Orchestration with Cumulocity and Zapier IoT integration

MachNation clients can download this research on our partner research page.

MachNation defines IoT orchestration as the secure automation and synchronization of IoT data across technology systems — devices, platforms and applications — that impact processes in and between public and private sector organizations.

IoT orchestration seeks to accomplish three goals. IoT orchestration

  • automates workflows to lower operational costs by remove human interventions from technology systems
  • synchronizes the various actions and interactions of data across technology system components to enhance quality of service
  • secures solutions by minimizing vulnerabilities created from integration of disparate solutions

Integration of devices and IoT- and IT-based applications is fiendishly complex and requires custom code for most IoT solutions today.  According to MachNation forecasts, IoT integration services revenue will account for 23% to 37% of total IoT revenue between 2016 and 2025. See Figure 1. Decreasing the scope and complexity of IoT integrations is critical if IoT is expected to grow and become viable for smaller businesses.

Figure 1: IoT systems integration services revenue as a percentage of total IoT revenue, worldwide, 2015-2025 [Source: MachNation, 2016]

Cumulocity and Zapier image

In  addition, having highly siloed technology stacks creates operational and financial risks to enterprises. In an evolving IT infrastructure environment, it is extremely beneficial to have more flexibility when coupling devices, IoT applications and IT applications. This gives an enterprise greatest flexibility as it improves its technology environment.

Cumulocity, one of the IoT application enablement platform (AEP) vendors profiled in MachNation’s 2015 IoT Application Enablement ScoreCard, has announced a strategic partnership and technology integration with Zapier. This partnership is an excellent example of an AEP furthering the ability of its enterprise customers to take advantage of leading IoT orchestration capabilities.

Zapier is a SaaS-based automation framework with integration points with roughly 500 business applications like Salesforce, Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, Zendesk, Google, PayPal and SugarCRM. Enterprises can use Zapier to automate workflows between their IoT and IT applications and all partner applications in Zapier. Data can flow to and from enterprise apps to Zapier partner apps while Zapier takes on the task of ensuring a seamless and secure process of orchestrating enterprise data.

This flexible SaaS-based integration between Cumulocity and Zapier is particularly useful for enterprises taking their first steps in IoT as it reduces risks and costs through rapid prototyping and iterative design. One of the important technology steps in IoT deployments is the creation of an end-to-end proof of concept (PoC). The PoC allows the enterprise to refine its proposed IoT technology architecture in real-life environments. Having a SaaS-based integration between Cumulocity and Zapier allows enterprises to create PoCs rapidly, find failure points quickly, make necessary changes and improve IoT architectures. This rapid prototyping and iterative design approach saves enterprises time and money.

Enterprises using the Cumulocity IoT platform can push device data from Cumulocity to any Zapier-supported application. Similarly enterprises can send data from their IT systems through Zapier to the Cumulocity IoT platform and IoT devices managed by the Cumulocity IoT platform.

For example, enterprises can set-up inventories of devices in their ERP systems like OpenERP or even in a Microsoft Excel file. Using a Zapier workflow (also known as a ‘zap’), an enterprise can send inventories of thousands of devices to Cumulocity for automated provisioning. Another example would be to allow an enterprise to log CRM records when its IoT devices set off a trigger. Using a Zapier ‘zap’, device data from the Cumulocity IoT platform would flow through Zapier to SugarCRM, Salesforce or Zoho CRM and be automatically attributed to the appropriate customer account.

Here’s a great example showing the power of the Cumulocity and Zapier integration for a multi-application integration. An equipment rental company could use the Cumulocity and Zapier integration to streamline and automate its operations. An equipment rental company might use Salesforce to track rental contracts on rental equipment. On a regular basis, Cumulocity would ‘zap’ Salesforce with data about the rental equipment’s usage status, health and location. Salesforce would collect these data and recognize if the equipment were not returned to the rental facility by the expiry of the rental contract. If the equipment is overdue, Salesforce would send a retrieval request ‘zap’ to the rental company’s Field Service Management application and update progress in Salesforce for that equipment and customer account. Salesforce could also ‘zap’ Cumulocity requesting more frequent updating about the rental equipment location.

Consistent with their usual practice, Cumulocity provides a detailed user’s guide for the Zapier integration on its website. MachNation expects Cumulocity’s customers to gain flexibility in their IoT implementations that will be difficult to replicate by other IoT AEPs currently in the market.

MachNation clients can download this research on our partner research page.

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