In today's fast-paced technology-driven industries, shopping around to piece together functionality for an industrial internet of things (IoT) a la carte solution is risky. For starters, ensuring the various individual components work together in an optimal way can be quite laborious, time-consuming and risky.
Ensuring future readiness and scalability is also a challenge if you are using disjointed IoT parts from multiple vendors. Furthermore, the vendors themselves may pose a risk if you decide to use components from a startup. All of these factors can prevent a heterogenous industrial IoT project from delivering value in a timely manner.
The better alternative, one that offers piece of mind and rapid time-to-value, is what we call a “full-stack” industrial IoT solution. A full-stack solution has both IoT edge and cloud components, including industrially hardened data collection, a multi-tenant cloud environment with analytical solutions leveraging AI and machine learning, visualization with reporting and dashboards, a workflow engine and edge computing. A full-stack solution also has end-to-end capabilities for deploying highly scalable and managed solutions in either the cloud, the edge or a hybrid of both.
Some vendors say that a full-stack offering may not have the flexibility an a la carte solution offers, but we must consider the tradeoffs. Although sometimes slightly less flexible, a full-stack solution offers better time-to-value with less maintenance overall. In addition, it is fully supported by a single vendor with end-to-end workflows using native integrated parts.
There are additional factors to consider when exploring full-stack industrial IoT solutions — for example, you should be aware of full-stack systems that offer all the necessary components but in a granular “build it yourself” fashion. These solutions typically show quick results but are hard to scale to full production. To truly achieve rapid value, look for a full-stack option that is democratized with prebuilt solutions that are easy use, are easy to deploy and provide timely results right off the shelf.
In summary, companies that want to manage risk and accelerate time-to-value should avoid Industrial IoT solutions that rely on pieced-together functionality from disconnected vendors. And watch out for solutions that claim to be full-stack but still require a high level of “build it yourself” steps that are hard to scale.
The winning move is to focus on full-stack, off-the-shelf industrial IoT solutions that are prebuilt to drive immediate results.
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