Spending years performing consulting work in the software space gives you an intense look into common and shared issues across many different industries and areas. I have put together a list of my top four that I see on a daily basis working as an IoT consultant. It’s important to remember that when starting an Internet of Things project that its much more advanced and has many more moving parts than just a software project. IoT solutions can involve many different types of hardware and hardware integrations along with cloud and web technologies that are less common. Below are four items I thought would be most helpful for something just starting to think about getting into an IoT Project.
1) Plan your initial investment accordingly.
This is an important step and is often not even considered until you are well on your way in a project. The initial investment of hardware, software and custom services can be quite, but you will never know until it is thoroughly looked over.
One of the biggest oversites is the software aspect, the Internet of Things is a very custom solution for most businesses simply because IoT is still so new. Solution developers have not covered or built tools to cover most use cases like there is today for SaaS platforms. Custom IoT software is not often a cheap expense due to the heavy integration between software and hardware, and it takes a very specialized set of skills.
Hardware can be a considerable expense if a very custom solution is needed, luckily there are many hardware vendors available that have already built many of the need sensors or have packaged together with a simple solution. It’s important to understand what type of hardware you might need to solve your issue early on that way you know if a custom device is required to be developed. Developing custom hardware can cost into the millions and may take many months to years to bring to production.
2) Keep in mind; there is a cost throughout the lifecycle of the project.
Someone has to keep the servers running in the cloud or hosted and a facility. Another dirty little secret about IoT is the messaging cost. That’s the cost to transfer transactional data from the physical world like the temperature of a room to a cloud service to be saved and viewed. Messaging charges will add up quickly when you are taking any scale. For example; If i have a device that broadcasts the temperature every one-minute that’s 1,440 messages a day for one device. Scale that to a few hundred devices, and you have quite a bill headed your way.
3) Choose the correct business model.
When it comes to the Internet of Thing projects, it can sometimes be hard to calculate your return on investment (ROI). Sometimes the ROI may not be 100% clear yet, or it may have hidden efficiency you may not notice until implemented.
For some, it may be easier to start with a very measured approach to getting initial business buy-in. This could be direct items like implementing RTLS to save staff time to locate items. Using an RTLS system can be easily measured versus not having the system in place. Another example is automating otherwise manual tasks like walking around to collect temperature data; an IoT system can easily be implemented to save that time allowing you to calculate ROI quickly.
4) Internet of Things Education is critical.
Training and educating your business and employees on how to use and interact with a new IoT system is critical to its success in your business. Most companies today are concerned that top leadership or even the leadership that would be responsible for bringing in an IoT solution is not educated enough to identify issues that IOT could solve.
Even in 2018 most business still, do not understand how to implement IoT and how to make it work for them. Heck, even a lot of technical people along with developers don’t understand the importance or impact of IoT. Companies are often concerned that their employees lack IoT skills and knowledge, along with senior managers lacking knowledge of, and a commitment to, the required technologies to succeed with an IoT strategy.
The Internet of Things is often a nebulous idea, and people have a hard time wrapping their brain around use cases and how to inject this into there existing problems. In fact, 70% of companies often look to outside consultants or IoT companies like Echolo for help or try to learn from early movers in similar markets. When companies look to secure outside help, they tend to be more successful and reach the market faster. Consultants like Echolo have often seen the pitfalls and can help identify issues early because of the experience they already had with launching IoT based solutions.
Now, take your IoT skill to the next level.
When trying to understand the Internet of things it starts to get confusing when you attempt to “swallow” the whole pill at once. IoT is a BIG pill and can get larger the longer you think about it or even search online for answers. The Internet of Things should not be this complicated and in my latest book “Untangle the IoT Mystery” I cover the very basics of what makes up the Internet of things from a full blow product to the smaller parts of the project or product like hardware and software. When looking at this, I also dig into IoT security and how to avoid getting yourself into trouble. Security with IoT is relatively simple as long as you follow the easy to use rules I lay out. After many years in both the M2M industry along with IoT, my new Book provides you with a proven IoT Strategy Framework and the all-important IoT Checklist to keep you running smooth.
This book is for someone that really wants to understand how the Internet of Things works from basic understanding all the way to advanced use cases. In this book, I have also given you my IoT Strategy checklist that outlines how to start and ensure your project will not go in the fail column. I encourage you to use this book as a guide and reference when developing or getting involved in an Internet of Things Project.