By Rafiq Somani

The rising complexity in the products we use today from smartphones to the cars we drive is in large part due to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). It seamlessly brings the physical and online worlds together, resulting in the proliferation of connected devices. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and that the number will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. No industry is likely to be left untouched by the smart product revolution. These include autonomous cars, wearable devices on patients for tracking their health, unmanned vehicles designed for space travel, and electronically invisible surveillance. With the potential economic impact estimated to be more than $10 trillion per year, it is clear that IoT is living up to its promise of being the next big technology mega-trend.

How businesses across industries are making the most of IoT opportunities

The highly interconnected and data–driven world where devices operate seamlessly and ubiquitously is creating completely new business streams and models. Companies are turning to IoT to improve the bottom line, lower operating costs, increase productivity, and expand into new markets or develop new product offerings.

In the automotive industry smart cars are taking the auto industry to the next level of innovation. Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 250 million vehicles will be connected globally, with the number of installed connectivity units in vehicles worldwide increasing by 67 percent. Automotive companies are racing to develop advanced driver assistance systems and eventually, autonomous vehicles. IoT applications are making their way into infotainment, vehicle performance monitoring, and driver safety assistance.

The data-intensive aerospace industry is also proving to be a natural fit for IoT, from assembly and manufacturing to maintenance and safety. Sensors distributed through the aircraft can help airlines collect and analyze vast volumes of data, which can then be used to understand the status and performance of particular systems and subsystems. IoT is also accelerating post-flight analysis by providing useful maintenance data almost as soon as the plane completes landing.

Driven by the mobile healthcare market, IoT is delivering immense business value to patients and healthcare organizations. Digital health is expected to reach $233.3 billion by 2020. A connected healthcare environment has the potential to improve the quality of care, delivering better clinical outcomes, and reducing healthcare costs. IoT enabled medical devices enable access to critical medical parameters across the healthcare ecosystem and facilitate remote health monitoring.

The new engineering imperative for the burgeoning IoT

Despite its promise, building an intelligent IoT-enabled system can be highly complex and is not as simple as connecting sensors and devices to a network. IoT systems need be built on top of a solid technology platform incorporating cloud, analytics, big data and mobile. The right engineering support will help engineers address design related challenges with respect to sensing and connectivity, safety and reliability, integration, and durability.

So how can companies engineer the best possible IoT products? One of the ways this is being done is through fast, accurate and reliable simulation tools that address complex design challenges and ensure products are ready for real world requirements. Engineering simulation can help accelerate the development of three key IoT elements: IoT devices, networking infrastructure, and cloud computing platforms.

Let’s consider an example. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are a key technology challenge on the journey to realizing the IoT-ready connected car. Integration of this system requires sensors, safety-critical embedded software, data processing and a complete systems engineering view. These are traditionally segregated engineering disciplines, yet the tightly coupled behavior of this system demands an integrated engineering approach and a simulation platform that supports the overall solution.

Bring innovative and high quality IoT products to market faster
IoT is enabling businesses to rethink how they interact with the world around them and engage with their customers. However, the journey from a ‘product’ to a ‘smart, connected product’ is going to be a challenging one. IoT products may be smart and intuitive, but demand an extensive range of new technologies and skills to handle their inherent complexities. Organizations will need to focus on world-class engineering to enhance quality and lower costs, while bringing innovative products to market faster.

The success of IoT products will depend on their ability to gather, process, and, analyze huge amounts of sensor data and handle network transmission challenges. Managing device diversity and interoperability and IoT data integration with enterprise systems is another key engineering imperative. One of the biggest priorities is ensuring security and privacy and building a scalable and secure architecture as the number of devices and users grow. As smart products flood the market, getting technologies to work in the field reliably and securely while delivering simple and intuitive user experiences will be the key to winning in the IoT economy.

The author is Country Manager INDIA, ASEAN & ANZ at ANSYS

Publish date: July 8, 2016 4:57 pm| Modified date: July 8, 2016 4:57 pm

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