The rise of mobile networks, improved wireless tech, and rapid sensor innovation over the past 10 years has enabled companies to use internet-connected sensors and actuators to improve business operations and transform products. The ever-increasing number of connected devices is opening up new business models and new opportunities for both tech vendors and end users; as a result, IoT is becoming an essential cornerstone of the business technology agenda. Enterprise architecture professionals must define a holistic IoT software architecture to navigate through the complex technology landscape.

I’ve recently published two reports focusing on how to architect the IoT software stack. These reports analyze the heat maps and trends around IoT adoption in China and introduce Forrester’s IoT technology stack reference architecture. They also show EA pros how to achieve strategic business outcomes and unleash the power of digital business by analyzing the IoT practices of visionary Chinese firms. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Successful IoT initiatives yield substantial business value. Outstanding IoT initiatives achieves strategic outcomes, such as competitive differentiation, customer experience enhancement, and asset performance optimization. Chinese companies have successfully launched IoT initiatives to establish their digital business in various industries, including energy, automotive, logistics, and manufacturing.
  • Software technology stack architecture is key to IoT strategy execution.The IoT software stack has five architecture layers: connectivity, security, management, compute and analytics, and application. EA pros must choose the connectivity protocols that will ensure business interoperability. IoT solutions are still maturing. To address business requirements, EA pros should consider complementing commercial solutions with open source software; the IoT software/application platform is the core component to evaluate.
  • Learn from leading Chinese companies embracing digital transformation. First Automobile Works Group differentiated its business model with a connected car platform; China Merchants Logistics improved its end-to-end customer experience with IoT-enabled logistics; Baykee manages power resources with a cloud-based IoT platform; and Shenhua combined IoT and cloud-ready infrastructure to optimize digital performance.

How do you architect IoT? What business requirements are you targeting and which vendors are you using? Tell us how you’re embracing IoT to accelerate your transformation into a digital business.