flowground for Business Customers
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Automated connection of IoT platform to existing systems in the company

flowground: Cloud of Things

The concept of flowground – the connection of various software and cloud applications via connectors to a (data-)flow – is so universal that Deutsche Telekom uses it for its customers in many fields of digital transformation. For example, in combination with the Internet of Things (IoT). In the IoT, machines, pallets and containers, as well as cars or electricity meters, are all equipped with sensors whose data is sent to the cloud to be evaluated. This reduces costs, saves time and makes processes more efficient.

In this article, you will learn more about:

  • which challenges companies encounter when connecting IoT solutions to their existing systems,
  • how Telekom's integration platform enables quick and easy integration, and
  • how as a result IT systems in the company can communicate without media discontinuity.
Company

Name: Deutsche Telekom AG

Industry: Information and communications technology

Location: Bonn, Germany

Company size:
216,000 employees in 50 countries

Turnover in 2018: € 75.7 billion

Company webseite:
iot.telekom.com

INTEGRATION PROJECT

Implementation period: January 2019 to April 2019

Implementation partner: in-house

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The challenge: Integration of IoT insights into business processes

Many of our customers already use IoT sensors and the Cloud of Things platform of Deutsche Telekom to monitor their machines. This generates tons of data:  alarm messages for example, which are triggered when certain limit values are exceeded. This information should flow directly into existing business processes, such as Salesforce, OTRS or Slack. With the flowground integration platform, this data transfer can be set up elegantly via a web user interface. Existing connectors and flows can also be used, which significantly reduces the effort.

Complex monitoring in the control centre or laborious programming work

If machines are connected to the Telekom Cloud of Things (CoT) via sensors, deviations from normal operation can be detected in real time. For example, the operating temperature is recorded, and if the value exceeds a defined range, an alarm is triggered. To detect the alarm event, however, an employee in the company's control centre must keep a constant eye on the CoT platform, or the platform sends an email. Both are cumbersome and carry the risk that the alarm will not be noticed in time. It would be much more useful for the customer if the alert were to appear immediately in their corporate systems (for example in a ticketing system). This connection can be manually programmed and operated. However, this is complicated, always costs time and money, and usually requires a system administrator to operate the interface.

The goal: Fast and easy connection between the Cloud of Things platform and customer systems

From the customer's point of view, a Cloud of Things application must be able to:

  • adequately capture and analyse sensor data,
  • automate processes and make them as efficient as possible, and
  • avoid media disruption between participating systems.


Companies working with Cloud of Things applications do not want disruption in the flow of information. IoT data and the knowledge gained from it should flow seamlessly into their systems. Depending on which event is reported by the sensors, for example, a ticket should be created for direct processing or a flag should be set in a database. Alarm messages are particularly important. They should appear as a message directly in a messenger service such as Slack, or be sent as a push notification to the appropriate mobile phone. This is the only way to get a quick reaction to the alarm from the correct person in charge.


Seamless communication

  • flowground: Andreas Albers - IoT Telekom

    Using flowground, system integrators can offer IoT solutions without media disruption with simple integration as an E2E service.

    Dr. Andreas Albers,
    Product Owner flowground at Deutsche Telekom

The solution: flowground integrates events from the IoT platform into customer systems

flowground IoT

Using the flowground integration platform, data can be automatically exchanged across systems. If different applications in the company are already connected to each other by means of connectors through the platform, the Cloud of Things platform is simply interconnected via another IoT connector. The data transfer – the “talking to each other” – takes place via APIs. The Cloud of Things platform thus becomes part of a “flow”: incoming sensor data > processing on CoT platform > notification of downstream IT systems (if required > processing of insights directly into end-user facing applications).

The result is a system that communicates in a variety of ways. The machines in the company are equipped with sensors – for example, for temperature measurement. They send this data to the Cloud of Things platform, where limit values have been defined for all measurements. If a value is exceeded, the corresponding “alarm event” is triggered. Since flowground is connected to the IT systems in the company, the alarm event – as well as all other events and data – ends up directly in the customer systems. “Error messages arrive much faster and more safely wherever they are processed,” says Dr. Andreas Albers, Product Owner for flowground at Deutsche Telekom. Customers can define individual measures for each event: When should a ticket be created? When should a message be sent via Slack? What should the message contain?

flowground IoT Insights

The big advantage of flowground is that the code of flows is reproducible, each connection only has to be established once. This means that if the IoT platform for a customer was connected to, for example, Salesforce, this flow can to a great extent be reused with Salesforce for other customers. This greatly reduces the programming effort. Integration becomes much faster and less expensive.

Result: Two systems communicate without media disruption

Connecting the Cloud of Things platform with Salesforce, OTRS, Slack or other systems via the flowground platform creates seamless communication. “The IoT platform and customer systems communicate without media disruption,” says Albers. In addition, the solution saves expensive programming efforts for the development and implementation of an individual integration as a separate project. In addition to the processing of simple rule-based alarms, the information collected via sensors can be further exploited. The data can be used to analyse or predict why, for example, a machine fails more often. And it is possible to predict under what conditions (temperature, running speed, and so forth) a failure is most likely, or when it must be serviced in advance of a problem (the keyword here is "predictive maintenance").

Integration via flowground makes IoT solutions even more attractive – for example, in tracking parcels, measuring environmental conditions such as humidity in warehouses, or in asset retrieval, where expensive construction machinery is fitted with sensors. If they leave a defined area (for example, in case of theft), an alarm is triggered. The alarm event then lands directly on the owner's smartphone – thanks to flowground.


More use-cases

Success stories from various industries show how system integrators and their customers equally benefit from flowground.

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Logata specializes in automating digital business processes in logistics and trade. For example, Logata links webshop and warehouse management. But programming costs time and money. With flowground, the system integrator now offers that quickly, securely and cost-effectively.

More about Process-Automation
BACK OFFICE

Digitisation in medium-sized companies

IT service provider Starke+Reichert automates office processes for medium-sized companies. To this end, it integrates, for example, DMS, ERP and financial accounting systems. Starke+Reichert uses flowground, Telekom's integration platform, so that customers do not have to worry about security or long-term maintenance costs.

To Optimisation of Backoffice-Processes
IT SUPPORT

Telekom integrates ticket systems in IT support

Customers of the TelekomCLOUD portal receive professional help in first and second level support. However, the two teams work with different ticketing systems: OTRS and Jira. With flowground, Telekom combines both applications – efficiently and in the shortest possible time.

More about Integration of OTRS, Jira & Co.

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