Your first Internet of Things project is off the ground, it is successful and the business side wants more like it. Your first panicky thought might well be: “How do I scale this across the enterprise?”
Then: “How do I truly understand the costs and options of an enterprise-wide IoT platform?”
Total costs can be difficult to understand with the options that are available. Scaling an IoT platform can be a costly proposition and doing it correctly can be difficult.
The cost to start your IoT project was low to begin with; after all, you started small and simple. You may have started with one project, one plan, for one geographical area and one service. But what happens when your projects become large or very complex and you have to scale it across the enterprise?
It is important to understand scale; therefore there are some more questions to ask yourself:
- Am I limited to only standard PMML models or can I deploy non-standard models as well?
- How much data can I analyze at once?
- How complex can my algorithms be?
- Can I analyze single component performance, entire unit, production zone and line performance synchronously?
There are three keys to understanding costs:
- What happens when you want data out of the platform?
- What is the cost when complexity is added and additional analysis is needed?
- What is the cost of connecting to other IT applications/systems to provide contextual data and begin automating actions?
You will have to decide whether your IoT platform should be via subscription (monthly) or via fixed license costs. If you stump for a subscription you can keep down the operating expenses and directly correlate costs to the number of devices/sensors you are using. But this will not allow for scale when the company decides to expand on projects. If you opt for a license it will be a capital expenditure, but the platform will scale as needed and at a fixed cost.
Additional considerations such as deploying analytics on the edge, in a hosted data center, or leveraging a 100% SaaS model should also be carefully considered when evaluating the best possible cost option that fits with the company strategy.
The choice is yours but here is another question to ask yourself: “Do I plan on growing or contracting?”
If growth is in your future, you have some questions to answer.