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IBM Design Portfolio – Watson Internet Of Things

The world of products is getting increasingly complex

Our clients need an ability to respond to market demands and optimize reuse to deliver product lines of products. As products and systems become more complex, engineering effort multiplies.
  • THINGS are getting Intelligent, Instrumented and Interconnected
  • 6.4 billion connected THINGS in use by 2016 30% rise from previous year
  • On-board devices runs 100 million lines of code in a premium car
  • Layers of Products and Services, connecting as System of Systems, are delivers exponential value to a Smarter Planet
How can IBM Watson IoT make our clients successful?
Let me describe what we offer to our IoT clients.

Watson IoT Platform

In 2015 I joined research on the Watson IoT Platform
The clients for this solution are the Operators of the IoT products built by the Makers using the Continuous Engineering platform

Early research results across IoT Platform partners indicate

  • IBM ranked as innovation leader
  • Early client technology adoption
  • Rapid technology and market innovation
  • Limited standardization
  • IoT Platform of cloud service integrations
  • Connections from millions and millions of devices
  • Resulting in big data
  • Client business needs driven by device data analytics
  • Business models around data API economy
What hills has been defined for the IoT Platform?

Watson IoT Platform Hills

The solution is decomposed into four major areas

  • IoT Connect
  • IoT Information Management
  • IoT Analytics
  • IoT Risk Management

Hills are also defined for the Platform

The hills are aimed at the IoT Personas identified Let us look at a lifecycle view of these personas

Watson IoT Personas


The IoT personas has been derived from and validated with clients. We find that they well represent the variability across industries and organisations.

To date, key personas in our design has been

  • Bob and Archie discovering, playing and trying IoT
  • Oscar and Sally on-boarding the platform
  • Lester setting up his maintenance team at a client site
  • Sally for running day-to-day operations on registered devices
Do we have more details on these personas?
Lets look at the Sally persona

Sally the System Operator



Sally is one of the most frequently used personas in the design

  • Sally is invited to the platform by Oscar
  • Sally is configuring roles and permissions
  • Sally on-boards the LOB team to the platform
  • Sally configures a workspace for the Heathrow services team
  • Sally is configuring a DevOps dashboard to monitor services and devices

Platform of Platforms

An area of intense research is the platforms of platforms strategy.
We are discovering rapid innovation and expanding partner services in this area. External platform services are integrated into the device model. Examples of such services are Weather or Asset management.

3rd party device or gateway vendors are expanding their service by Device Management and Analytics services on the cloud. Scenarios are developed on the API integrations for delegation of responsibility for Device Management across platforms of platforms
Network providers are deploying new low-power and long-range technologies to make any THING a connected device. Scenarios are developed on integrations using device and service APIs.

Integrated Platform Experience



One of the IoT Platform hills is the design of a single platform user experience for the IoT personas.

“A user can sign into the platform and get instant access to everything they need to perform his or her job, be that device management, data analytics or whatever, from one central point”

  • Single sign on directly into the platform
  • Intuitive navigation to and across platform capabilities
  • A common look and feel across capabilities
  • Overview of the of IoT system using board and cards
  • Analytics rules, actions and notifications
  • Policies for controlling device connections and ensuring compliance with safety levels
  • Access control across users, devices and applications
  • Configuration of extensions to the platform

The usability and design takes a quantum leap forward with the new design (upper left) compared to the as-is design (lower left)

Platforms of Platforms


The Watson IoT Platform has become a hub for an open ecosystem of IoT platform, gateway, device and service providers. The hill for platform of platform design is enabling a transparency to devices, data and commands cross such platforms.

Chris the Application Developer and Marsha the Asset Analyst can communicate with devices connected through a 3rd party provider as easily as if they were connected directly to the Watson IoT Platform

Examples of designs enabling platform of platform are

  • 3rd party platform vendors are using the Gateway MQTT protocol to register and connect devices 3rd party platform in the Watson IoT Platform.
  • 3rd party platform, device or gateway vendors are expanding their services on Device Management on the cloud. Scenarios has been developed on custom commands for Device Management across platforms of platforms
  • External platform services are integrated to enrich information model of devices. Scenarios has been developed to integrate Weather or Asset management.
  • Network providers are deploying new low-power and long-range technologies to make any THING a connected device. Scenarios has been developed to integrate external service APIs.

Design for Gateways and Managed Devices


In 2015 I delivered design concepts and a user experience design for gateway support in the Watson IoT Platform.

