Many businesses, because of lack of awareness, think that applying IoT to a workplace is all about replacing old systems, devices, and processes with new ones. It is true, there would be the need for a complete overhauling that also requires huge investments.
How To Add The Internet Of Things To Older Things
Is this understanding keeping many businesses away from adopting the technology of IoT? Well, it seems so. This post is an effort to seek the possibilities of introducing IoT to older systems.
Not everything is ready to go with IoT. There are things built decades or a century or half ago. That time there was nothing like IoT. Many legacy systems were set up several years back, but they are still functioning just fine. They cannot be replaced.
There may be several untold reasons because the many existing older things cannot be replaced with new ones that comply with new-age IoT technologies.
Apart from this, legacy things also carry tons of social, cultural, and emotional values due to which no one can advocate to replace them with something that goes well with the Internet of Things.
The real challenge is to fuse a technology created by IoT dedicated developers in a way that doesn’t cause any structural change to older things and still, they rely on and function with modern analytics and data. When it happens, the technology turns beautiful.
Older things with modern analytics powered the Internet of Things
Applying IoT to older things is a retrofitting operation but at the end of the day, an old, aged equipment, machine, device, system, or infrastructure would be able to take advantage of the technology and analytics tools just like the new one does.
With this approach, a maintenance methodology applied to a new system can also be applied to an older version of the same system, which is at a higher risk of failure. And rip and replace older systems requires heavy investments.
IoT sensors are a cheap, tiny, little piece of hardware but they can deliver valuable information in any context we want.
From a corrosion sensor to structural integrity sensor to wireless relay switch, hardware and software controlling these hard hardware pieces are cheap and can be attached to older things without making any sort of changes in them.
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Why the Internet of Things for older Things?
The requirements of legacy system upgrades to IoT are felt when it starts lacking its efficiency, increasing energy consumption, requiring more maintenance than scheduled ones, or getting sudden breakdowns.
There are a number of similar systems that are lacking at delivering their best performances. And as I mentioned above, these systems, regardless of their sorts, cannot be replaced because of their special values or any given reason. But they too need proper and timely maintenance to withstand the modern world.
This whole approach of upgrading older systems with IoT has created a huge market. More and more legacy things are being connected to have control, automation, remote management, and regulation over them.
Today, a 22 percent share of the $1.7 trillion global IoT market goes to the approach of the legacy system IoT upgrade segment. Also, upgrading legacy systems can save close to 70 percent of spending in comparison to brand-new IoT installations.
Adding IoT to older systems challenges
The core challenge of introducing older systems to IoT is that there is no previous, accurate documentation available to do so. Every task is unique as it would be done for the first time. Also, there is great caution required so that no other issue is created while applying IoT to older equipment.
Make sure that the new implementations do not overload the bandwidth or the processor if your old system uses an older communication protocol. The team of IoT hardware experts and IoT application developers will require a higher level of operational and technical expertise.
Installing sensors is only one part. You will still need a network into an existing IT infrastructure created using the combination of edge devices and sensors. New Wi-Fi connections are required.
Adding sensors is cheaper but it’s still future proof
But still, the approach applied to make older things IT-enabled would deliver far simpler results and data than a full rip and replace operation does. No doubt, older systems have certain limits to support new technology like IoT.
Sensors added to legacy systems would stay externally. They cannot be as integrated as something built from scratch. They will generally read values but can hardly alter controls.
Modern IoT hardware, wireless communication protocols, and battery-operated sensors allow IoT experts and IoT application developers to enable IoT for older systems in minimum requirements of wiring and power.
But one thing is sure that adding IoT sensing capabilities to legacy systems will help prepare them ready for future requirements. Also, IoT technology is fully scalable which means additional sensors can always be added if there is a need to do so.