IoT Supply Chain

Why an Open Platform Is So Critical to Your IoT Supply Chain Strategy

by Forrest Hobbs

IoT Supply Chain technology is changing at a breakneck pace, with innumerable wireless IoT use cases and applications emerging every day. In fact, it’s estimated that the growth of IoT through connected devices across the globe will increase from 7.6 billion to 24.1 billion by 2030.

Sensors in particular are evolving rapidly to provide more options and specialization; they’re becoming smaller and cheaper, with lower voltage requirements. And as connectivity becomes cheaper, IoT supply chain sensors can be deployed everywhere as a way to measure the condition and status of products as they are created and transported worldwide. Integrating sensors throughout your supply chain can help you decrease operating costs, improve product quality, and increase asset efficiency.

However, one of the major challenges for IoT-enabled products such as sensors is getting them to seamlessly work with other devices, data sources, and applications. Many vendors’ IoT solutions are not designed with interoperability in mind, which has led to a proliferation of proprietary platforms that can’t easily share information with other systems. Other concerns include multiprotocol connectivity, device management, customization, scalability, and data management.

That’s why an open platform should be a core principle of your IoT strategy. Deploying a sensor-agnostic, open digital visibility platform is a good fit for your data strategy needs if:

You require seamless connectivity between your sensors and your supply chain applications.

One of the major challenges for IoT supply chain-enabled products such as sensors is getting them to work with other devices and applications. It’s impossible to create standards for every IoT device so that they can communicate with each other, as new devices are coming on the market every month. Your best bet is to adopt a sensor-agnostic platform that can onboard and interoperate with both existing and future sensors, regardless of brand or processor. Look for an open platform that has been developed from the ground up to be able to onboard any device.

You want to leverage previous technology/application investments.

If your solutions need to interoperate with both existing and future sensors, hardware neutrality should be the core principle of your IoT supply chain strategy. Look for an open solution that does not require you to rip and replace your existing tracking devices. Such an open platform will work with what you already have as well as be able to onboard new sensors. The open platform should include an extensive library of APIs, SDKs, and pre-built connectors that can integrate with existing SCM, ERP, and CRM systems.

You need to be able to ingest and tie together data across the supply chain.

Look for an open platform architecture that can ingest and harmonize data from a multitude of sources, including edge sensors, internal and external platforms, and data sources. This type of architecture will enable you to bring this data together to eliminate data silos and provide a current view of your supply chain. With one source of information and insights you can prevent expensive recalls, loss of materials, missed SLAs, and compliance infractions.

The beauty of an open, sensor-agnostic platform that enables device connectivity via industry standard IoT protocols is that it will work with the legacy systems and sensor devices you already have, while also supporting the best new IoT supply chain devices to digitize your supply chain. By utilizing a modern, open platform that provides both purpose-built sensors and the ability to integrate with any edge device or data source, you can avoid investing in a monolithic solution that addresses the current state at the expense of foreseeable future needs.

If you need any assistance with understanding your sensor and platform options, please reach out to us.

All blog posts in this series:

  1. Smart Sensors: The Digital Backbone of Today’s Connected Solutions
  2. 10 Important Factors to Consider When Selecting a New Sensor or IoT Device
  3. 7 Questions You Should Ask a Potential Sensor Vendor
  4. What Developers Need to Know About Post-Pandemic Supply Chain Ops
  5. Why an Open Platform Is So Critical to Your Data Strategy