It is wrong to think of the Internet of Things as just a buzzword. That buzzword in reality represents a concrete change in how applications should be designed. There are so many different smart devices out there that your applications must be flexible enough to interact with anything. If your business has been putting off bringing your applications up to date, now is the time to invest, otherwise you may be left behind.
Too many businesses are currently operating on what are known as “silo” applications. Silo applications are developed to be self-contained and operate independently from other applications. They have their own data, their own business logic, and their own interface – very little, if anything, is shared. This type of design is very common, but it leads to a few critical problems that will slow your adoption of the new Internet of Things paradigm.
Innovation is the name of the game in the Internet of Things. More and more different devices are connecting to the internet and generating data in new and exciting ways. The Internet of things encourages disruption. You are encouraged to innovate, create new things, and change the way we look at old things. Static, disconnected architectures like those silo applications do not fit this model, and will need to be modernized.
Do not segregate data into independent, disconnected databases. It makes data sharing far more difficult between your applications, and it makes analytics and business intelligence even more difficult. In the Internet of Things, many different devices can be generating tons and tons of data, but that data does not have value unless you can easily read, analyze, and give value to it. Data in the internet of things is meant to be shared, and your architecture needs to support it.
Do not develop applications tied to a specific interface, like a web browser. There are so many things now that can consume your data and business logic aside from web pages – smartphone apps, smart devices, analytics, social platforms, and so on. Silo applications tend to be tied very tightly to a single interface, but innovation often times comes from taking existing things and connecting them in ways never thought of before. Free your business processes. Make use of software as a service (SaaS) offerings and host your business processes in the cloud.
The only way to be ready for the Internet of Things is to ensure that your applications are designed to interact with any device or technology. Continuing to develop and rely on silo applications will result in applications that are too rigid, and the cost of keeping up with the changing technology will increase as the number of smart devices continues to grow. The Internet of Things is making a permanent impact on the way we write enterprise applications. The sooner you adapt, the less expensive adapting will be.