Before we had IoT, we still had connected devices and systems.
- A warehouse had a warehouse management system – in a silo.
- A building had a building management system – in a silo.
- A fleet often had a fleet management system. But if it did, it was in a silo.
Then IoT started getting more traction and things got even more siloed.
Connected HVAC? Sure, but with its own management app – in a silo. Energy management? Yes, but in a silo.
Let’s zoom out and look at say, a supermarket. It has a building, a warehouse, carts, refrigeration, and HVAC. Every one of those systems could very well be connected and could be spewing out data, but that data is in silos.
Let’s characterize these silos:
- They could be legacy IT systems or new.
- They’re specialized and have limited use cases. ie. The elevator doesn’t know how to manage the HVAC.
- They each use different protocols and standards that are the absolute best for their own individual use case.
- They have different data structures and collect and send data out at different intervals – optimized for their own use case.
- They’re being used and are deeply tied into operations.
Yes, we should break down the silos.
When we introduce orchestration to break down the silos, we gain:
- Integration of IoT with IT and existing business workflows and systems
- A single unified platform for all current and future connected devices and systems
- Single pane of glass monitoring – making teams happier everywhere
- The ability to analyze and act on multiple data pieces – that were previously in silos – in order to increase efficiency or generate new revenue
So how are these silos actually broken down?
You can start by normalizing all protocols and data structures into a single standard so that any data source can be used in conjunction with other sources. Use a pre-built application that’s fully configurable and extensible. Once you’ve connected your system or sensors, you can display, extract, manage, and set rules on the data without any custom development.
One of Axonize’s unique features is cross-application capabilities. You can run rules across different systems and sensors. You can act on an event originating from one system in a different system. The essence of silo breakdown is when you can turn on the light for someone who just parked while calling the elevator for them.
The cross application capabilities also work on analytics. You can compare and correlate events originating from different systems or sensors and use the data to take operational efficiency to new heights.
At Axonize, we use an application hierarchy. This means if you have separate applications, you can have a ‘master’ application layer connecting them, analyzing, and acting on all of the ‘sub’ applications. This functionality enables you to develop applications in stages, so you can start small and grow incrementally. There’s no need to implement a giant IoT project that completely revamps your operations in one step.
Let’s not forget that while some people in your organization want to view and act on every piece of data, others shouldn’t have full access. Multi-tenant hierarchies allow you to limit access to specific groups of users, segmented any way you like.