Technology /

Dealing with legacy IoT infrastructure in the modern age

By Justin Bingham | September 20, 2017

While the collective concept of the Internet of Things is relatively new, the concepts behind IoT are not. In fact, many firms have been doing pioneering work that can now be considered IoT since before the Internet of Things became a buzzword.

As we all know, however, technologies and approaches continue to grow and evolve. This can cause challenges for organizations with a legacy of connected devices, sensors, and systems. They often end up struggling to maintain what they have in place while also adapting and innovating on top of that foundation.

Older systems generally weren’t built for the demands of the modern marketplace. This means many companies are challenged to bring their older initiatives into a modern environment and framework. When hefty investments have already been made, continuing to leverage core systems becomes a requirement in order to remain competitive with newer upstarts born in the IoT age.

A modern solution for modern problems

In most scenarios, starting over from scratch would exhaust resources and funds in the blink of an eye. This means addressing the effects of antiquated technology head-on in order to achieve the modern operations needed.

For instance, as customer demand and expectation for real-time information has increased, so too has the amount of data that is available. All of this information needs to be stored, made available, and processed in order to be useful. The platforms that were built years ago — and the databases and interactions they rely on — are often not robust enough to manage the volume and flow of modern data efficiently. Commonly, that data resides in several distinct systems. Pulling it into a central location that is easily accessible and open for analysis quickly becomes a laborious manual process that’s difficult to overcome.

One way to overcome that challenge is to complement existing in-house technology with an IoT hub that sits on top of your core technologies, marrying the disparate systems together. Modern technology is better suited for device interactions and, therefore, better able to cleanly expose important data points from the mass of data being captured. This makes the entire system easier to work with and let’s you leverage more efficiently for future decision-making, development, and enhancement.

To modernize your operations, here are a few goals to aim for:

  1. Institute a new IoT hub specifically focused on device interactions, which allows you to abstract complex device management and data processing away from the core platform.
  2. Simplify the platform with a focus on gains in security, scalability, and flexibility in the areas the business needs the most.
  3. Institute a clarified data architecture purpose-built for big data processing and analytics.
  4. Transform to a modern infrastructure designed for innovating and building, allowing for rapid delivery of impactful updates and solutions for your customers.

Achieving the impact you need

Once your infrastructure has been updated to handle legacy devices and data more efficiently, you should start to see some significant gains in a number of areas of your business. By changing the way things work behind the scenes, you’ll become better able to change the way the entire company works.

This generally means embracing new strategies, overcoming hurdles, and paving the way for faster and more predictable decision-making and innovation. While every business will see unique benefits depending on their specific scenario, there are some universal new experiences you’ll see as an organization:

  • It becomes easier to scale efficiently with business growth. With an enriched core platform and better ways of interacting with it, you will be able to scale as customer demand increases in ways you never could before.
  • You’ll be able to go-to-market faster and with higher value. You’ll be able to bring to market additional product offerings based on confidence of the technology platform to meet ambitious goals. Additionally, you’ll be able to create fresh applications that extend functionality and provide new value to customers.
  • Your culture begins to shift towards innovation. The company culture will be transformed! Be prepared, because it isn’t always an easy or smooth process. But, the rewards are well worth the journey. You’ll become more competitive and set new trends for the market rather than playing catch-up.
  • Operations take on an improved focus. When you’re able to resolve inefficiencies in operations, you create an environment that enables your expert staff to make better decisions and focus on the jobs they’ve been meant to do all along.

Serve your customers and growth will follow

Many technology-dependent organizations are languishing on old infrastructure, leading them to become more and more out of touch with the needs of the company and, even more importantly, the needs of the customer.

Often, the technologies they have in place are slow, keeping them from being able to innovate at a pace that matches their customers’ expectations. Without investing in maintenance and smartly building on top of that core infrastructure, it’s likely that you’ll miss the opportunity to satisfy customer demand.

And, naturally, if you don’t meet the needs of your customers, you won’t achieve your full potential growth.

→ Need help growing your IoT initiative? Get in touch.

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