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IoT Ecosystem Collaboration Speeds Innovation and Growth
Wed, 8th Mar 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Internet of Things (IoT) market continues to rapidly evolve and expand. With companies at various stages of IoT maturity, 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. 

Importantly, 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 and enable the development, deployment and management of IoT applications and services, plus 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 and 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, such as 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. This 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 the IoT maturity curve. This framework helps them understand where they stand in their IoT adoption and identify the next steps to fully realise its potential. 

  • Experimentation: Organisations are starting to explore the possibilities of IoT by conducting small-scale pilot projects or experimenting.
  • Implementation: Organisations now have a better understanding of how IoT can be used to improve their operations and starting to implement IoT solutions on a larger scale. 
  • Optimisation: Organisations have implemented their IoT solutions and 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.

At the third or fourth stage of the IoT maturity curve, it's likely organisations will be ready to start taking advantage of IoT ecosystems.

Identifying risks of IoT complexity

The 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 grows, the IoT sector faces increased complexity that needs to be addressed.

  • Data volume: One of the biggest challenges is the sheer volume of data generated by connected devices. This data must be stored, processed, and analysed in real-time, which can be a daunting task.
  • 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 raise 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, cloud and SaaS providers and IoT partners. This enables the establishment of high-speed, low-latency networks that securely connect with other partners within IoT ecosystems, ensure privacy and meet regulatory requirements. The cloud and SaaS providers increase scale, offer compute, storage and application resources, and provide other technologies for performing real-time analytics and advancing AI/ML capabilities, and the 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, 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. To do this, the company developed Private Interconnect, which allows 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 in Equinix provides IoT companies with the robust compute power they need to process and analyse large amounts of data in real-time and 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. Finally, incorporating Equinix digital services for virtual interconnection services, Bare Metal as a Service single-tenant compute and multicloud access builds in the flexibility to scale up or down and quickly expand to new markets.