Engineering

A Day in the Connected Life of the Internet of Things

By | | 5 min read


Summary
Business innovators are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) to reinvent and enhance the customer experience, improve operational efficiency, and develop new business models. But the IoT brings a host of new IT challenges.

Applications have become the lifeblood of today’s businesses. Gone are the days when you had to pay bills by mail, or walk inside a bank branch to transfer money. And hailing a rideshare requires just a few taps or swipes on your mobile phone or smart watch.

My Experience with IoT

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I experienced firsthand how the Internet of Things is impacting our daily lives in ways most people don’t imagine.

My day started with a short walk to the AppDynamics office. On the way I stopped at a famous restaurant chain to grab breakfast. I soon realised I couldn’t get my order quickly, as there was a long queue of people waiting to be served.

Not a great start to my day, I thought.

Then I noticed a timesaver—a kiosk where I could place my order. I used it to bypass the queue, and within a few minutes I had received my croissant and smoothie. Nice!

This is just a simple example of how connected devices in retail can enhance the customer experience. Of course, the global potential of IoT is far greater.

IoT is Everywhere

At home we rely on virtual assistants to interact with a multitude of connected devices, such as smart bulbs, robot vacuums, security cameras, door locks, thermostats, electric roof windows, and blinds and shutters to create a healthier indoor environment. But the smart home is just one of a vast variety of IoT use cases. Take kiosks, for instance. We use airport kiosks to check in and drop off our luggage. Movie theatre kiosks allow us to easily pick up tickets we’ve bought online.

The list of connected devices making our lives easier grows longer each day. Popular and emerging IoT use cases include:

  • Smart cities using IoT sensors to collect data, combined with advanced monitoring and analytics to enhance government services
  • Smart grids—utility companies leveraging IoT technology to improve power quality and reliability issues, as well as customer interaction
  • Industrial IoT—bringing automation to the factory floor; leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), cloud computing, and self-optimizing equipment and facilities
  • Connected cars sharing data with other devices inside and outside the vehicle—including other vehicles on the road
  • Connected health with telemedicine and remote assistance
  • Smart supply chains delivering IoT-driven operational efficiencies, including improved asset tracking, forecasting, and fleet and inventory management
  • Smart farming to enable precision agriculture
  • Smart retail—better inventory management, predictive equipment maintenance, customer interaction, and more

Almost 31 Billion Devices by Next Year

The number of connected devices worldwide has soared in recent years—from 15.4 billion in 2015 to 26.6 billion this year. In 2020, that number is expected to reach nearly 31 billion. Global spending on the Internet of Things will reach $745 billion in 2019, a 15.4% increase over $646 billion in 2018, IDC estimates, with IoT spending topping $1 trillion in 2022.

But for IT operations, the Internet of Things brings a new set of concerns. Transmitting massive volumes of data collected from an ever-growing number of connected devices—and then storing and processing this data in the cloud—can lead to high bandwidth usage and increased costs. And while edge computing, which occurs at or near the source of the data rather than back at the datacenter, can help mitigate these issues, businesses must gain visibility into applications running on IoT devices, regardless of their physical location.

A related concern, according to a recent Gartner report, is that infrastructure and operations teams may be unable to use tools designed to monitor traditional applications, networks and systems in their IoT ecosystems.

New Tools for IoT

IoT monitoring with AppDynamics extends visibility to connected device applications, delivering performance diagnostics and usage analytics that enable IT teams to better understand and resolve IoT performance issues.

By providing insights into device and user behaviour, AppDynamics not only helps validate business outcomes, but also enables you to understand how application performance impacts your business. It provides end-to-end visibility—from connected devices and applications to backend services in the private, public or hybrid cloud, and even in serverless environments.

AppDynamics IoT monitoring allows business to determine which KPIs to measure in relation to device type and hardware/firmware version, and lets developers decide when, where and how to collect data from IoT devices, including those on the edge.

IoT Monitoring Use Cases

Here are ways that AppDynamics can help businesses with kiosk and point-of-sale (POS) applications:

Edge Performance Management
Gauge device health by monitoring errors, network requests, and usage—all while extending and correlating business transactions to edge devices and ensuring a smooth registration and hand-off.

Release Validation
Release newer versions of software and compare business KPIs to ensure the edge is always up to date.

Device and User Segmentation
Gain visibility into specific devices, platforms, data and users to ensure a consistent user experience across your entire ecosystem.

AppDynamics also monitors many business KPIs, including:

  • Conversion rate
  • Average transaction value
  • Device uptime
  • Sell through
  • Sales count

 

The AppDynamics Device Dashboard (below) allows you to monitor important KPIs, device status, and custom device application information. You can use filters to drill down to view metrics for a specific device.

AppDynamics also monitors other important information, such as:

  • Device ID
  • Firmware version
  • Software version
  • Event type
  • Errors by type

 

The Network Requests Dashboard lets you view outgoing network requests and details, and helps you analyse network request metrics.

The Errors Dashboard enables you to view crashes, exceptions, and custom errors, both fatal and non-fatal. You can view details for a specific error event and download the stack trace for debugging.

Today, POS and kiosks are the first line of revenue for many companies in retail, travel, financial and other industries. Learn how AppDynamics IoT monitoring can improve your operational efficiency and enhance your customers’ experience!