How to Use BPMN to Model IoT Behavior

How to Use BPMN to Model IoT Behavior

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how humans interact with machines. It stands to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve everything from predictive maintenance, supply chain management, transportation operations, security alerts to automated responses for greater situational awareness.

IoT is also creating opportunities to transform existing business models through new revenue streams.

BPMN 2.0 was the first standard notation that addressed the complexities of business process modeling across multiple disciplines and industry verticals, including manufacturing, healthcare, finance, non-profit, government, and more.

BPMN 2.0 is a mature standard that has been widely adopted for business process modeling, with over 600 training courses delivered on its use around the world.

Model The IoT Device-To-Cloud Communication

Create a document to define the high-level process flow. This model should show how devices communicate with backend systems, users, and other machines. It will also describe interactions between different parties involved in processing data associated with IoT implementation.

The first step is to identify all external processes that interact with your IoT implementation. After you’ve identified the basic steps, you can detail them according to BPMN sequence diagrams. Describe each message exchanged between devices and backend applications.

Model the Information Exchange within IoT Implementation

BPMN is used to define information exchange during an IoT implementation. You should describe how the BPMN workflow engine will collect data.

Also, detail how this data will be processed and what type of decision automation is required. You can then draw a BPMN diagram to map these processes and how they interact with the system.

Model IoT Decision Automation

It is necessary to understand what data is required to make decisions as well as what actions will trigger those decisions. You can use decision tables in conjunction with BPMN process models to specify decision automation.

Automation can be based on a condition; for example, set heat to low when the temperature is above 80 degrees. Decision automation can also include actions such as turning off the heater in case of an emergency.

Model External Actors

To create the IoT implementation document, it is vital to identify the IoT devices that will be represented in your BPMN diagram and the humans, software systems, and other devices that interact with your IoT implementation.

You can use swim lane diagrams to show these actors and how they interact with each other. External actors can be represented as BPMN tasks.

Identify the Device Types

IoT solutions may include various devices, including embedded systems, sensors, gateways, and mobile devices. You can use BPMN to identify the device types required for your implementation. Identifying the device types will help you create a device-to-cloud communications document.

Model The Data Collection

You should identify what data (inputs) will be collected by your IoT solution, who will collect this information, and where it will come from. For example, the input may consist of readings taken from sensors or GPS coordinates. The data may come from the device itself, or 3rd parties may collect it.

Identify The Output

You can use BPMN to model outputs required for your IoT implementation. For example, real-time alerts when threshold values are reached or when rules are violated. The output can also be a command sent to another device.

Model the Automation

You can use BPMN to model the automation required by your IoT implementation. For example, when an order arrives at a warehouse, devices responsible for that location should receive the order information and update the inventory.

There are many more ways to use BPMN to model IoT behavior. IoT implementations share many of the exact requirements of traditional BPMN process automation. Therefore, it is logical to adopt a modeling language that’s already familiar and can be used with tools you’re probably already using.

You can use BPMN to model IoT behavior in the above ways and create a document that will serve as the foundation for the technical implementation.

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