If you want to bake a cake, you’re not going to use a barbecue. Your grill may be great, you may have used it for years, and it may do a fantastic job making burgers and dogs. But baking a cake with it is going to take a lot of time, energy, and tinkering. Eventually, you can probably figure out a way to do it. But you’re making things a lot harder on yourself than they need to be.
Of course, nobody would invest that kind of energy – it just doesn’t make sense when your oven does such an efficient job. But believe it or not, a lot of companies do exactly that when building machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. When they want to deploy fleet management, asset tracking, telematics, mobile health monitoring, and other connected applications, they use the same legacy software tools they’ve used for years for their other enterprise applications.
This approach can work – you can build solutions that do collect data from your trucks, vending machines, medical equipment, shipping containers, industrial control systems, etc. But building applications this way is extremely costly, takes a very long time, and often results in solutions that are inflexible and difficult to scale. After all, designing an application that monitors a few dozen devices on a factory floor is a very different problem than designing one that can receive data from thousands or tens of thousands of devices in real time and translate that data into useful information.
You can use legacy enterprise software tools to try to solve that problem, and many companies do. But the process is likely to be long and painful, and require an extensive new coding effort. And, if the tools you’re using weren’t designed for M2M, there’s a good chance something will be overlooked, which means your development cycle will involve a lot of time-consuming (and expensive) trial and error.
Fortunately, companies no longer have to go the “DIY” route. They can take advantage of a wide range of development tools and software platforms designed specifically for connected devices. These M2M tools are built to meet the unique scalability, flexibility, and analytics requirements of connected applications, and to help companies build and implement those applications much more quickly. So in a lot less time, with a lot less sweat and headaches, you can have your cake. And eat it too.