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Streamline IoT Solution Development, Delivery and Rollout with WWT IoT Center of Excellence

World Wide Technology’s IoT Center of Excellence helps organizations achieve their IoT innovation goals while aligning efforts to proven standards, architectures, technologies and tools that solve security, support and lifecycle challenges.

September 25, 2020 9 minute read

The power of the Internet of Things (IoT) does not necessarily come from the ability to make a device or machine “smart,” but from the potential to make strategic decisions based on the rush of data flowing from the connected collective. 

The more seamlessly data can be analyzed, models built and insights integrated into day-to-day workflows, the more rapidly organizations can innovate and make decisions on the fly.

While there’s little doubt surrounding the reasons for IoT’s allure, the reality is organizations must make sense of and execute against an incredibly complex IoT landscape. 

When it comes to technology, we often talk about organizations facing either a strategic or technical challenge. With IoT, organizations often face both. 

Companies can quickly find themselves developing IoT capabilities on incompatible architectures, which can limit scalability and introduce security vulnerabilities. And any successful IoT implementation requires clarity and alignment from all stakeholders across the organization. 

Our IoT COE mitigates the risks associated with developing, driving and adopting innovative IoT technologies. It does so by aligning business goals with assembled IoT solutions, thereby creating an opportunity to build new IoT solutions that support multiple business units.

Common WWT services engaged through an IoT COE can include, but are not limited to:

  • Business outcomes and goal alignment
  • Testing and configuration of hardware
  • Custom software development and integration
  • IT supply chain support

Leveraging the WWT IoT Ecosystem to Your Advantage

The WWT IoT COE model establishes governance for IoT capabilities based on an end-to-end ecosystem rather than point IoT solutions (i.e., applications that aren’t capable of being used cross functionally or horizontally across multiple business units).

While deploying a point IoT solution for a specific problem may seem faster and less expensive at the onset, deploying multiple point solutions without considering business goals and key metrics for success can quickly result in unintended complexity, cost and risk to sustain or scale the deployed point solutions.  

There are many different concerns that could arise after you deploy a standalone point IoT solution. You might ask or think:

  • Will it deliver on my business goals and outcomes?
  • Did we look at the implications of redundancy or security?
  • I’m unsure if this is going to meet the efficiencies or automation we need.
  • The value to investment seems off. Will we receive a positive ROI?
  • We really don’t know how that sensor communicates data back to a gateway.
  • The vendor’s IoT software does not provide APIs for data access and external integration.
  • Our original supplier no longer manufactures the sensor we used in the initial release.
  • Our development team has to write lots of custom code for each new sensor we use.
  • We can’t extend the IoT capability to another business unit unless we stand up another instance of our full IoT stack.

The end-to-end ecosystem offered via WWT’s IoT COE addresses these and other IoT challenges by directing organizations to align to the following best practices.

IoT Center of Excellence End-to-End Ecosystem
IoT Center of Excellence End-to-End Ecosystem

Assembled solutions

The WWT IoT COE aligns business outcomes to IoT capabilities. WWT then advises on how your business goals can be supported by configuring and/or integrating available IoT products and solutions.

This strategy seeks to promote reuse of common platforms and tools across the organization and accelerates developing IoT capabilities by reducing the need for custom solutions and custom integrations.

WWT identifies which business outcomes can be achieved by configuring available IoT platforms and tools versus which outcomes may require custom development. Such decomposition enables organizations to assess if there is ROI in building custom integrations and components.  

Through the IoT COE, WWT partners with organizations to develop IoT delivery roadmaps whereby initial business outcomes can be achieved through the configuration of available IoT building blocks. 

IoT building blocks include off-the-shelf products, platforms, portals, tools and open source components that have been onboarded for integration and testing within WWT’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC).  

A final solution that enables initial business outcomes is then achieved by adding any needed custom development, informed by user feedback, to the available building blocks.

IoT architecture 

The IoT COE guides organizations to align their technical IoT architecture to an established WWT IoT reference architecture.

WWT IoT reference architectures incorporate lessons learned while deploying successful IoT capabilities in multiple verticals. Our IoT COE can accelerate how organizations assess, align with and adopt the right IoT reference architectures based on their industry vertical.

