Thursday, January 25, 2018

Here’s How To Get Started With Your IoT Strategy

IoT isn’t just another fad-based acronym that you should keep in your arsenal. The Internet of Things is here to stay, and it’s already changing the way we live and work–from voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home helping us turn the lights off, to smart cities gathering data about its inhabitants to help automate processes. The use cases are endless, and its potential is still evolving. According to Gartner, there will be more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020, and IoT products and services will generate more than $300 billion in revenue. Additionally, 91 percent of companies believe IoT will reshape their brand identity, proving IoT will continue to expand its impact into virtually every industry and market.

So, what now? If you don’t have an IoT strategy in place, where should you start? If you do but it isn’t working, how you can revamp it to take full advantage of IoT?

Set Goals
Understanding the end goal of your IoT strategy will help guide you through the many questions and decisions you’ll come across while implementing IoT. A few things to consider as you set goals: What devices should be connected? What’s the best way to make those devices smart? How do I sort and analyze all of this data? What IoT platform is best for my company? Keeping the ultimate goal in mind will also help keep the scope of your planning and implementation proportional, which is especially important for IoT rookies.

Get Your Back-End Tech In Order
In order to get your IoT strategy off the ground, you’ll need to have some technical elements in place. Gartner lists these elements as crucial for your implementation:

  • Security Solution
  • Analytics Platform
  • Device (Thing) Management System
  • Low-Power, Short-Range Networks
  • Low-Power, Wide-Area Networks
  • IoT Processors
  • IoT-compatible Operating System
  • Event Stream Processing

If this list seems daunting, no worries: IoT platforms typically bundle many of these technical elements, making it easier for you to manage and analyze the huge amounts of data that your IoT efforts will yield. There are four types of IoT platforms: connectivity/M2M platforms that focus on connecting IoT devices via telecommunication networks; Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) backends, which provide a place to host and power applications and services; hardware-specific software platforms, which are built by a company that wants a platform built specifically for their connected product; and, finally, consumer or enterprise software extensions, which aren’t full-service IoT platforms, but are packages and operating systems that allow the integration of IoT-enabled devices.

For Front-end Tech, Keep the Customer Front-of-Mind
Once you have goals in mind and the technology in place, you’ll want to ensure that your customers can interact with your IoT-enabled products in the most frictionless way possible. While many brands implementing IoT today turn to native mobile apps to give their customers control functionality, trends show consumers are losing heart in the cumbersome download and update process that comes with native apps. Which is why you should consider presenting your consumer-facing IoT control functionality in the form of a cloud-based mobile app. These cloud-based mobile apps don’t require a download, and–thanks to Progressive Web App requirements–are lightning fast, and have the ability to work in low-to-no service areas, so your customers will never be left in the dark, even when their wi-fi has abandoned them.

IoT is no longer just a buzzword. It is a transformational technology influencing every industry, from home appliances to automotive, and even local cities (Check out: Chicago’s Array of Things). Getting started with IoT shouldn’t be frightening though. If you take time to think big picture and develop the end goal of your IoT strategy, working backwards from there with  smaller projects at first will help you establish an IoT strategy to propel you into the future.