In the first episode of The Afero Podcast, I discuss the secrets to success for IoT projects with Ben Gibbs who is the Director of Afero Customer Enablement (ACE). Ben and his team work with IoT customers across the globe and have excellent first-hand knowledge of the business and technical aspects of IoT projects. Here is a recap of the episode. The full episode can be found here. Please find the full series on this site’s Rersources page, or subscribe and rate on Soundcloud, or iTunes.
Connectivity: The “I” in IoT
- Why? Customers may want to jump right into connecting a device, but it’s important to think about why you’re connecting something. The reason why you’re doing it will carry you through the whole process.
- What? Low-power, simple devices all the way up to fully-fledged internet capable devices. In theory, anything can be connected.
- How? It’s important to consider how you and/or the end user will benefit from the connected device, and how the data it provides will bring value.
Understanding how users will benefit from an IoT platform will depend on the different customer types you’re likely to encounter:
- Business customers: single customers with many devices on their accounts (ex. restaurant suppliers, factories.) Installation process is completed by the business.
- Consumer market: end-user customer who buys a device and completes the installation process individually.
Next, it is vital that any IoT device is able to be connected easily and reliably. Without a simple connection and reliable process, the device is essentially useless and causes lots of problems: from bad reviews to customer service costs or abandoning the process.
How do you make the connection process simple?
- Onboarding: The process of connecting and configuring new users’ devices. If this is a complicated process, users will get frustrated and may never get the device up and running. The Afero process is to connect simply by scanning a QR code without leaving the mobile app.
- Testing: Any IoT device needs to be tested extensively before launching to avoid problems. The Afero system simplifies testing with Dev Boards.
Security: Following best practices for secure IoT
IoT Security really is the grand challenge of the digital age. Securing connected devices requires comprehensive design and rigorous implementation of the best practices for security, including:
- A hardware root of trust.
- Authentication process
- Encryption, tunneling, and cryptographic key management.
- An awareness that IoT products can be a target even years down the road. Security is a moving target, consider what’s going to happen in 5-10 years.
- Dynamic security requires a system that is expecting to be hacked. Customers need to consider an operation center that runs on a continuous expectation of attacks.
The Afero IoT Platform™: Fast and Secure IoT
The Afero Platform was created to make the IoT process as simple as possible for those who build it, use it, and operate it.
Building a solid mobile app is expensive and time consuming. The customizable mobile app from Afero platform can accelerate that step. Customers have a choice between the Afero software development kit or full customization, in which case the Afero app can help by serving as a model for a custom app.
The mobile app is also incredibly useful for development and gives a great idea of how simple the system is to use.
Afero Profile Editor
A big challenge in IoT is that you have three types of software:
- Software that runs in an embedded environment on the device,
- Software that runs on the mobile phone, and
- Software that runs on one ore more clouds
Assembling engineering teams for all of the above is a complicated task. One of the ways Afero simplifies that is via the Afero Profile Editor. It lets you describe the device and the interactions between the device, the mobile app, and the cloud. It requires no programming knowledge and begins tracking user-defined data attributes immediately, allowing even novice developers the ability to start working with connected devices.
The platform also allows the same development work to be used across multiple projects, which can be a huge benefit for companies that are connecting many product types.
Hope you enjoy the podcast. Let us know what topics you’d like us to cover in the future and please be sure to subscribe, rate, and share!