There has always been a great deal of lip service given to the idea of learning by doing, but not much has been done about it. I am sure like me, you must have come across many situations where you need to read a book or a blog post in order to get some sense of clarity – after which you exactly know what needs to be done right away.
The world of internet has deeply rooted itself in our schools; due to which e-learning has become a core part of our education system. Not only in education, the internet has become embedded in nearly everything. I personally believe that IoT is a hoodie that zips ups to create a virtual reality (VR) interface.
Over the past few years, I have been a lot involved in multiple projects based on IoT in different domains ranging from form optimisation of water and wastewater networks to employee safety and identification of new oil reserves, etc. I have spotted a thing that is pretty much common to all these projects, i.e. the gap between Theory and Practice in doing IoT projects. For example,
When It Comes To IoT Deployment
There was a situation where the water network of a city needs to be optimised to reduce leakage and save energy. Which required an installation of sensors, such as pressure sensors on the water pipes. The only problem was that the city has no idea where exactly the 50-100 years old water pipes are? – So what can be done? How could we proceed further with smart home or a smart factory?
- Theory – We have all information required as per plan on IoT deployment.
- Practice – The information we have on the environment is limited and we have to plan for the unexpected during IoT deployment.
Next Is The Installation Cost
Not it is but obvious to assume that there must be roads and buildings built on the top of the old pipe network. So there is no point in installing sensors. After all, installing a sensor in the ground means – an expensive construction project. What about installing a sensor in a smart factory – what does it means to the assembly line?
- Theory – IoT sensors and devices prices are going down.
- Practice – IoT sensors and devices installation may be complex, expensive, and may cause inconvenience to the user/customer to the level that they will lead to the cancellation of the project.
The Battery Life
Battery life is one of the major challenges found in any employee safety project and any other project that makes use of devices that aren’t physically connected to power such wearables. However, we have many wearables devices and many sensors to choose from but not many of those can hold for a full shift (12 hours) while acquiring and transmitting data.
- Theory – Many wearable devices to choose from.
- Practice – Most wearable devices are not suitable for the enterprise working environments as recharging is required during the shift.
What About Convenience?
The term convenience will be well understood by those who have tried wearing shoes that are too small. IoT sensors require to be seamlessly assimilated in our daily routine, they should become unnoticeable. With the maturity of technology that exists today – this is far from reality.
- Practice – IoT devices usually require high maintenance – connectivity is lost from time to time, the battery needs to be recharged, and sometimes the device is just not designed well and is inconvenient.
Last But Certainly Not The Least, Connectivity
Well, in today’s world of connected devices, the term connectivity is no more an issue, right? Think again…. IoT devices are the ones which require a very reliable network to make sure data is not lost. Connectivity in large factory floors, areas with lots of metals, underground mines etc is a significant issue – both from the installation perspective and from costs.
- Theory – It is a connected world.
- Practice – In industrial settings, connectivity is a significant part of the project planning and costs.
So, the moral of the story is when you are working on your IoT project, make sure to plan for the unplanned, try to expect all the problems that can occur and plan things accordingly. Do not assume anything, just validate it.