A common question of the day, “what are we going to do in the IoT world?”. My typical response to service providers is, “well, that was last week…” All kidding aside, we live in the connected generation. Network access is the new oxygen. The price to be paid is complexity and scale. A good reference for what IoT use cases exist is this bemyapp article about Ten B2B use cases for IoT.
But what needs to be discussed are how to group these, what are the common threads. Its best to categorize them into three buckets. Environmental monitoring of smart meters to reduce human interaction requirements. Tracking logistics through RFID is another common trend with IoT communities. The most common is client monitoring. In mobility, handset tracking and trending is common in CEM. In an access network its monitoring the cable modems for millions of customers. Which ever category your use case may be, the challenges will be similar. How do you deal with the fact that your network becomes tens of millions of small devices instead of thousands of regular sized devices? How do you handle that fact that billions of pieces of data need to be processed, but only a fraction would be immediately useful? How can you break down the network to human understandable segmentations?
The solution is simple – Unified Service Assurance. With a single source of truth, you can see the forest through the trees. While the “things” in IoT are important, how they relay information and perform their work are equally important. Monitoring holistic allows better understanding of the IoT environment – single point solutions will not address IoT. Normalizing data enables for higher scale, while maintaining the high reliability.
Now that the network has been unified into a single source of truth, operations can start simplification of their workload. First step, become service oriented. Performance, fault, and topology is too much data – its the services you must rely upon. How are the doing, what are the problems, how to fix them, and where you need to augment your network. Next up, correlate everything – you need to look at the 1% of the 1% of the 1% to be successful. KQIs are necessary, because the trees in the forest are antidotal information – the AFFECT. Seeing the forest (as the KQI) allows you to become proactive and move quicker, be more decisive because you understand the trends and what is normal. Its time to stop let the network manage you, and start managing your network.
After unifying your view and simplifying your approach, its time to automate. The whole point of IoT is massive scale and automation, but if your SA solution cannot integrate openly with the orchestration solution, how will you ever automate resolution & maintenance? We all must realize, human-based lifecycle management is not possible at IoT scale. Its time to match the value of your network with the value of managing it.
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