The internet of things (IoT) market continues to rapidly evolve and expand. With companies at various stages of maturity in the IoT market, finding common ground in an ecosystem makes it possible to share best practices, co-innovate new products and services, and collaborate to solve various challenges.
The Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2023, a market study published by Equinix, found that businesses connected to the most ecosystems have expanded their digital operations more in the past five quarters than in the previous five years. Ecosystem density has become a catalyst for digital innovation as businesses reinvent themselves in the aftermath of the global pandemic.
Yet, there are still challenges to overcome. In this blog we’ll look at how deploying the right digital infrastructure to connect with partners and service providers can help IoT companies collaborate and innovate, and ultimately bring new IoT-enabled products and services to market faster.
IoT ecosystems attract companies with interconnected devices, platforms and services that can be combined to create cohesive, integrated systems for data collection, analysis and sharing. Other participating companies offer a wide range of supporting components, such as gateways and the networks, protocols and standards that connect them.
- IoT devices are the “things” in the IoT ecosystem, including sensors, cameras and other devices that collect and transmit data. IoT gateways act as a bridge between IoT devices and the rest of the IoT ecosystem components, helping to process and filter data before it’s transmitted to other components.
- IoT platforms provide the infrastructure for managing and analysing data. They enable the development, deployment and management of IoT applications and services, as well as the storage and analysis of data generated by IoT devices. The networks, protocols and standards that connect the various components of the IoT ecosystem are core enablers. These include the networks that connect IoT devices to the internet, as well as the protocols and standards that ensure interoperability and security.
- IoT services are the applications and services that make use of the data generated by IoT devices. Examples include predictive maintenance, real-time monitoring and location-based services.
IoT ecosystems are set up around IoT platforms that can provide the foundation to bring IoT sensor data and analytics to market quickly, scalably and securely. Tapping into these ecosystems helps businesses create, deploy and manage IoT solutions while taking advantage of the data and insights generated by these systems.
Advancing through the four stages of the IoT maturity curve
As organisations adopt IoT technology, they progress through different stages of maturity. The IoT maturity curve is a framework that helps organisations understand where they stand in their IoT adoption so they can identify the next steps to fully realise the potential of IoT.
- Experimentation: Organisations are just starting to explore the possibilities of IoT by conducting small-scale pilot projects or experimenting with IoT technology.
- Implementation: Organisations now have a better understanding of how IoT can be used to improve their operations; they are starting to implement IoT solutions on a larger scale.
- Optimisation: Organisations have implemented their IoT solutions and are starting to optimise their use of IoT technology to continuously create and enhance their products and services.
- Transformation: Organisations have fully embraced IoT and are using it to drive digital transformation and create new revenue streams and business models.
Once companies reach the third or fourth stage of the IoT maturity curve, it’s likely they will be ready to start taking advantage of IoT ecosystems.
Identifying risks of IoT complexity
IoT is transforming the way we live and work, connecting billions of devices to the internet and generating vast amounts of data. However, as the number of connected devices continues to grow, the IoT sector is facing increased complexity that needs to be addressed.
- Data volume: One of the biggest challenges facing the IoT sector is the sheer volume of data being generated by connected devices. As more and more devices are connected to the internet, the amount of data being generated is quickly becoming overwhelming. This data must be stored, processed, and analyzed in real time, which can be a daunting task for many organisations.
- Security: IoT devices are vulnerable to hacking and cyberattacks, which can compromise sensitive data and put users at risk.
- Privacy: The collection and use of data from IoT devices raises concerns about privacy and the potential for misuse of personal information.
- Reliability: IoT devices and systems need to be reliable and robust to ensure they can be trusted to perform their intended functions.
- Standardisation: Lack of standardisation among IoT devices and platforms makes it difficult to develop interoperable systems and creates barriers to entry for new players.
Solving IoT challenges with digital infrastructure
Companies in the IoT sector require core underlying digital infrastructure that provides access to:
- Network service providers to establish high-speed, low-latency networks that securely connect with other partners within IoT ecosystems, ensure privacy and meet regulatory requirements
- Cloud and SaaS providers to increase scale, offer compute, storage and application resources, and provide other technologies for performing real-time analytics and advancing artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning (ML) capabilities
- IoT partners to establish and operate IoT platforms that interconnect ecosystems, including hyperscale cloud, system and software providers
Here are two examples of how IoT businesses can use digital infrastructure to connect:
- While an industrial IoT company can leverage both private or public cloud, it requires private connectivity to move data between IoT devices, platforms, services and clouds.
- Enterprises operating at the digital edge use private interconnection services available on vendor-neutral platforms to access digital ecosystems and IoT platforms that help them enhance their products and services.
Swedish network provider launches IoT security product
Tele2 IoT wanted to simplify private connectivity between partners, providers and IoT ecosystem users from anywhere in the world, while bypassing the enterprise security risks inherent in the public internet. The company developed Private Interconnect, which allows Tele2 IoT customers to move their data to their own dedicated fibre connections via Equinix Fabric software-defined interconnection, achieving more secure and predictable performance.
Using data centre and digital services to enable IoT innovation
Deploying digital infrastructure on Platform Equinix in Equinix IBX data centres around the world provides IoT companies with the robust compute power they need to process and analyse large amounts of data in real time and the ability to connect and manage IoT devices—securely, privately and reliably. It also opens up opportunities to participate in IoT ecosystems and connect with other IoT companies, cloud and network service providers and industry partners to share data and collaborate on developing new revenue streams.
Incorporating Equinix digital services (Equinix Fabric, Equinix Metal and Network Edge) for virtual interconnection services, bare metal-as-a-service (BMaaS) single-tenant compute and multicloud access builds in the flexibility to scale up or down and quickly expand to new markets. Simply use the self-service customer portal to order new services that can be up and running in minutes or hours, not weeks or months.