IoT Blog
IoT Blog

Mobile World Congress IoT Beer Tap Demo Shows Why Data Orchestration is a Game-Changer for Supply Chain Management

by Remy Marcotorchino, Director of Marketing, Industrial & Infrastructure
For many companies, IoT-enabled asset tracking and monitoring is the Holy Grail of their digital transformation initiatives, enabling them to streamline supply chain operations, accelerate product delivery times, avoid supply chain and delivery bottlenecks, reduce damage to assets, optimize inventories, prevent theft and even adopt usage-based “equipment-as-a-service” business models. Yet, when these companies try to actually build and deploy IoT asset monitoring applications, they have often been frustrated. 

The infrastructure needed to test, commercialize and scale these applications requires many different types of expertise—in IoT device hardware, wireless networking, embedded software, wireless connectivity, back-end cloud software, IoT protocols and cybersecurity—that are difficult for these companies to acquire. This complexity makes it very difficult for companies to focus on building innovative new applications, as they have to devote significant resources to building out their own IoT infrastructure from scratch. 

In addition, companies find that this complexity makes it difficult for them to scale proof of concept IoT applications from a few types of devices in one geographic area to thousands of different types of devices located around the world. In building their own infrastructure, they also have to build their own connections to different ERP, CRM and other business applications if they hope to fully realize the value of these applications. This disconnect between proofs of concept and scalable, production applications that can be easily connected to on-premises or cloud-based business applications is one of the main reasons so many IoT asset monitoring projects have stalled or been abandoned.

However, at MWC Barcelona last month, HCL Technologies and Sierra Wireless demoed an IoT beer tap demo  to showcase how Sierra Wireless’ recently previewed device-to-cloud (D2C) data orchestration platform, OctaveTM, finally provides companies with the platform they need to easily develop, rapidly commercialize, globally scale and quickly connect IoT applications to their IT infrastructure. 

IoT Beer Tap Demo Shows the Power of Data Orchestration

Connected over the Sierra Wireless LTE-M LPWA cellular network, the demo included mangOH Red open source hardware and the Octave platform to securely extract, orchestrate and act on data collected at the edge and integrated into the SAP Cloud Platform.

Real-time monitoring of data collected by sensors attached to the keg provides answers to key questions, such as – has the keg been opened, is the beer cold enough, how much beer has been consumed, does the brewery know when a refill is needed and is the brewery invoicing only for the beer consumed – enabling an exact pour every time and the ability to replace the keg before customers are waiting.

From the point of view of companies looking to launch their own IoT initiatives, the most important characteristic of this IoT beer tap demo is that all the elements required to move it into production are already in place. Using Octave, HCL was able to quickly connect mangOH to the beer dispenser, an LPWA cellular network, the cloud, the SAP business application and even a blockchain ledger in just a few hours. In addition, this system could be scaled globally with only a few modifications.

Octave Is a Game Changer for IoT Supply Chain Application Development and Deployment

Octave, in combination with mangOH, makes it simple for companies to pilot, put into production and scale applications to monitor their assets securely – without requiring development teams to acquire or hire for IoT device hardware, wireless connectivity or other highly specialized skillsets. With Octave, companies can focus on building applications beneficial for their core business instead of building IoT infrastructure from scratch.

Octave provides the entire IoT infrastructure, everything from the device to the network, and enables the complete orchestration of data, from the assets at the edge to the enterprise applications, whether in the cloud or on-premises. It enables the integration of IoT application data into ERP, CRM, data analytics and other business applications, while also enhancing the functionality and value of this data with blockchain. In the case of the MWC demo, for example, data on the dispenser’s location – whether a keg is in the dispenser, the amount of beer in the keg and the temperature of the beer in the keg – is integrated into the cloud-based SAP business application, and attendees were able to view this data via a monitor in the booth. The chain of custody for the data is also established using blockchain. A key benefit of adding this connectivity to containers is that companies can track whether an asset has been opened or used, so they can invoice immediately, rather than waiting for months as is necessary with current billing strategies. 

While the MWC IoT beer tap demo was simple, it is a game-changer for supply chain asset monitoring and inventory management IoT applications. It demonstrates how, with Octave, companies can now quickly and easily develop, commercialize and scale asset-monitoring IoT applications that track and monitor the location and status of assets as they move through complex supply chains. Application developers can build secure and fully functional IoT proofs of concept using web APIs and JavaScript – and they do not need expertise in embedded devices or other IoT edge communication technologies. This means they can accelerate time to market by rapidly moving from concept to pilot and then just as rapidly scale into production, providing them with a significant competitive advantage. 

The demo also showed how Octave can make these applications more powerful, adaptable, secure and cost-effective by eliminating much of the complexity around securely extracting, orchestrating and acting on data from edge devices, as well as the complexity related to sending the right data from these devices at the right time to cloud-based business applications. 

Start with Sierra to learn more about how Sierra’s Octave D2C data orchestration platform can help you reimagine your future with IoT applications and accelerate the time to market for making that future a reality.