Breaking from traditional thought, Frost & Sullivan backs autonomous device networks as a model for industrial IoT connectivity

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The Internet of Things (IoT) for Industries is transforming both the consumer and the business landscape, offering tremendous opportunities for agile suppliers. However, businesses founded on connectivity across devices, geographies, applications and services require diversity in business models.

Each industry and company will need a customised approach to connectivity based on its unique requirement. As a result, the existing "massive IoT" approach of having a common monolithic connectivity solution must be relooked to accommodate the diverse possibilities of connectivity requirements in the future. In this regard, a de-centralised and self-organising device network is a more economical, reliable, and scalable approach towards connectivity.

Within the Industrial Internet paradigm in particular, an autonomous device network offers significant benefits. Essentially, the choice of connectivity solutions in business models should steer technical developments in Industrial IoT (IIoT) as opposed to a one-size-fits-all standard.

In its latest research, Frost & Sullivan, along with research partner Wirepas, explores the suitability of autonomous device networks as a base for the IoT model. The White Paper, The Rise of Autonomous Device Networks, maps this idea against select emerging IIoT applications such as Smart Cities, Smart Meters, logistics, asset tracking, and the Industrial Internet, highlighting the key business requirements for successful transitioning.

While the wide area approach to connectivity is relevant for many business applications, a de-centralized and autonomous device network should be the automatic choice for connectivity when scalability is a critical parameter for success.

"From an availability point of view, autonomous device networks with de-centralized architecture offer the best availability," argues Jussi Numminen, Head of Radio Strategy and IPR at Wirepas and co-author of the White Paper. "When applicable, the data should be stored, analysed and used locally to optimise availability."

"From an operational standpoint, the seat of intelligence in a connected enterprise is not one of primary concern," adds Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation & Process Control Program Manager Karthik Sundaram. "Whether it is centralised somewhere deep in the system or located in an anonymous location, real value for autonomous device networks can only be achieved through a de-centralised intelligence framework."

With IoT becoming the single biggest opportunity for industrial suppliers to adopt and promote their solutions and services, the focus should be on adopting the best communication approach to optimize prospects.

"We believe that business systems and models work best if they are kept simple and optimized rather than made complicated," concludes Jussi Numminen. "Therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. This applies also to device connectivity in IoT applications."

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