Aligning to an extensible IoT architecture guides organizations to select products, platforms and tools that have been assessed by WWT to confirm ease of integration/configuration and compliance with technical standards for security, performance and reliability.  

Establishing a common IoT architecture prevents duplicative tools from being adopted across the organization. By decomposing an IoT capability across the layers of the organization’s IoT architecture, the WWT IoT COE guides organizations to deliver the capability using the preferred product, platform or tool at each layer of the architecture.  

IoT architecture alignment is also critical to maintaining IoT capabilities throughout their full lifecycle. Strong architecture alignment enables traceability for which IoT solutions are impacted when it is necessary to update, replace or retire any component of the IoT architecture (e.g., upgrading to a new platform version). This traceability improves readiness by identifying where regression testing is necessary and also by determining the standards/interfaces that must be met when any component of the IoT architecture undergoes change.

Recipe library 

The WWT IoT COE guides organizations to achieve unique business outcomes using IoT solutions comprised of common components.  

Common components are catalogued as a library of recipes that, when combined, can accelerate the delivery of IoT solutions. Such recipes may include: 

  • Common APIs
  • Shared code
  • Automated runbooks
  • Standard sandboxes for development and testing
  • Reusable/skin-able demo environments that can show a common IoT capability in multiple verticals

WWT has found that establishing a recipe library helps organizations stay aligned to their adopted IoT architecture and preferred tools, as the recipes are intended to simplify building IoT solutions using the preferred architecture, platforms, tools and methodologies.

Through the IoT COE, organizations can engage WWT services to establish the necessary repositories, pipelines and automation that enables multiple IoT development activities within an organization to share code, data, test scenarios and configurations. This reduces the effort to setup, build, and test a new IoT solution.

Onboarded suppliers 

Many IoT solutions require a collection of multi-vendor infrastructure to be configured and deployed to enable an IoT solution to come online. WWT has a sophisticated global supply chain that simplifies purchasing, configuring, testing and then shipping infrastructure from multiple suppliers for field deployment.  

Many organizations partner with WWT to scale IoT capabilities when they realize the complexity, high cost and risks that can result from the ad-hoc procurement of IoT hardware/software and/or integration of IoT components in the field. 

Organizations can use our IoT COE and ATC to evaluate platforms, tools and technologies, and then engage our teams for streamlined supply chain support.  

Proactively identifying and onboarding preferred IoT suppliers enables organizations to scale IoT solutions with less cost and effort by leveraging the optimizations that have been built into the WWT global supply chain and integration capabilities.

Certified devices 

Constant innovation and new product development for IoT devices — such as sensors, gateways, and edge compute — can create significant integration and interoperability challenges to creating and operating an IoT solution through its full lifecycle. 

It is common for the IoT hardware used during the initial proof of value to be updated before the decision is made to scale. Or it may be necessary for an IoT application to ingest data from sensors made by different OEMs. The WWT IoT COE addresses such challenges by proactively certifying IoT hardware and sensors to identify the technical standards and interfaces/APIs supported by each device.  

WWT also uses our ATC to proactively test certified devices to understand performance characteristics, power consumption, connectivity profiles and overall reliability when a device is deployed in various settings.

Consider this scenario: A sensor within an IoT solution is no longer available from its manufacturer. By building an IoT solution using certified devices from WWT, our IoT COE will have identified the necessary technical standards and interfaces from the original sensor so that a replacement can be included in future deployments with minimal changes to enable support for this new sensor.

Aligning a customer’s IoT solution to use-certified devices can increase stability and extend the lifecycle of an IoT solution developed with WWT by providing customers with multiple devices, sensors, gateways and cloud/edge platforms that work together seamlessly.

How can this benefit you?

All organizations can potentially benefit from the innovations IoT can offer to improve experiences for customers and employees. At the same time, without coordination and alignment of IoT activities, organizations can quickly develop incompatible and insecure IoT solutions that will be difficult to sustain and scale across the organization.  

WWT’s IoT COE guides organizations to achieve IoT success by streamlining the development, delivery and scale out of IoT solutions. 

As IoT is an area of rapid innovation itself, all are invited to share their IoT challenges using the comments below. Our experts will be happy to share how you might leverage our IoT COE model to solve your specific challenges.

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