3. Lack of standards
The lack of standards in IoT, especially for hardware, is still a major challenge for implementation. Many embedded developers and designers have their own idiosyncratic way of doing things, making the hardware industry largely a black box. Tools and best practices for software development such as unit testing are still largely absent from IoT hardware design.
However, it’s very much to the client’s benefit that IoT developers follow these standards and implement their designs in an open and accessible manner. For this reason, Very uses Nerves, an open-source framework for writing IoT firmware using modern software development tools and processes. Nerves allows developers to test firmware, and then converts it into standard C++ code that can run on embedded devices.
Case Study: Automobile Battery Company
One of Very’s clients, Interstate Batteries, stocks its products in thousands of retail locations around the country.
However, these batteries only have a shelf life of 3 months before they need to be recharged, which presented a major challenge for the client. There was no way to know which batteries have been sold at which stores, and which batteries need to be replaced because they’re running low on juice.
To deal with this issue, the client was loading up a full semi-trailer truck with many different types of batteries so that they would have enough to replace the inventory at each store. The size of the loads was based only on historical data, which required a lot of guesswork about the different battery stocks.
As a result, the client found themselves overcompensating by always carrying more batteries than they needed. This meant that the client was wasting fuel and taking up space in the truck for each 50-pound battery that was being transported unnecessarily.
Very helped the client build an IoT manufacturing solution that is much more efficient and cost-effective. Each battery has a low-power Bluetooth sensor that sends information to a central hub about its current location and charge.
This additional IoT-enabled data is tremendously useful for the client, allowing them to carry the exact products and quantities of batteries that they need. Drivers can use smaller vehicles that don’t require a commercial driver’s license, saving waste and fuel. Thanks to this collaboration with Very, the client expects to save tens of millions of dollars in the long run.
Overcoming IoT Manufacturing Challenges
While there are challenges involved in creating IoT solutions for manufacturing, they can be addressed and overcome by working with the right IoT development partner. Here at Very, we’re committed to following standards and best practices when building IoT manufacturing solutions. To learn more about Very’s IoT development work, check out some of our previous projects.