Transform Your Legacy Products With IoT

Connect the Disconnected: Transform Your Legacy Products With IoT

You’ve probably read a lot about the benefits of IoT in industrial and home applications. 

It enhances customer-centric functionality and plugs you into enriched data ecosystems that skyrocket productivity. But it’s expensive. For instance, Capgemini research indicates that building a greenfield smart auto manufacturing factory could cost $1.3 billion. That’s 200 times more than a traditional brownfield site.

So if you’re already heavily invested in traditional tools and products, is the power of IoT out of reach? Not at all, because IoT upgrades can transform your legacy products in a more economical way than starting from scratch. 

However, IoT devices and components connected to legacy systems can provide the anchorage for various types of cyberattacks. And the more smart devices you use in your transformation, the greater the potential attack surface.

This blog explains how you connect your legacy products with IoT while staying safe and secure.  

The 3 top benefits of making dumb products smart

Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with a lot of legacy equipment, products, and infrastructure per se. 

In fact, the very reason much of it has lasted for decades (or even longer) is that it’s fantastically functional and users/customers love it. So eradicating it in one fell swoop wouldn’t only be prohibitively expensive: it might also diminish the brand value your popular products have helped build.

The core risk of legacy products remaining disconnected is that they will become obsolete before IoT connectivity allows you to protect their positive features and functions and, in time, replace them completely. 

And apart from the immediate benefits of making digitization and automation more economically accessible, transforming legacy products with IoT unlocks the following amazing rewards:

  1. You smash data silos by retrofitting with IoT and the latest analytics optimizes old products in the same way it does new ones. In an industrial environment, this can reduce unplanned downtime and streamline production. In home IoT, it allows you to capitalize on the existing brand value of a device customers know and love by adding new dimensions of connectivity and functionality. 
  2. You make your legacy products more technologically sophisticated and your brand more competitive with IoT. You benefit from brilliant new insights on how they’re being used, and you have the capacity to service them remotely, run secure firmware updates and upsell smoothly with extra paid services.
  3. You allay the fears of end users who perceive dumb products as safe because they’re disconnected by using a holistic, integrated cybersecurity platform. Cyber as a Feature (CaaF) is a powerful marketing tool for domestic and industrial IoT buyers prioritizing privacy and legal compliance. 

So now we’ve covered some of the brilliant benefits of upgrading legacy products with IoT, how exactly do you do it? Your answer is coming right up.

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How to make dumb products smart

IoT is revolutionizing everything from farm equipment to heavy industry plants and employee workstations. Its applications are endless, but here are 4 practical ways you can use it to make dumb products smart:

1. RFID tags

One exciting way to connect everyday objects to a more immersive and interactive world is through using RFID tags. For example, the University of Michigan’s innovative IDAct system uses RFID tags and associated software to generate intelligence with 96% accuracy in an interactive environment. The system could be used for everything from monitoring medication dispensers for elderly people living independently, to optimizing posture by adjusting smart chairs for remote workers. 

2. Smart sensors

A lack of real-time operational visibility is a huge concern for organizations using legacy equipment: some old systems can generate data, but the relevant reports can take days or weeks to produce, by which time it’s often too late to adjust, address problems and minimize damage. But smart sensors provide the real-time insights you need to identify the source of performance issues like loss of speed or quality and act immediately to resolve them. By sending data to onsite servers, edge devices or the cloud, you can keep your finger on the pulse of environmental conditions and assembly line components 24/7.

3. Edge gateways

IoT is key to the convergence of OT (operational technology) and IT (informational technology) that readies any industrial setting for Industry 4.0, and edge gateways are crucial for making this connection. When gateway devices with industrial and IT interfaces are installed in factories, they translate protocols, connect equipment, sensors, applications, and databases securely, and monitor communications for system security breaches caused by malware.

4. Video cameras

With high-resolution video cameras available at a low cost, it’s possible for your smart factory to stream images back to an edge computing device for analytics on everything from staff without the appropriate clearance entering secure areas to machine components overheating or spillages of hazardous materials. Combined with sensor and historical data, video data means you can minimize risk to employees, the public and the environment and take preventative measures that make shutdowns far less likely. 

Cybersecurity: completing your transformation mission

We’ve explored the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of IoT legacy transformation. But your mission is in jeopardy unless you seal the deal with an armor-plated cybersecurity solution like Firedome, and make sure that you’re capitalizing on the cachet of Cyber as a Feature (CaaF):

  • To demolish data silos, gather valuable data insights, reduce downtime and enable secure updates, you’ll need a strong cyber security agent. Deploying a solution like Firedome allows you to capitalize on the power of connectivity while maintaining data privacy. This type of AI-based automated agent enables real-time 24/7 lifecycle detection and protection against ransomware, malware, adware and any other threat that appears on the cyber horizon. 
  • With cybersecurity in place, you then leverage CaaF as a value proposition. IoT security is the most powerful differentiator in markets where privacy fears are often the main barrier to adoption. Clearly showcasing the ways that you’re switched on to cybersecurity can be the clincher for lucrative deals: our specialized marketing launchpad service can support you every step of the way. 

By implementing a cyber solution that makes your IoT legacy transformation safe and sustainable, and making sure the right stakeholders know all about it, you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s.

Final thoughts

The advantages of transforming legacy products with IoT are substantial for a diverse number of industries. 

But the high cost of entry for starting with a blank slate and investing in entirely new devices and infrastructure is a perceived barrier for many organizations. And genuine cybersecurity fears are also off putting for many decision makers and budget holders.

However, adapting existing products for the connected world makes IoT much more accessible for enterprises of all sizes and prevents legacy estates which are still functional at the moment from rapidly spiraling into obsolescence as competitors upgrade. And sophisticated cybersecurity solutions like Firedome provide peace of mind for stakeholders sensitive to the risks of an expanding cyberattack surface.

If you want to:

  • Transition to Industry 4.0 smoothly and safely
  • Iron out the creases where OT and IT converge
  • Remain competitive while you manageably migrate to full digitalization

Then using IoT to connect legacy products (while implementing the right cybersecurity solution) could be your silver bullet. 

Want to stay relevant in the connected world? Let’s talk!

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