From Legacy to Leading Edge: Transitioning before Transforming Industrial IoT Deployments
While network modernization — from circuits to software, from MPLS to Internet overlay, and from 3G/4G to 5G and LTE — is well underway, transformation doesn’t happen overnight.
The fact is, many very large IoT deployments, particularly in the industrial sector, including asset management and energy plant and grid control, have been implemented on “traditional” networks.
So how are enterprises evolving their networks to support the next-generation of IoT and IIoT projects?
Raj Singh, CEO of Velankani Communications Technology Inc, a software development and systems integration company headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, US, working with a range of technology companies as well as Tier 1 communications service providers, has a unique view into the current state of IoT networking with an eye to the future.
“There’s no truth to the rumor that the growth of IoT has been constrained by the lack of network capabilities.”
“There’s no truth to the rumor that the growth of IoT has been constrained by the lack of network capabilities,” Singh said. “We have been working in IoT software development for networking for years, including developing code that expands current infrastructure capabilities to keep up with new protocols in the IoT world. There are many creative ways to keep in-place networks current, and secure, and our initial traction in IoT has been based on updating MPLS and VPN networks, working with a variety of vendors, to support IoT programs.”
While it makes sense to avoid “rip and replace” for current projects, Singh recognizes that NFV and SDN approaches will be far more cost-effective and agile going forward.
“We’ve been successful in providing development services to next-generation IoT companies,” Singh said. “Because we are also expert in software-based networking, we are being asked more and more to create greenfield products for pure play IoT companies, including asset management and public safety and security solutions delivered over the Internet.”
Like many network technology development and management companies, Velankani has evolved its own solutions as software and networking have combined and morphed into service delivery platforms.
“One of the hottest areas we’ve been working in is platform development,” Singh said. “There’s so much hype out there now about IoT platforms, leaving a lot of enterprises scratching their heads about which platform to use.”
(At last count, there are literally hundreds of IoT platforms, with dozens in the networking space per se).
“What we’re seeing that works are dependable platforms truly supported by services and solution providers. They strip out complexity and offer end-to-end solutions, from design and engineering to development, implementation and ongoing management. The business model is great for those companies who have the appetite to build complete, turn-key platform solutions and don’t stop at the platform itself.”
Singh also noted that in a multi-carrier world, with multiple cloud providers, the complexity of next-generation, cloud-based IoT and IIoT networking needs interconnection strategies. “Large IoT based systems are, by their nature, geographically distributed, often globally distributed, so enteprises rely on underlying access and transport services from many different carriers. This is why service providers who are willing to manage an aggregation of multi-carrier connections are doing so well.”
Singh also shared the trend towards “BYOA” – “bring your own assets” – where enterprises rolling out IoT and IIoT deployments are preferring to turn “systems” and “networks” over to third parties, desiring “user name and password” access to web-based consoles where they can login and view what’s happening in the environment.
“IT teams don’t have the expertise or resources to build and manage their own IoT networks,” Singh said. “They are more and more comfortable with the cloud, and therefore more and more comfortable with cloud providers who design, engineer, provision and manage entire networks.”
Singh has also seen a huge demand for development using APIs, enabling the networks they help build to ship data into business applications easily. “We’ve never seen more interest in open standards than in the IoT world,” Singh said. “No one company can do everything, and while full-service solutions companies, like the ones we support, are growing exponentially – they are the first to say that it takes an ecosystem to make IoT work.”
Asked how long he believes it will be before IoT is no longer reliant on legacy networks – in other words, how long the “transition” period will be – Singh said, “I’ve been in the telecom and now real time communications industry for many years. Everything takes longer than the visionaries and pundits claim. We’ve seen over and over that businesses can make money in the transition, getting more value out of legacy networks which used to be the next-generation networks. The key, however, to sustainable success, is making sure you’re part of the present and the future, to disrupt creatively, paying attention as much to the economics of change as the excitement of new technologies.”
Originally published in IoT Evolution World.
For more information about Velankani’s solutions for IoT contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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