To say that digital transformation is more an imperative today than a “good to have” is a no brainer. However, one of the critical elements that determines the success of any digital transformation initiative is reliable and consistent data acquisition and delivery to the service backend. In most of the cases, the correctness of data and the speed at which it is delivered in a cost optimized way becomes the most important factor.

Having a great backend system and related algorithms on some of the bleeding edge technology nodes with intuitive user experience will fail miserably if the incoming data is incorrect, delayed or compromised. Deploying an update for generating additional insights to the edge devices by choosing the right approach and technology for data acquisition and delivery is top of mind for organizations looking at successful digital transformation. Defining, designing, developing and deploying right devices and embedded technology is an integral part of such a strategy.


Ensuring reliability and consistency of data acquisition

Capabilities for processing data at the edge is gaining traction especially in scenarios where data privacy is critical. Since data processing latency requirements also drive data processing at the edge, devices need to have the required processing capability to handle the ever-increasing workloads. Additionally, the below can help optimize device deployment:

  • Re-configurable devices – Single devices that support multiple functionalities which can be remotely deployed and configured. (For e.g. Cameras configured to detect mask usage in one scenario may detect helmet usage in another, along with people counting or face recognition). This will help to control the total cost of ownership of devices.
  • Edge security – while connectivity brings a ton of advantages, ensuring the data is securely transmitted and stored is critical. To prevent hackers from getting access to the software/ firmware in the device, it is important to ensure that the identity of the device is maintained and any unauthorized firmware is not deployed on it.
  • Buy vs build option for devices in data acquisition and communication – This includes analyzing the compromises required for force fitting an off-the-shelf option or going for a bespoke solution.
  • Continuous availability of devices/modules is important if an off-the-shelf solution is leveraged so that issues related to supply chain module vendors don’t hamper business growth.

In addition to the above, addressing the compliance issues for different markets, across multiple geographies will become key for the success of many digital transformation initiatives.  Likewise, power optimized designs for devices that do not compromise on functionality are important because battery technology is still the most limiting factor in many of the end point /leaf node device designs.

Standardization and future proofing

To ensure consistency of experience and data delivery, organizations need to make sure that SLA’s are met for mission critical data acquisition and transfer (for example digital smart electricity meter) because any deviation will have impact on the revenue and credibility of the business. Selection of appropriate communication technology for the identified use cases is also important and organizations need to factor in latency, power, range, reliability and cost before finalizing the device/solution protocol.

Like all else, any digital transformation initiative has to be future proof. This is possible by defining the life of the device and ensuring the right components are chosen for optimal cost and design efficacy. With millions of devices coming into the market, compatibility is always a challenge, especially if there are no standards to rely on.

Multiple standards /protocols are available for device design and with each player defining their own systems, standardization has become the need of the hour. While some of the edge processing frameworks are evolving, OTA should be made capable of updating specific modules in an embedded system, like a mobile or laptop – more efficient and modular, instead of providing complete updates.

Partnerships that determine success

Many organizations are struggling  to find the right resources to develop, use and sustain devices that are feature-rich, reliable and cost-effective.  To overcome this, they should partner with service providers and domain experts to provide future-ready solutions, leverage cross-domain knowledge to increase efficiency, and ensure that they meet the high security and safety standards demanded by the connected landscape of the future.

This will help to deploy products faster and reduce total cost of ownership while ensuring consistent experience across the entire product lifecycle – from design and development to testing, production support, and post product introduction support across multiple domains and technologies.

Source: NASSCOM Communities

Written by Tinku Malayil Jose

on 03 Oct 2021

CoE Leader (Embedded Product Engineering)

Tinku leads the Embedded Product Engineering Center of Excellence at QuEST. He drives strategy and collaboration around smart products and devices  across different verticals, practices and technologies so as to provide optimized solution to customers. As head of the technology solution consultancy at QuEST, Tinku works closely with product teams to consistently roll out high quality products for Consumer Electronics, IoT/ IIoT, Automotive and Consumer Goods industries.