of these goals are directly related to current business processes. Therefore, their analysis is vital. You may need to upgrade some of them before building the platform. Otherwise, the last one will not live up to expectations.
You can always initiate development from scratch and build your unique product, as the Belgian MCS Solutions did. Management engaged Intellias to design a facility IoT platform that fully enables smart buildings within their lifecycle. Thus, the company has provided customers with additional value and boosted their experience.
You can and should choose a route if your business requires it. But get ready to invest more time and resources. An alternative is to use a sort of an open-source low code platform like IBM Watson Studio, XME platform or Bosch IoT Suite. Consequently, you'll also get a custom flexible product, but 2x faster and cheaper.
Sure, the client can deal with it by engaging in-house engineers. But one of the key challenges in building IoT platforms is a lack of expertise in this field. Sometimes you should tell the client that the time needed to train their technicals is much more than designing a digital service platform.
On the other hand, vendor-side engineers have experience and probably specialize in creating IoT software. Therefore, everyone benefits more from working with a remote team.
Please pay special attention to requirements, as clarity depends on the entire future development process. You should simulate a vision for the product and convey it to anyone creating it. Besides, if you have a resource, try to estimate the project yourself. You can find an independent expert, use the analogy method, etc. It will help determine the approximate budget for the IoT platform development.
A firmware update architecture for the Internet of Things devices is a crucial stage. An involved architect will simulate interactions between the platform, connected devices, and web app.
Consider microservice architecture first. It will allow your product to be scalable and handle countless requests simultaneously. Notice the way the architect tries to connect all sensors and the platform. You should know in advance what types of devices you are using in your smart buildings, as the quality of the connection depends on them.
Point-to-point integration leads to several risks. For example, one service failure can provoke downtime in a core process. By implementing middleware, you reduce the load on the underlying systems and ensure a quality connection.
Building a platform that allows you to manage devices remotely and make over-the-air firmware updates is not an easy process. You will have to unify lots of devices from different manufacturers using a variety of communication protocols. An indicator of the quality platform here is the secure firmware update. So take care of it, especially if you want to receive additional commercial benefits (for example, the above firmware resale).
Following predictions, there will be about