IBM Continuous Engineering Connector for Internet of Things

The Continuous Engineering (CE) Connector for Internet of Things (IoT) helps you use Continuous Engineering capabilities to design and build dependable enterprise-level IoT solutions by using the IBM Watson® Internet of Things Platform and IBM® IoT Connection Service.

Business context

The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving businesses to transform themselves into connected, digital enterprises to take advantage of new opportunities for optimizing operations, increasing customer engagement and loyalty, developing new revenue streams and business models, disrupting existing markets, and innovating faster with an IoT feedback loop that informs business and engineering leaders.

But being fast to market, which is challenging in its own right, is not enough. IoT solutions that interact with the physical world through sensors and actuators can cause serious harm, financial loss, or reputation damage if the solution fails, or performs incorrectly. Doing enterprise-scale transformations to realize enterprise-level business value requires enterprise-appropriate systems and software engineering processes.

Using Continuous Engineering methods to build IoT solutions

IoT solutions have many components that are typically hosted on multiple runtime environments and developed by multiple teams. Coordinating across these teams while you design, build, and transform an enterprise solution is especially challenging.

The IBM Continuous Engineering development tools and methods combined with the IBM Watson IoT Platform and IBM IoT Connection Service help development teams to design and implement complex, reliable, and secure IoT solutions. The ELM Connector for IoT extends these capabilities to support scalable development of IBM Watson IoT Platform and IBM IoT Connection Service solutions.

With the connector, teams extend their development practices to include other teams that are building IoT solution components by using the IBM Watson IoT Platform and IBM IoT Connection Service. If you use the connector, you can visualize your IoT solution, including devices, rules, and Node-RED flows, in IBM Engineering Lifecycle Optimization - Engineering Insights (ENI) views. Views facilitate linking IoT Platform and IBM IoT Connection Service artifacts to any other Continuous Engineering artifacts, including requirements, work items, and test cases. You can also use ENI for traceability and impact analysis of potential changes to your IoT solutions.

The connector offers a variety of capabilities:
  • Suite of end-to-end capabilities such as requirements, change and configuration management, quality management, traceability and impact analysis, Watson™ IoT Platform, and IoT Connection Service.
  • Simplifies navigation across the environments
  • Traceability across the development lifecycle
  • Helps teams that use different tools and development practices to collaborate in building reliable IoT solutions
  • Tailored solution offerings that match the problem space and the skill level of the users
The connector also helps you accomplish the following tasks:
  • Turn existing products into connected products.
  • Innovate faster with an IoT feedback loop to business leaders and engineering, including use of Watson services for advanced analytics.
  • Achieve consistency and robustness across the development process to enable efficient, cost effective, and reliable (high quality) implementation.
    • Design complex system-of-systems solutions (requirements management, systems engineering, MBSE).
    • Manage change effectively across the IoT solution lifecycle (change requests following customized workflow, traceability, and impact analysis of lifecycle artifacts).
    • Manage risk (particularly deployment risks) and respond more effectively when risks materialize.
    • Enable validation of the solution architecture against the system requirements and use cases.
    • Improve development collaboration across geographical and organizational boundaries.
  • Develop your solution design ground truth necessary to estimate costs and effort.

Solution architecture

The connector provides an OSLC server that exposes IBM Watson IoT Platform and IBM IoT Connection Service resources by using standard OSLC capabilities, enabling them to participate in change management, impact analysis, requirements-driven development, requirements-driven testing, and other common development practices. These objects include links to the actual resources in the IBM Watson IoT Platform, IBM IoT Connection Service and Node-RED, simplifying navigation between these environments.

The following diagram shows how the ELM Connector for IoT environment works with the Watson IoT Platform and with the IoT Connection Service:

Connector concept diagram

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