How to Be IoT-Ready
The IoT Market is expected to grow to encompass more than 200 billion devices within the next two years. These devices will pervade public and private spaces as cities, businesses, and individuals hop on the IoT bandwagon. The Internet of Things includes the physical devices, protocols, gateways, cloud servers, software, and security features which come together to provide pivotal insights on how we can improve our lives by modifying our environment.
Making improvements implies the presence of a problem in our day to day activities. This problem could be apparent or hidden. Either, businesses search for an IoT solution to an existing problem or delve into smart sensor systems to access data which can reveal correlations we were not aware of.
It is best to have a clear problem in mind when turning to IoT for a solution. A clear problem helps solution providers create a defined use-case which provides value for your company or organization. There are thousands of ways to bring IoT into your business. You may want to monitor foot traffic, track lighting levels or temperatures. You may want to use IoT as an employee monitoring system, as a quality assurance solutions, or to automate your production line. Or, perhaps you are a retailer and want to deploy IoT to create location-aware, targeted marketing campaigns within a physical box store.
A full IoT application requires expertise across a range of disciplines. Solutions are never one-size-fits all. The layout of your physical space coupled with your use-case will determine whether you need to use Bluetooth LE, WiFi, or a combination of both. The hardware and configurations for these protocols must also be custom configured to your infrastructure.
So many businesses are struggling to graduate from the proof of concept phase. In fact, according to CISCO, two-thirds of IoT projects falter on the proof of concept phase and just one-quarter of companies reported their endeavour a success. There are best practices you can follow to avoid the fate of these businesses.
Focus on one problem and one solution.
Concerned with energy consumption in your office building? Start with five sensors which monitor lighting, movement, and temperature. If areas of the office remain lit despite zero motion detection, steps can be taken to automate lighting systems to come on when movement is detecting and turn off according to a timer. Movement resets the timer – and your energy consumption may be dramatically lowered. Once you’ve tackled automating lighting systems, heating and cooling systems may be next. Smart buildings are part of a green, responsible future.
Or how about implementing IoT to perform predicative maintenance on machines along a production loop? Start with accelerometer sensors on a few key pieces of equipment and have the sensors relay data to an IoT Dashboard. A trigger can be set up whenever a machine begins to oscillate or vibrate out of its usual pattern. Predicative intelligence allows you to perform maintenance when needed. Test this use case for a number of months – and then roll it out to every piece of machinery.
Perhaps you want to reach customers with marketing material at decision-making moments in stores? Use Bluetooth LE beacons to push coupons and product information to customer’s mobile devices near one key display. If you see an improvement in sales, you can easily scale up to create multiple geo-fenced regions throughout your retail space.
Focus on Technology and Innovation
Every year, IoT devices and protocols become more capable. This does not mean you should wait to adopt IoT solutions – there is no end to innovation in sight. What it does mean is that you should stay abreast of new capabilities so that you can take advantage of the full functionality of your solution. Companies must focus on collaboration between departments which will come together on IoT projects. Both IT departments and OT departments will be responsible for maintaining IoT deployments unless you hire a third party service. Most failed starts in the adoption of IoT have come from dysfunction between internal departments. All departments in your business have a stake in the success of IoT adoption. A successful deployment can have use-cases across many verticals. The same IoT deployment can automate processes which affect everyone.
Every objective requires a culture that can innovate quickly on technology-based solutions. Strategically focusing on technology is the key to success.
Research Your Provider
Research! Research! Research! You need to form partnerships with competent individuals and companies. There are so many components to a full IoT solution and your provider needs to understand how all the parts fit together. Ask for demonstrations. Ask for proof of concept trials. Ask for software and dashboard walk-throughs. The provider you choose will be an expert on how IoT is shaping your industry. Allow them to make suggestions which will improve your customer satisfaction, employee work-space, and bottom line.
What’s your use-case?
Do you have a clear problem in mind? Are you ready to start small and scale up? Get in touch and get informed with the solution providers which know your industry.