Given the rapid adoption of IoT in manufacturing, becoming IoT-ready is no longer a nice-to-have but need-to-have for textile manufacturing businesses. However, deriving value from IoT applications still remains the biggest challenge for organizations – reports predict that 90% of the data generated by IoT devices will remain unused. Selecting the right IoT solutions provider is a critical first step to better utilizing the IoT data and maximizing its ROI. Here are five questions to ask your potential IoT solutions provider, to help you shortlist the best fit partner and avoid any nasty surprises once you embark on the IoT journey.
#1 What sets you apart in terms of your offerings?
Let’s start with the hardest question first – does the vendor offer a comprehensive bouquet of services, complete with all the capabilities, applications, and tools required to solve your typical manufacturing challenges? IoT platforms need to be able to collect high velocity data and perform high speed analysis. This requires extensive computing and storage capabilities. For instance, manufacturers looking to deploy IoT-for gathering machine condition and performance data are naturally best served by choosing a comprehensive IoT offering, supported by tools and services to create necessary solutions.
#2 What is your experience in providing IoT solutions, especially to the textile industry?
Your ideal IoT provider should have considerable experience and successful track record of IoT implementation for small and medium businesses in the textile manufacturing industry. While there is ‘no one size fits all’ solution when it comes to IoT applications, sound knowledge of proven best practices, methodologies, frameworks, and typical industry challenges is a must. An experienced IoT platform provider would understand not only your current IoT maturity and unique needs, but also the right metrics to track and the influence of specific processes on performance of IoT systems. All this can help you realize real and early ROI from your IoT investments.
#3 Is your solution designed for on-demand scalability, flexibility and guaranteed availability?
High speed and low latency are critical factors when selecting an IoT platform that can scale in response to commercial market demands. Another important thing to remember is that all IoT devices generate humongous amounts of diverse data. If the provider’s IoT platform is governed by rigidly defined database structures, it can severely limit your data capturing and analyzing capabilities, putting you at a serious disadvantage on the competitive front.
#4 Is your IoT platform secure enough to tackle an evolving threat landscape?
AT&T’s Cybersecurity Insights report reveals that of the 85% of enterprises deploying or planning to deploy IoT devices, only 10% are prepared to safeguard those devices against hackers. From connected products to cloud, mobile, or web applications – having enterprise-grade security across the IoT spectrum is a must for any good IoT platform. This includes security of the connected products, communication and data flow protocols, data access rights, and compliance with current regulations. While platforms built on cloud are often more secure as compared to on-premise solutions, you must look for critical aspects like encryption, partitioning and data separation, privacy and access controls when selecting an IoT platform for your textile manufacturing business.
#5 Is your IoT platform open source to enable use of existing/on-demand devices and tools?
Complexity is an inherent challenge with most IoT solutions. But as a manufacturer, your goal is to cut to the chase and get to the market as quickly as possible. A vendor lock-in that forces you to adopt proprietary technology and a platform that is incompatible with common formats can keep you from realizing the full potential of IoT. The real premise of IoT lies in being able to connect everything – from all kinds of devices, operating systems, third-party analytics engines and reporting services to software code and whatever else you may require.
While these five questions can get you off to a good start, finding the right IoT solutions provider may require you to dig deeper into aspects such as licensing, data storage options, monitoring and control of connected devices, and more. Finally, your organization must be prepared tackle several changes – because IoT technology is still maturing and so are its applications. In essence, maximizing ROI on IoT implementations boils down to smart platform selection, and intelligent fine-tuning.
Talk to our IoT experts to get more insights on implementing IoT in your textile manufacturing business.