Industrial: FEATURE ARTICLE

Coming in Cloud and Clear: Akenza is the IoT Solution Your Business Needs

The Swiss IoT platform provider is named a Silver Winner in the IoT Innovator Awards’ ‘IoT Cloud Platform – Commercial and Industrial, Europe’ category

It’s no secret that building an IoT solution can prove stress-inducing, even for the savviest of IT teams. One merely has to be reminded of the grim statistics to get the cortisol pumping: That is, more than 75 percent of IoT projects fail, with 35 percent of them stalling at the proof-of-concept phase. These percentages not only are shocking – especially considering that the IoT market is projected to reach a value of $11.1 trillion by 2025 – but also downright disheartening, since many businesses pour inordinate amounts of resources into their would-be IoT solutions. 

“A large number of IoT projects fail and almost all of them for the same reasons,” says akenza Co-CEO, Jonas Schmid. Those reasons? According to Schmid, IoT projects typically fall prey to three main stumbling blocks: the underestimation of project complexity, unclear business goals, and a lack of skilled professionals.

More times than not, customers will misjudge just how large an initial investment is required during development and throughout the process of creating a customized IoT solution, Schmid says. Indeed, customized solutions are often laden with hidden costs tied to consulting, setup, administration and support. To further complicate matters, many companies attempt to scale beyond their means at the outset of their initial IoT projects, which means that resources will eventually run out.

As well, despite the best of intentions, many businesses will embark on IoT projects with undefined business goals, which means – while they’re busy collecting, analyzing and becoming mired in data – they’re often forgetting about the roadmap that is needed to guide these findings. This indicates a clear lack of collaboration between IT and business leaders, according to Schmid.

An inexperienced team can also ground IoT projects before they have a chance to take off, since few companies enjoy the luxury of having a staff that is equipped to work across different systems simultaneously (hardware engineers with software savvy and security pros who are wizards with wireless networks, for example, are about as common as hen’s teeth). That’s why finding an agile IoT platform provider adept at scaling for large projects is crucial for companies. Unfortunately, the search for such a provider can often times prove tedious, since there exists an unmistakable skills shortage in the IoT industry at large.

An IoT solution made simply smart

As luck would have it, the Zürich-based akenza is as agile as they come, helping companies across Europe construct their own smart IoT solutions without requiring them to have internal IoT knowledge. With its simple and secure management of smart devices, connectivity and data, akenza’s IoT application enablement platform allows customers to build a bridge between the physical world and the cloud, all while reducing their risks, minimizing their costs, and accelerating their time to market.

The judging panel for the 2021 IoT Innovator Awards recognized akenza’s role in guiding the IoT evolution towards broader market applicability, which is why it named the company a Silver award winner in its ‘IoT Cloud Platform – Commercial and Industrial, Europe’ category. Specifically, akenza’s straightforward and much-needed approach to cutting through the complexity businesses face when creating IoT solutions is what impressed IoT Innovator judges the most.

The IoT Innovator Awards honor the best of the Internet of Things businesses and products across the globe by recognizing those pioneers who are channeling for users the infinite potential of the IoT in spectacularly innovative and valuable ways.

Verticals on the horizon as far as the eye can see

Akenza’s horizontal IoT platform can adapt to organizations across virtually any vertical – whether it’s smart city, smart building, or industry – and can also handily accommodate every size and shape of business, from startup to enterprise and from one device to colossal IoT deployments. The platform’s standout features include: device management, connectivity management, connectivity-as-a-service, and advanced user management. 

Specifically, akenza’s device management capability allows users full control over their assets, supporting them in every phase of the device lifecycle and offering a comprehensive set of features to manage their device fleet at scale.

Meanwhile, the connectivity management feature allows users to seamlessly integrate and manage devices across a range of technologies and protocols. In essence, akenza’s technology-agnostic architecture sidesteps technology lock-in, which effectively makes it possible for users to register any type of device via any connectivity technology; process the data; and make it accessible to any application in the cloud. 

