The power of the IoT platform: Making IoT solutions possible

An IoT platform plays a key role in the solution development journey

by by Mobeen Khan, AVP of IoT Strategy, AT&T

Developing and delivering Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are made possible by the underlying power of the IoT platforms they are built on.

So, what is an IoT platform?

An IoT platform is an edge-to-edge software framework. The platform is the glue that pulls together a combination of information from sensors, devices, networks, and software that work together to unlock valuable and actionable data. An IoT platform should have the ability to:

  • Manage and monitor multiple devices and sensors’ data
  • Allow remote connections to connected devices and enable device management for configuration and updates
  • Collect and manage data and help you define business rules
  • Enable analytics and visualization
  • Integrate with IT and cloud services

IoT platforms play a key role in an IoT solution development journey for enterprises to help enable value for the business and its customers.

*IDC IoT Software Platform Taxonomy, 2018

Factors to consider when selecting an IoT platform

Enterprises choosing an IoT platform can be complicated based on the business’s needs and opportunities.

There are a multitude of choices in the market increasing the complexity for enterprises to make the best choice. To help you in your search, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Does it provide a broad range of network connectivity options?
  • Does it provide a large mix of protocols for connectivity?
  • Does it provide device and data management features?
  • Does it provide deployment and scalability across broad geographies?
  • Does it enhance security for your IoT devices?

Another critical factor to consider is ease of use. Businesses want a rapid pace when going from proof-of-concept (POC) to deployment and scalability. They also want to quickly conduct small prototypes and prove the value from IoT before they consider deploying across their business.

AT&T DataFlow

AT&T DataFlow is a managed, cloud-hosted IoT platform that extends network intelligence, enabling enterprise companies to create new business value through the management, integration, and consumption of connected device data. The platform enables highly secure connectivity, device management services, data orchestration, analytics and visualization providing businesses deeper insights into their data.

The AT&T IoT Platform enables an edge to edge ecosystem of solutions from device to cloud integration enablement. To help achieve this and bring your company to new heights, we employ the following:

  • Technology expertise
  • Network solutions
  • Deep industry-specific knowledge
  • Strong collaborator ecosystem
  • A robust delivery mechanism

What is DataFlow?

DataFlow is a key component of the AT&T IoT Platform. As indicated in the IDC IoT Platform taxonomy diagram above, data management is a key enabler for edge-to-edge IoT solutions that enables enterprises to connect IT and OT integration to gain valuable insights, generate new business models, and help improve operational efficiencies.

As business demands evolve, organizations can use this service to easily orchestrate the distribution of sensor data between IoT devices, existing business infrastructure, and a host of integrated cloud services to scale IoT solutions.

DataFlow, a cloud-based AT&T managed solution development platform, will allow for remote connections and management of most objects and devices. The GUI-based development environment facilitates the data collection, management, and integration with IT and business operations to help generate value for enterprise customers.

Let’s look inside the DataFlow platform and observe the key features it provides for solution developers:

AT&T DataFlow helps businesses to maximize their IoT investments by connecting, collecting, transforming and orchestrating their data.

Solution developers are looking for microservices-based platform services to build and deploy solutions without needing to write long and complex code.

The DataFlow solution development life cycle provides IoT device and solution project templates, and a client libraries-based approach to take you from design to deployment and will integrate with IT and OT systems.

The IoT Platform, and DataFlow specifically, is an integral component of a Connected Cooler solution which helps customers improve their visibility into the status and productivity of their coolers as well as helping to improve sales. Let’s take a closer look at Connected Coolers and the value they offer.

What is the Connected Cooler?

Coolers serve each of us every day. Whether our stops occur at a convenience or grocery store, coffee shop, or a health-food store, they present us with self-service convenience we come to rely on, so we can ‘grab and go’.

So, why would it be important to have visibility into these seemingly simple machines?

Temperature monitoring provides insight into food safety and product freshness. As the adage goes, a cold drink is a sold drink and cold doughnuts and warm salads are also unappealing to most consumers leading to decreased sales.

Timely replenishment and stocking what’s popular and in-demand by customers is equally important. Restocking just-in-time can help reduce the cost associated with operation but has the added benefit of reducing lost time, wasted fuel, and carbon footprint.

What if you could extend those capabilities to the owner of the cooler, so that they could learn about the value of its placement? Knowing foot traffic counts and patterns, busy times of day, and overlaying how many times someone reached to select an item inside would be valuable metrics to collect and analyze by the cooler owner.

From a manufacturers’ perspective, these features and benefits can create differentiation and value for their customers. However, for the manufacturer, it can bring additional benefits, such as gaining insight into the performance of the cooler in the field, monitoring the sub-components, such as compressors, that may be externally sourced.

Connectivity opens new opportunities for companies to offer preventive and/or prescriptive maintenance programs, which can contribute to reduce product loss/waste that could result when a unit fails.

AT&T IoT

AT&T IoT is planning a DataFlow trial to help IoT device vendors and enterprise customers quickly prototype and launch IoT solutions for virtually any industry vertical

We are planning a 90-day free trial of AT&T DataFlow starting October 2018 for enterprises to evaluate their IoT needs and quickly prove the business value for larger scale deployments. To learn more, please visit our DataFlow page.

Start building your custom IoT solution – like the Connected Cooler with AT&T – today!