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Blog Internet of Things

Guide To Building Scalable IoT Ecosystems With SAP

The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming businesses and helping them to improve customer experiences. Learn how you can leverage the power of IoT solutions.

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of networks that allows the connected endpoints to communicate with each other without manual interaction. An IoT infrastructure includes an intricate mix of technologies, such as IP connectivity, modules, and IoT-enabled devices, dedicated platforms, storage and server units, analytics software, cybersecurity, and more. This makes it important to consider a lot of things when building up an IoT ecosystem for your business, especially to ensure that it can be scaled as needed.

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Many people presume that scaling IoT infrastructure means just upgrading the servers and storage. However, there is much more to mull over to fulfill the growing demands of your business with scalable solutions rather than just increasing the storage capacity or server features. For instance, the increasing number of devices connected to the ecosystem means that you need a streamlined approach to monitor and maintain them. Besides, you should also have the right tools to manage routine tasks on all the connected modules without running into errors.

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Developing a scalable IoT ecosystem

The SAP IoT solution has emerged as a great alternative that provides you a reliable architecture to include the business services and features you need in the IoT ecosystem. These specific capabilities will help you address critical use cases in your industry while making it simpler to integrate the IoT solution to business applications. The SAP IoT solution even comes with built-in big data while the IoT data is developed with business-specific rules, context, and event-driven integration framework.

You also get analytical services with IoT solutions by leveraging live integration with SAP Analytics Cloud. This allows you to make the most of your scalable IoT infrastructure while enhancing your business processes with IoT data. Below are a few ways to develop a scalable IoT infrastructure to support your digital transformation.

Focus on the web and mobile interfaces

Building a scalable IoT ecosystem should always work with web and mobile interfaces. That is because these are readily visible to end users and can reflect upon the need for using the IoT solution. A good approach to developing web and mobile apps is to use the same API for both. That way, there will not be any redundant code in the individual solutions, which makes it simpler to test, maintain, and add the required features.

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When the time comes to scale, disconnecting the API from the web application using Single Page Applications will allow system admins to upgrade the high-load areas of the website independently. Yet as the API is utilized by both web app and mobile app, parallel servers may be required to handle the load when scaling.

Keep an eye on data processing needs

IoT ecosystems will rely on a lot of data, which should be managed properly to ensure the adequate functioning of the peripherals. While working with all the information collected by endpoints round the clock can be computationally intensive, IoT solutions can make it simpler by integrating cloud features in the mix. Scalable IoT systems can also be empowered with specialized servers to offload data crunching, which will ensure that there is no server overload when executing resource-intensive tasks.

As the servers can be scaled dynamically to handle the resource-demanding jobs, it will help you to make sure that you always maintain great user experience. The computational work is done through a queue system in these web workers, which allows it to be scaled easily as needed.

Monitor IoT device communication

It is very important to accept the data from IoT endpoints, process it, and respond to it immediately to maintain smooth communication between the devices and the IoT infrastructure. However, as the number of devices connected to the system grows, it may lead to a high influx of data at the same moment. This can overwhelm the servers and cause loss of data or even service breakdowns. This problem can be tackled by making the communication paths asynchronous by using protocols that fragment sending and receiving processes.

At the same time, adding synchronous communication paths to the IoT ecosystem can help to address the more immediate needs. They do not have to be truly synchronous but can be configured to use low-latency channels and protocols to communicate with the endpoints without overwhelming the servers.

Check the capability of the devices to scale

Developing firmware based on your beta IoT infrastructure can be an unwise decision. That is because it may run into errors and fail to send data to the ecosystem when you finally deploy the IoT infrastructure for your needs. Therefore, you should take note of all the future capabilities as well when developing firmware for the devices. Besides, it should also be easy to maintain and allow the features to evolve as per your scaling needs.

It is vital to identify each of the devices uniquely and authenticate them for the designated purposes. Meanwhile, they should also be capable to interact with the rest of the IoT ecosystem securely before being provisioned. This can be done with careful planning and using modern cryptography solutions before entering the production stage. You should also consider fog computing when building a scalable IoT infrastructure. It will help to manage surplus computational work at the edge like internet gateways to reduce the burden on the IoT servers. In any case, it is always a sensible option to build an infrastructure that can be scaled well and incorporate all the features that will help you to ensure maximum business efficiency.

About the author

Sreejith Omanakuttan, Fingent

Sreejith Omanakuttan is Team Lead Open Source at Fingent.

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