If you use IOT or M2M in corporate projects, sooner or later, you will need to implement a tool to build reports. There is no way you can escape it. Having a graphical visualization of data is just the top of the iceberg. Believe us, Business Intelligence is a huge iceberg you don’t to crash into. In this post we want to share with you our knowledge and experience developing M2M projects for large companies. In all of these projects there is always a reporting tool for business management. In this post we will also present you a real example of one of customers and how they use reports.
About Carriots and BI Reports: Carriots does not have report features,although we have just released a feature to create graphs from your data. Why? Because we think it is better to use an external report tool.
1. Why you should care about BI Reports?
It is all about the difference between Data and Information.
In the bubble of engineers and developers you mainly use Raw Data (readings from sensors or applications variables) and transform it into Processed Data (like events, alarms, actions) or simply Structured Data (like historical databases). Then you build your application.
In the bubble of Business Management the key element is useful information for business purposes. In fact all the information should be aimed to support decision making. BI uses technologies, processes, and applications to analyse mostly internal, structured data and business processes. IOT business projects are very often involved in business processes, either for automating or to supervise them. That’s why your IOT devices will become an additional source of data and will require integration with BI tools. At the end of the day, corporate IOT projects are developed because, somewhere on a report their Return Over Investment is positive.
Reports are only a small part of BI. But it is the basic tool managers use to handle and analyse data to extract information.
2. Who would be the users of these reports?
There are many types of users that will require a reporting tool. It all depends on the processes related (technical or business) and the hierarchical level of the user (from supervisor to the CEO). Some users will require a tool to handle the data and create reports. The C-level users will only require a dashboard and some key indicators.
So these are some types of users (although we are certain to forget some):
- Internal Technical users: Technicians involved in product design, manufacturing, or maintenance.
- External Technical users: Especially manufactures of supplies used, involved in QA or maintenance.
- Internal Business users: all levels of management. Some managers produce reports while others read them.
- External Business users: Mainly customers that use report as part of the service.
- External users non related to the project: Your IOT devices can capture valuable data for users you don’t know, like Smart City information for citizens (see the example below).
Take for example a tool called Zoho Reports. These are the types of reports you can have:
This picture is taken from a project of Wairbut , one of customers. Wairbut is developing a prototype of intelligent pedestrian crossing and uses Carriots as a Backend solution to speed up the development of the IT system. In this project the device that controls the crossing is a lightweight industrial PC. The engineers of Wairbut want to monitor and analyse some status data of the device with Zoho Reports while device management is done completely using Carriots device management module. The engineers and technical managers developing the project use these reports. But since the device is used to detect risk situations where pedestrian can be hit by a car, under a Smart City concept, this device can provide useful information to citizens or city managers. A report tool for these types of users is the best way to embrace open data of cities.
3. What type of information do you want to integrate with BI?
All the information you can capture can be very useful if you are capable or processing it or at least structure it. This statement is so generic that we think it is better to go deeper into the previous example and check what was done.
Wairbut used Carriots Status Steam feature to send some operating values of the device, like memory used and disk space used. They also used some listeners in Carriots to set alarms in case any of these parameters could cause a problem. Having alarms and graphs was not enough. They need to track how these values evolved on different versions of the embedded software. Therefore they decided to “push” this information into Zoho Reports to log it and analyse it there. These are some of the reports they got:
4. How you can do it?
The Carriots Way (Easy and Fast Integration): If you want to do an easy and fast setup to have a report tool in less than 1 hour, we recommend you to use Zoho Reports and follow our tutorial to integrate data in Carriots with Zoho Reports .
But you can also integrate a full BI suite like any of these (to name a few):
In theses case the integration will be very similar to the integration with Zoho Reports although you will need to adapt to their APIs.