What is Scalability?
“It’s a no brainer” and “It’s the future”.
How many times have you been told such justifications when investigating new systems?
Do people really think that these statements are enough to affect a commercial decision?
Nowadays, there are countless connected systems on the market, all of which claim their system is the future due to various ‘benefits’. However, the adoption of a new connected environment requires much deeper investigation.
To start, let’s highlight what is important to understand about your new system:
What is its immediate offering?
What else is currently available?
And most importantly: where will the system be in 10 years?
It is essential to remember that this isn't just a 1, 2 or even a 5-year investment; the wrong choice could set you back years.
You may be asking “what should I be looking for?".
There are three options here, proprietary, open standard, and open source.
Proprietary systems are designed and developed by a company and only used within that company’s products.
Open standards, such as Zigbee or Z-Wave, are international protocols that can be used by any company, with notable users including Phillips, Amazon, and Google.
Open-source systems are where any engineer can contribute to the design, which improves their cost-effectiveness, but they can lack in stability and features. Without reading the code yourself, can you trust contributors from around the world to keep your data safe?
The two standout options are undoubtedly proprietary and open standard. Proprietary systems can usually be identified by their promotion of their own ‘world class’ network protocol. "Designed and managed by our inhouse teams of engineers" may sound impressive but is it a USP or a barrier for scalability and future-proofing the system?
Therefore, the obvious winner here is using established and mature open standards. There are inherent benefits to using open standards, including a wider range of compatibility with off the shelf products, like sensors for your systems, and continuous development for the creation of new and innovative devices.
Another factor to consider are cloud portals. Every system has one nowadays, but you need to understand their functionality today and scalability for the future. We have heard of vendors requiring customers to change their strategies to comply with the proposed system, is this really an option?
A good cloud portal should have user definable elements across its entire platform and be flexible enough to fit your business strategy. It is important to remember the system is meant to help you, so the ability to get the views and reports that satisfy your criteria is also essential.
Another key element of a scalable system is the installation and commissioning process. A clunky, inefficient, or overly complicated system will receive lots of criticism and push back from your installation team, at which point nothing else matters. But make the process too lightweight and you could be creating data security issues. You could mitigate these issues by contracting the installation out, but would you be happy to share all your assets schedule and data?
We didn’t think so either. Therefore, it is important to choose a simple-to-use system where security, including data segregation, is a cornerstone of the system.
Now we have gone through various options alongside essential requirements, we can answer the major question: is the system scalable?
Described above is a future proofed system that gives you granular information on an asset and is great for the installation team. But if you have 5,000 or 10,000 assets, is it the best use of your time to tag and create alerts for each one?
The final element to a scalable system is group actions. This means you can define a group or asset view and with a few simple clicks assign a single tag, alert or action to each of them.
This is then a truly scalable future proofed system.
Here at Vericon we have designed a system using open standards from the ground up specifically for housing associations. The cornerstones of the software are stability, security, and scalability. We have focused on creating the features and functionality to enable our clients to manage compliance, manage disrepair and maximise efficiency and tenant satisfaction remotely. At a sensor level, we have chosen to adopt the ever-expanding range of Zigbee sensors whilst enforcing multi-layer authentication to ensure network security.
We are very proud of our approach and if you would like to know more please get in touch by one of the methods below:
Call: 01242 582 555