With a plethora of devices and connectivity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is described by many as all encompassing. With that in mind, the concept that partnerships and ecosystems underpin success within the Internet of Things is no surprise.

The potential of IoT paints an ideal where you can connect multiple points both within and outside of your organisation, to create insight and value. The vision and concept of this is great, however, to do this you’ll need a wide range of expertise and components such as: sensors, comms, applications, analytics, UI design and development; the list goes on. In addition to all of this, you’ll need people who understand these things within the context of your business needs.

It will be rare or high unlikely that you’ll find all of these skills within a single organisation, and even if you did, it’s often one or two individuals, with little or no redundancy planned. To create a best of breed solution that works, creating an ecosystem seems like a smart choice. To address these issues, you need to create an ecosystem, below I talk through some of the areas we have focused on to date in creating our ecosystem:

  • Secure, managed communications from the device to the enterprise can be complicated, especially when you are looking at devices across a disparate and sometimes rural estate. Traditional internet connections are not always an option and the resilience of these cannot always be relied upon, by leveraging partners who use a variety of communication methods, such as Arkessa and Vodafone, we can have confidence in the availability of the comms required.
  • We recognise at CGI that UI Design is a highly skilled discipline and therefore we often partner with companies such as Creative Jar as part of our ecosystem. Specific skills are often required to create a design which meets client requirements and fits with the business processes of an organisation, making it simple and effective to use.
  • Other applications and data sources are often needed alongside the ‘things’ to provide the level of data needed to create an actionable insight, using companies that are specialised in those specific applications, and also companies with niche applications to deal with specific business needs. Some examples of other data sources include, weather data, nearby large events and social listening through social media.

So having discussed some elements of an ecosystem, let’s look at some of the benefits they can bring.

  • Innovative ideas can be realised through a collaborative approach to design and development
  • There is no need to reinvent the wheel or spend lots of R&D funds on multiple components. Instead it allows you to pull together a group of companies and products who each focus on their niche and area of expertise, delivering a more commercially viable end solution
  • Companies can supplement the use of innovative niche products and services, and mitigate risks, by using larger, enterprise grade solutions which pull them together
  • Integration with existing technologies and systems will be required, working collaboratively with existing suppliers or teams to make this happen will mean that more value can be realised from the data already in the enterprise
  • Agility of smaller companies, and the reliability and security of a larger organisation can create a nice balance for customers looking to innovate at a lower risk

I’ll discuss how to build an effective ecosystem in my next blog, until then, it would be great to hear your thoughts on ecosystems you think are working effectively or leading the way in the IoT space.

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