Navigate Salesforce IoT Scale Edition and Create an IoT Plan

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Summarize how data flows through Salesforce IoT Scale Edition.
  • Create a plan to carry out a simple proactive service use case.

Let’s Start with Some Basics

Welcome back to the land of IoT!

Are you ready to continue on the next leg of your adventure through Salesforce IoT? To see how Salesforce IoT ingests the billions of events coming from connected objects, like industrial robots, smart home devices, routers, and apps, and creates engaging customer experiences? To learn how you can implement a simple IoT solution for proactive service by connecting Salesforce IoT Scale Edition to Service Cloud?

Awesome! Let’s hit the road.

In the IoT Basics Trailhead module, we explain how Salesforce IoT works and how it lets you take personalized actions based on the events coming from connected objects. If you haven’t completed the IoT Basics Trailhead module, there’s no time like the present. Take a few minutes to earn your badge.

The IoT Basics module gives you a lay of the land for Salesforce IoT, preparing you for the next leg of your adventure.

Salesforce IoT enables companies to blaze new trails in IoT and scale their IoT strategies. We provide the tools that enable you to turn the billions of data points from the millions of connected devices into engaging customer experiences. Whether it's Salesforce IoT Explorer Edition, built right into the Salesforce platform, enabling you to quickly explore and iterate IoT solutions, or Salesforce IoT Scale Edition, providing enterprise scale for your IoT strategy. 

Both Explorer and Scale carry out business logic through the powerful orchestration engine in Salesforce IoT. The information in this module about connecting to data and creating profiles is specific to Salesforce IoT Scale Edition.

As a beginning trailblazer through Scale, wouldn’t it be great if you had a map? Well, guess what? You’re in luck.

Mapping It Out

Anytime you visit a new location it’s great to have a map to help you get from one place to another. Here’s a handy map that shows how the data flows through Scale and also guides your course through implementing your solution.

Map of how data flows through Thunder.

Data from connected devices (1) comes into Scale through inputs (2) that you set up. You filter, groom, and combine data (3, 4, and 5) to use in business logic (6) that creates engaging customer experiences and triggers actions in Salesforce and other systems that help you engage with your customers (7).

Let’s stop at these key locations to find out a little more about them.

  1. Connected devices are devices, services, apps, and websites outside of Scale that create data.
  2. Inputs are the connections to connected device data and context data.
  3. Events are streaming data that can trigger actions in near real-time.
  4. Context is where we receive and groom historical and contextual data that you store in Scale.
  5. Profiles combine real-time events with stored context to holistically represent the subject of your orchestration.
  6. Orchestrations contain your business logic, where you set up states, rules, conditions, actions, and transitions that create engaging customer experiences.
  7. Outputs, triggered by actions or transitions, add or change records in Salesforce and send data to Salesforce, other orchestrations, and other systems of engagement.

Keep this map handy in case you lose your bearing along the way. Now, let’s look at why it’s important to plan for your adventure.

Start with a Plan

A spontaneous trip to Hong Kong or Lisbon can be fun, but without an itinerary you can miss something important.

The data-flow map is great starting point to navigating Salesforce IoT Scale Edition. But spending some time planning and drawing out what you want to implement can help you even more. Think of this plan as an itinerary for your Scale implementation.

Let’s look at a simple use case for proactive service to show you how you can plan for an IoT implementation. Say your company, Radical Routers, makes wireless routers, and you want to use Salesforce IoT to monitor the health of the routers. But you also want to proactively create service cases for unhealthy devices. By proactively we mean that based on event data, Salesforce IoT automatically opens service cases for unhealthy devices. This happens without a person having to create these cases and probably before the customer even knows there is a problem. This saves you time and expense, and it creates a better experience for your customers and develops brand loyalty. It’s a Radical Router win-win!

So how do you start thinking about implementing this Salesforce IoT solution? Here are some key pieces to getting started.

What’s the Big Picture?

You can start by thinking about the outcomes you want: the experiences you want your customers to have. Remember Awhina Oahu from the IoT Basics module? Let’s imagine she’s your typical customer. She travels frequently and uses her connected devices at home to manage the temperature and lighting of her house while she’s out of town. It’s important that her Radical Router stays healthy so that the devices in her house that connect to the router remain accessible to her while she’s away.

If something goes wrong with Awhina’s router, you want to know about it and fix it before she is even aware there’s a problem. Imagine her relief to discover that, while she was out of town, you proactively detected and fixed a problem with her router without any action from her. That kind of experience builds brand loyalty and makes for happy customers.

You’ve got the big picture in mind. What’s next?

Know Your Data

You need to know your data. Do you have the data fields you need to implement your Salesforce IoT solution? For our Radical Routers use case, our event data and context data includes the following data fields. We cover more of this later, but for now, think of event data as data that is constantly streaming in (irregular heartbeat). And think of context data as data that is stored in Salesforce IoT and doesn’t change much if at all (the device ID or contact name).

Event Data Context Data
  • device_id
  • irregular_heartbeat
  • IP_address
  • status
  • device_id
  • model_number
  • contact_name
  • contact_email

If we think about our use case, this seems to be just the right collection of data to carry it out.

Sketch It Out

So far, you know what you want your outcomes to be and what data you have. Next, you can start thinking about how to create an orchestration to carry out your business logic. An orchestration is the composition of rules in various states that create the full experience for your customers or their devices.

At Radical Routers, you want your orchestration to monitor the health of your customers’ routers. In your orchestration, a router is always in one of three states: healthy, warning, or error. Depending on what state the router is in, different rules and actions apply.

While there are countless possibilities for what we can do with our data in Salesforce IoT, we focus on this simple solution in Scale to make it easy to understand.

Here’s how you can start thinking about the states for our use case. The circles represent the states, and the arrows represent transitions from state to state.

Diagram of the Healthy, Warning, and Error states with arrows from Healthy to Warning, Warning to Healthy, Warning to Error, and Error to Healthy.

Once you’ve thought about the states, you can think about the events, conditions, actions, and transitions that carry out your business logic and your customer experiences. Use a table for your initial planning. For example, the beginning planning table for the above states might look like this.

State Event Condition Action
Healthy (Default state) Heartbeat signal Signal irregular Transition to Warning state
Warning* Heartbeat signal Signal back to normal within a period of time Transition to Healthy state
Heartbeat signal Signal remains irregular Transition to Error state; open service case
Error Heartbeat signal Signal normal Transition to Healthy state
Note

Note

*Sometimes routers have irregular signals, but they correct themselves. By implementing a Warning state, you can track metrics on how many and what types of routers can have irregular signals even if they don’t cause serious service interruptions.

This is a good start to implementing our IoT solution for Radical Routers. Of course, the possibilities are endless, but it’s a good idea to start small, iterate, and build off what you’ve already made successful.

Now that you have a plan in place, you’re ready to hit the ground running and start making your routers even more radical with Salesforce IoT. Let’s keep moving to see how we implement our Radical Router proactive service solution in Salesforce IoT Scale Edition.

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