Chilisoft And The IoT

April 04, 2016

The Internet of Things is here to stay!

Because of this, IoT has become a very important destination on Chillisoft’s roadmap. While the world is still in the early exploratory phases of this technology, and it’s not quite mainstream yet, the concept behind it falls well within Chillisoft’s core tenants of adding measurable value to our client solutions.

Currently at Chillisoft, we select any IoT biased work based on the maturity of the process so that we can dictate business events and actions based on the data. Our core competencies already allow us to develop solutions for cross platform mobile devices, leveraging off the use of graph analytics and databases.
We also have a UX strategy which encompasses development of our UX capabilities and our UX team, to better share this data and the stories that it tells. This year, we will augment our team and increase our skillsets and offerings in business analysis and BI.

Our customers range from OEM companies to Government institutions who, traditionally, are familiar with hardware and embedded software but who are unfamiliar with software applications and the cloud. For these, we are looking to use IoT to reduce expenses and to streamline efficiency.
However, some customers – such as Government – are wary of the cost effectiveness of smart city devices, such as smart metering for example.
Government has a limited rates payer’s base and the provision of smart meters on a broad scale was cited as unsustainable. This poses the question of what economies of scale can be provided by IoT?

The use of IoT in a South African government context is an interesting and complicated one, because to date e-governance has largely focused on automating data capture and in providing citizens with web portals.
This allows for limited or surface automation at many levels in government.
At a plant or operational level, however, we have found some resistance to automation, because of fears of eliminating jobs.

The reality is that critical plant equipment is often loaded with sensors that are monitored in large part, by consultants or contractors. The effective use of IoT will provide government managers with a real time view of their plants, reducing their dependency on contractors, and lowering costs. The intelligent use of IoT will also allow government and citizens to hold municipalities accountable for poorly managed operations.

For Chilisoft, the biggest impact that IoT can have on government is the increase in autonomy, intervention and accountability.
Since data will be available to people at the source of operations, the ability to intervene in issues at an early stage, and direct accountability more accurately is greatly increased. This is a shift in focus where traditionally, the focus was on mandatory reporting that was driven by a governance and monitoring structure, but was too late to actually fix any issues before they became a crises.

So in essence, in order for IoT to work in government, and to a lessor degree in Industry, there needs to be a shift in thinking around data.
A typical example consists of reading sensors that monitors water levels in a reservoir. This information can be used to escalate action, prompt actions and build a profile of how reservoir levels change.

Our current experience in using IoT has been in:

  • Wearable devices (that is currently being investigated for Mastery@Work)
  • Smart Cities (applications focused on improving performance of plant operations in Water and Waste Water)
  • Smart Home applications like smart security doors
  • Plant Operations and efficiency (tracking movement of RFID inventory and inferring business events).

IoT is here to stay. And it’s up to forward thinkers to embrace the challenge of turning smart devices

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