IoT Architecture Non-Functional Challenges for Digital Transformation

There are several challenges related to IoT solutions in digital transformation initiatives. The problems are from multiple angles, such as business, architectural, technical, and operational. In this article, I aim to highlight vital non-functional aspects which require focus in the digital transformation programs. The most common non-functional challenges for IoT are mobility, scalability, capacity, extensibility, interoperability, network bottlenecks, and connectivity.

I was looking at the parliament house from my office balcony while authoring this article

Mobility is a common IoT Architecture non-functional aspect affecting the solutions across the modernizing enterprise and transformation programs. IoT devices need to move a lot, and they change their IP addresses and networks frequently based on their locations. For example, the routing protocols, such as RPL, must reconstruct the DODAG (Destination Oriented, Directed Acyclic Graph) each time a node goes off the network or joins the network, which adds to the system a substantial overhead. These granular technical details, which concern mobility, may have a severe impact on solution performance, availability, security, and cost in digital transformation programs.

IoT solutions for digital transformation initiatives require overall scalability and capacity plans. IoT applications integrate with and serve multiple devices in the ecosystem. Managing the distribution of devices across networks and the enterprise application landscape can be complicated.
We may need a dynamic increase or decrease in capacity, coupled with vertical and horizontal scalability and extensibility of the solutions in the enterprise. IoT applications must be tolerant of new services and devices joining the network at a fast speed. Addressing this challenge requires dynamic scalability and enormous extensibility.

Interoperability means that heterogeneous devices, solution components, elements, and protocols need to be able to work with each other harmoniously. Maintaining interoperability in an IoT ecosystem is another challenge owing to the wealth of platforms, solution components, devices, and protocols used in IoT ecosystems.

Network bottlenecks adversely affect availability, performance, and the cost of products or services in productions, making the service level agreements challenging to meet. Apart from latency related to the distance, several other factors are causing the network bottlenecks. Some common causes of network bottlenecks are malfunctioning IoT devices, having an excessive number of devices connected to the networks, limited bandwidth, and overcapacity for server, storage, and data utilization.

Several other considerations also need to be made when it comes to connectivity related to IoT solutions in our digital transformation programs; for example, the type of internet services, internet service providers, usage cost, and communication speed.

These are only a few critical non-functional challenges that we need to consider while analyzing the requirements for IoT solutions in digital transformation programs. There are many more concerns that we need to drill down in a granular way methodically. Quality of services truly matters for IoT digital transformation solutions both for service levels of the business organizations and the satisfaction of the client consumers.

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