Salesforce IoT: What’s In It?
Smart technologies are everywhere: You have a smartphone in your pocket, many of us use smartwatches and fitness trackers, and smart houses are no longer the visualizations of a far-future but the reality of today. Internet of Things technology, more often referred to as IoT, is the ability of a device to communicate some information to another device without the necessity of human interaction.
Its amazing potential is spread from the hi-tech world to our everyday lives, including the business sphere. The market competition forces businesses to seek more ways to improve their interactions with customers, and here’s where smart CRM technologies like the Salesforce IoT platform come in handy.
Let’s try to answer the questions what is Salesforce IoT? and how can businesses and individuals use it to their advantage?
Salesforce IoT Cloud Overview
Like everything in the Salesforce universe, IoT cloud has its own peculiarities. One of them is the structure. The IoT Cloud is running on Salesforce Thunder, sometimes also called Salesforce Thunder IoT. It acts as a mechanism that collects the incoming events that go through the IoT platform, then processes them and enables triggering the actions based on these events. When it comes to Salesforce Thunder architecture, it’s designed in a way that would allow it to quickly accept and process the big data volumes entering the system. It сonsists of several solutions, each of them responsible for certain functionality, and ensures system stability including Salesforce Kafka, Heroku, and others. Here are their overviews and the description of the functions they perform:
Heroku as an IoT Platform
In order to support huge data massives, it’s necessary to have a reliable platform. In Salesforce, Heroku is used for these purposes. It’s a containerized system supporting all known programming languages that allows developers to build their applications, manage them, and make them scalable using all Cloud potential. Taking in today’s reality, it’s worth mentioning that apart from the reliability, it also offers a high level of security, as Heroku is regularly subjected to audits ensuring compliance with all certifications, including PCI and ISO.
Apache Kafka as an Information Transmitter
Using the TCP protocols, Apache Kafka is a powerful transmission solution that enables a connection between systems to exchange data. Using Kafka, Salesforce applications are capable of improving event messaging. Based on the producers’ API, it enables entering the information into the system, and using consumers' API, it provides the output. It’s applicable in systems like Uber, analyzing passenger location and matching it to the driver with the closest proximity. In a nutshell, it’s responsible for accepting the data and transferring this data to the recipient’s application.
Apache Spark as an Internal Data Processor
This framework enables proper data analysis inside the system and stores it on distributed machines. It also makes easier data processing based on the requests to this data. Its main function is to map the requests and their outputs. It’s often used in Machine Learning, analyzing the frequency of the requests and the given results to optimize the rendering of the most relevant information.
Apache Storm as Speed Booster in the Event Processing
The Storm is responsible for fast data processing in real-time that is capable of processing more than a million tasks per second on a node that enables fast information rendering between the systems. It’s built on the hierarchy of master and worker nodes that assign and execute correspondingly the tasks on the free slots and trigger the monitoring tools to ensure the health of the system.
Apache Cassandra as a powerful database management solution
Acting as a management system for NoSQL databases, it offers large data volume maintenance across clustering infrastructure with fault-proof data processing as it replicates data across multiple servers, ensuring system stability. Its main feature is distribution, meaning that every node that stores the information is equal to the other nodes storing the same information. This means every node can handle any requests (as opposed to Storm hierarchy) and ensure the reliability of the system in case a failure happens on one of the nodes. It also offers its own query language in addition to SQL offering an extra level of abstraction to the queries.
Using these features, the Salesforce IoT Cloud platform enables business growth and development in terms of relations with customers and boosts sales. When it comes to the real application, using Salesforce power makes it possible to set up the context in which the data received from a fitness tracker or heart monitoring device is processed and their users are proactively informed about some deviation from a normal rate. It would also include the instructions on how to avoid the negative consequences, increasing the trust associated with your brand and the great technology potential of the device.
Moreover, Salesforce is constantly improving its technologies to always stay ahead of the competition and move on when some features need the upgrade. Thus, the company has recently announced the end of the life for the Salesforce IoT Explorer edition that was used for IoT events management within Salesforce. They switched to the enhanced functionality of Lightning flows. It’s present in the Lightning experience and comes with the developer’s edition by default. When it comes to other options, Salesforce IoT Cloud pricing is not included in the plan and can be purchased at an extra cost.
Salesforce IoT use cases
Since we answered the question what is Salesforce IoT cloud, let’s move to the industries that already take advantage of it. Here are the use cases of IoT applications that completely transform the industries where it’s widely used:
Starting from the smart home technologies, including applications for the automatic conditioner system that adjusts to the current weather, coffee machines that can make a coffee relying on the alarm clock setup time, and fitness and sleep trackers, IoT technologies simplify everyday life for people that are ready to accept true technology into their reality
Salesforce IoT services are widely used in the IT sector for supporting various monitoring systems starting from the single website uptime check to some more complex sectors such as data center infrastructure where the devices can automatically act on the signs of DDoS attacks, and turn on additional cooling when the physical machines reach a certain level of temperature, thus saving a lot of investments for the companies.
With the usage of Salesforce IoT, it’s possible to detect some deviations in the manufacturing line, optimize the supply chain, and speed up production flows. Usually, the devices that take part in the processes related to manufacturing are equipped with the sensors gathering the data, and then they analyze it, helping to prevent incidents connected with the high pressure in machinery or to find out the reasons for slowdowns to make sure the final products are released without delay.
Health Services Sector
Here, the role of IoT cannot be overestimated, as it literally saves lives. With smart alert systems, it’s easier for medical personnel to be able to provide timely assistance to patients, with the glucose meters connected to a phone, it’s possible to track blood sugar levels to inform the correct insulin dose, use cardiac devices that measure the pressure and heart activity after strokes, and more. Moreover, when these devices are connected to centralized data gathering tools, it provides doctors with new patterns of the disease to make the treatment more effective.
Last but not least, the IoT technologies are widely used in alternative energy plants to cut energy costs, in ecosystems such as monitoring the temperatures in hives to combat bee population decreases, dam water control to prevent floods, and using smart technologies in the sphere of climate research in regards to global warming.
For sure, there are some IoT limitations connected to the fact that it takes time and a lot of data processing for AI to build some patterns and act on them with the same effectiveness that humans do now, but it offers a great opportunity to invest the resources now to be able to save much more in the long-run.
Incorporating Salesforce IoT strategy can take the client’s relationship for any business to a completely new level. Rather than relying on the reactive strategies of users contacting your support team when something goes wrong, it’s possible to prevent it and use proactive ways to communicate with clients, to force alerts when any system mechanism is under the risk of getting out of control and pull the triggers at the right time and in the right place when users perform some actions to encourage them to buy more and develop a loyalty to your services overall.