Simply making a large investment in IoT technology is not enough. To make the Internet of Things count for your company, you need an in-depth understanding of your business goals. Further, a thorough assessment of your existing infrastructure is in place. Then you go on to assemble the right teams. And you move on to selecting a robust IoT platform that can carry out the project from initial IoT prototyping to deployment and scale effortlessly. Once these items are covered, you are well on your way and can build an IoT product that delivers value to your stakeholders.
IoT initiatives pose several obstacles to companies with little to no experience in executing a large-scale IoT project. The hype surrounding IoT — the talk of innovation and disruptive potential — is sometimes making it difficult for companies to differentiate the forest from the trees. Some believe that throwing in a large budget and making connectivity work is enough. Others emulate the IoT initiatives of their competitors without proper assessment of the in-house status quo. It is often the case that less attention is paid to the actual needs to be addressed with IoT product development. Also, companies often underestimate the complexities of implementation and deployment.
Once you have set out to build an IoT product that delivers value to your company, you will discover that this is not that different from any other long-term project in that it requires careful planning, a roadmap, consideration of any contingencies along the way, and a little bit of grit. Once you extract the hype from IoT and approach your initiative with a clear vision, it all boils down to mapping out the effort, bringing the right people on board, and finding an IoT solution that brings your tech in one place. So the path to an IoT product that consistently delivers value begins with asking the right questions at the right places.
Take a closer look at your IoT infrastructure
When deciding where to invest resources, the first place to look is the underlying IoT infrastructure. Your existing IoT ecosystem can make or break your development effort. So be sure you are addressing this with an in-depth evaluation and careful planning. It is advisable to align your investment trajectory with an actual need and assess the necessity of buying new hardware over the necessity to strengthen the connectivity or invest in an orchestration platform.
The confluence between embedded software, hardware, and the connectivity layer has to be right. This is the very foundation on which your IoT initiatives and, eventually, your IoT products will be built.
Work with the right people
To build a successful IoT product, you need people. This means identifying the talent within your organization, mapping out the available resources, and attracting the expertise you will require. Putting your team together is only part of this effort, however. There is also a need to look at the underlying organizational structures. You need to see how they influence the efficiency of your IoT initiative. IoT is a fast-moving field. Traditional company structures may not be best for keeping up with the pace of innovation. So this is the place to make sure that knowledge silos and potential communication gaps are foreclosed at the outset.
And on a more fundamental level, many companies are not aware of the kind of IoT experts they need. At times, there are unique skill sets to blend in order to launch a successful IoT initiative. This will include both tech and non-tech staff, spanning IoT engineers and data engineers, IT specialists, data scientists, business analysts, firmware experts, IoT hardware specialists, and many more. At times, companies may simply have to conjure up unique roles to accommodate the different experts they need.
Analyze your business goals and create a plan
Flesh out the challenges your business needs to tackle, craft a feasibility analysis, and create a plan. Sounds simple. But before setting on the journey of creating your own IoT product, you need to evaluate how exactly IoT can enhance your organization. It is crucial to set the right priorities. That is, you need priorities that are aligned with your organization’s immediate and mid-term needs. Simply wanting to be connected or to be part of the IoT hype is not a goal. Nor is the intent to optimize production or reduce downtime a strategy. It is essential to set an overarching trajectory that aligns with the business model. Your intended IoT system needs to demonstrate how an IoT investment will impact real issues.
As a rule of thumb, start with the main problem you wish to solve by introducing IoT capabilities. Is your energy consumption too high? Do you suffer from downtime too often because your equipment keeps malfunctioning? Are you struggling to align your stakeholders as part of a larger IoT initiative? The moment you know what you are aiming for, start aligning every business decision to that initial aim, all the way down to the level of the physical device. It is essential to keep your eyes on the bigger picture. This is how you avoid building a costly IoT infrastructure that only solves peripheral problems after full-on IoT deployment. Think in terms of the sustainable impact of your IoT product. And design processes that will help you tie different parts of your value chain together so that the connected product keeps delivering value to your organization over the long term.
Find your kind of IoT platform
To get on top of your complex and heterogeneous IoT landscape, you may be served best with an IoT platform that unites your assets and works as the single source of truth for each and every connected device, collected IoT data, disparate teams, and analytical objectives. The right IoT platform will help you build an IoT product at a much greater pace, with significantly less upfront investment.
Defining what is right for you is inevitably an individual choice. But you need to choose right at the very outset. That is, you need to consider all the in-house factors and thoroughly assess the maturity level of your platform vendor. To guide you through this quandary, we have prepared a buyer’s guide so you can start off by creating a capabilities grid for your IoT platform.
At the very least, make sure the basics are covered. The platform should be stable and flexible; the hardware, IoT connectivity, and IoT device management should all check out. Get started by checking out our list of essential factors to consider when looking for an IoT platform.
The Record Evolution IoT development platform provides the entire end-to-end infrastructure to build your IoT product. Extending from the edge to the cloud, the platform comes with a cloud IDE for custom IoT app development where, for example, you package your machine learning models as IoT apps. It offers seamless IoT application development, testing, and deployment, and comes with data science capabilities on top of the classic data platform toolchain.
About Record Evolution
We are a data science and IoT team based in Frankfurt, Germany, that helps companies of all sizes innovate at scale. That’s why we’ve developed an easy-to-use industrial IoT platform that enables fast development cycles and allows everyone to benefit from the possibilities of IoT and AI.