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Achieve IoT interoperability with market knowledge, strategy

 

Why is interoperability such a big issue?

Without interoperability, devices and applications can’t communicate or share data, so they quickly grow in cost and complexity. A lack of IoT interoperability can limit the adoption of more complex technologies, including digital twins or machine learning. It can also lead to vendor lock-in, where organizations would find it difficult to adopt additional IoT devices or transfer data across platforms or domains. Organizations that can’t integrate new devices and services will be limited in how much they can scale up an IoT project and IoT adoption.

IoT devices and platforms each come with their own architecture, data formats, protocols and APIs. IoT vendors and developers do not have a specific set of standards or building blocks they must use in their devices or services, other than basic security hygiene. For example, a thermostat might use Wi-Fi, but an asset tracking device might use cellular connectivity. The plethora of technology available gives IoT device developers many options and combinations to choose from but creates a fragmented market. Even though it makes sense for developers to pick the architecture and protocols that fit their needs best, organizations that adopt multiple IoT devices must consider that the devices might not automatically work together.

IoT is new, relative to many other technologies, such as enterprise desktops, data center infrastructure or even the cloud, which means many startups and major vendor developments still compete for their piece in the industry market. Some vendors develop proprietary IoT products that don’t work with devices or applications developers haven’t predefined. The contributions of many competing standards bodies, governmental organizations and industry coalitions add another layer for organizations to sort through.

 

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