The gateway design is enabling

  • Gateways as a new class of devices.
  • A consistent user experience for all devices, regardless if connected directly to the platform or managed by a gateway
  • Supporting consistent browsing and filtering of all devices in a single device list
  • Supporting navigation across gateways and their managed devices
  • Browsing all devices connecting though a GW, or the gateway connecting a device.

The gateway design has enabled other related designs in 2016

  • Design for Edge gateways.
  • Usage of gateways for platform to platform integrations
  • Design to improve and restrict connections for trusted and untrusted gateways

Read more about Gateway capability on the Watson IoT Platform blog

How is the Watson IoT Platform design enabling 3rd party device, gateway and platform partners to integrate their device management services? Lets look at that…

Design for Custom Device Management


Custom command packages for Device Management may be uploaded to the platform. Now package versions  with added commands may replace older versions.

In 2016 I delivered design concepts and a user experience design for custom device management support in the Watson IoT Platform.

The custom device management design is enabling

  • Extending the built-in capabilities for Device Management in WIoTP
  • A consistent user experience for all build-in and custom DM commands
  • Supporting delegation of device management 3rd party device, gateway and platform partners
  • Definition of a Custom Command Package to declare and upload commands to WIoTP
  • Support version and variant management of Custom Command Packages

The custom command design has enabled related designs in 2016

  • Usage of custom device management commands in Firmware over the air (FoTA) integrations with business partners

Read more about Custom Device Management Actions on the Watson IoT Platform blog.

How is the Watson IoT Platform design improving the security for gateways? Let me describe role based authentication and release level access control also used in a new design for Gateway access restrictions.

Design for Predefined and Custom Roles


Scalable design to support ‘both out-of-the-box’ roles, with the option to switch to present by-role as the size of custom roles grows @scale

In 2016 I contributed to the design details and role configurations for Predefined and Custom Roles in the Watson IoT Platform.

The role based authorization design is enabling

  • Support predefined roles for Users, Applications, Devices and Gateways
  • Support predefined roles for the researched personas like Administrators, Operators, Analysts, Developers and View-Only Users
  • Support operators to configure custom roles that match the names and responsibilities that is to be used by a client organization

A new development process has been put in place to ensure that new WIoTP capabilities and new APIs are added to the predefined roles

This design is the bases release level access control used in a new design for Gateway access restrictions.

Design for Risk Management


High fidelity design of Risk Management a Connection Security policy and predicted compliance to be used for previewing the compliance level.

In 2016 I contributed to the design concepts for Risk Management in the Watson IoT Platform.

The risk management design is enabling

  • Support for system operators to enforce TLS mutual authentication by connected devices using client certificates provided and installed by the client organization
  • Support for system operators using Blacklist to block access for suspicious IP addresses or complete geographic regions
  • Support for security analysts to define and preview the coverage of a connection policy
  • Overview security and risk compliance on the WIoTP dashboard

Read more about Advanced IoT Security features in theWatson IoT Platform blog

Design of RTI migration to Watson IoT Platform


In 2016 I contributed to the design strategy to migrate Real Time Analytics from a separate service to run in the Watson IoT Platform.

The RTI migration design strategy is enabling

  • Deliver the RTI capabilities as part of an integrated Watson IoT Platform user experience
  • Reuse existing Watson IoT Platform concepts like Device Types, Devices, Boards and Cards to enable an consistent platform user experience
  • Transform the RTI event schema model to a new device schema model that serves as a first stage for an introduction of Information Management schemas in the platform.
  • Design of Rules and Actions in a Analytics section in the Watson IoT Platform navigator
  • Design of default boards and cards for Analytics using a new connected card feature.

The new RTI integrated Watson IoT Platform experience has in 2016 grown with the design of Edge Analytics providing new capabilities using my design for Gateways and Custom DM commands.

Read more about RTI migration on the Watson IoT Platform blog

Design for Board and Cards


Watson IoT Platform Boards and Cards.

In 2016 in contributed to the user experience design of a new dashboard capability as part of the integrated platform experience.

The dashboard design is enabling

  • Create visualization cards of data from connected devices or other sources in the IoT platform
  • Choose a card style that provides the best visualization for the data
  • Place and organize the cards on boards
  • Organize the cards into sections using titled separators
  • Create multiple boards, make them your favorites, your private, or share your boards with others in your organization

Read more about Boards and Cards on the Watson IoT Platform blog

More design innovations to come.