Similarly, akenza’s Connectivity-as-a-Service offerings allow companies to quickly onboard devices, so that IoT developers, CTOs and R&D heads are spared the headache of having to hassle with different connectivity contracts and accounts.

Akenza also integrated Advanced User Management functionality into its platform in direct response to customer need for a more fine-grained permission system for individual users on customer projects. This role-based access control feature allows various stakeholders – such as the project managers and developers who are involved during the lifecycle of an IoT project – full access rights so they can collaborate securely.

Low-complexity equals high return

Perhaps one of the most attractive parts of akenza’s platform is its low-complexity, or low-code, nature, which means, of course, companies can help to bring an IoT solution to life without needing coding skills or specific technical expertise. This, in turn, will translate to immediate savings for companies, since they won’t need to add IoT experts to the payroll or alternatively, pay for extensive IoT consulting before launching their IoT solutions.

Akenza’s low-code process relies on four noteworthy features:

No-code Data Flow. This allows users to define the data processing chain from the device to the cloud in three simple steps, all without needing to enter a single line of code. Being able to take charge of IoT data streams in this way is essential if companies want to generate valuable information from raw sensor data. To that end, connectors allow users not only to specify the destination of their data but also store it for future use. Akenza’s platform ensures that data is reliably processed and forwarded or stored.

Device Type Library. Akenza’s extensive (100+!) library includes all of the pre-integrated devices that are most commonly used in the IoT market (users unable to find their device type even have the option of customizing their own). An akenza device type can be likened to a data parser that automatically decodes the raw data received from a standard IoT device into usable, structured data (such as temperature or humidity readings, CO2 levels, or any sensor data the device transmits).

No-code Rule Engine. Companies can also take the reins on their IoT projects by applying their own business logic to their infrastructure, which allows them to process and analyze data from multiple devices simultaneously and then trigger actions and alerts based on their sensor data. Actions can include sending text or email notifications, sending downlinks, or aggregating data (once again, no coding skills needed!).

Data Visualization. The akenza platform also provides an incisive data visualization feature, which gives IoT developers the first insights about their smart solution. Users can opt for built-in data visualization for a direct overview of data from their device. Alternatively, they can easily connect to a dashboard builder, or they can use one of akenza’s output connectors to state-of-the-art cloud analytics tools such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Kinesis.

Best (use) case scenarios

Solutions built by akenza clearly run the gamut, spanning a vast variety of verticals. For example, the company enjoys long-standing relationships with facility management provider, ISS Switzerland and global supplier, Georg Fischer, along with numerous other small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

ISS – one of the world’s leading and largest facility management providers – is developing a range of innovative IoT-enabled digital facility services (including workplace occupancy, indoor air quality monitoring, and dynamic washroom cleaning, people counting, service on demand, and oil tank monitoring), all of which are supported by the akenza platform as white label solutions.

In the case of Georg Fischer, akenza digitally retrofitted one of the company’s flagship products to enable remote monitoring capabilities and new cloud services. Akenza’s strong IoT platform connected the company’s sanitary automation system to the cloud to create a production-ready solution in a few months and with minimal investments.

This little biz went to market much sooner

Clearly, building a successful IoT solution is a gargantuan task. But, when businesses make the decision to outsource non-core areas of that solution to an IoT platform provider as adept and agile as akenza, then they’ve suddenly reduced their costs, improved product quality and accelerated their time to market. With akenza’s self-service, off-the-shelf solutions and low-complexity features such as a no-code rule engine and data flows, even IT neophytes can contribute to their company’s collaborative IoT solution. Now that’s what we call Incredibly Outstanding Team-building (emphasis on the ’IoT’, naturally).

Kim Kay is the editor-in-chief of IoT Innovator. You can reach her at kim_kay@iotinnovator.com.


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