The Internet of Things (IoT) looks to be the next technological leap that consumers and businesses will take over the next few years. Once fully implemented, these connections between the myriad of devices we use daily and the wireless web will certainly transform the way we play, work, get around, run our homes and even how we age. If you are a cutting-edge business owner looking to set up an IoT project now, it helps to keep some basic practices in mind.
UNDERSTAND THE FOUNDATIONS OF IOT
As with any technology, understanding the basics of how the IoT works helps you to make the most of it. For that reason, it is in your best interest to do your homework. Read up on the building blocks of the IoT, with special emphasis on the data:
- How is it captured?
- Once captured, where does the data go?
- How does the data move from the sensors to the core and ultimately to the end user?
- Who interacts with the data on its journey? Why?
- In what ways is the data changed during the process?
- What protocols are used? Which are proprietary, which are open and which are not yet standardized?
Since these areas can get complex and may take more knowledge or time than you can spend, you may want to consider consulting with an expert such as the professionals at Austin, Texas-based Praxent.
GET A GRASP ON YOUR GAPS AND CHALLENGES
For your IoT project to be successful, you must have full mastery of your data. That includes its collection, security and how you store it. You are bound to have weak spots and gaps, but don’t be complacent about them. Before you get your IoT project up and running, do your best to close holes and address any concerns about your shortcomings to the best of your ability.
Keep in mind that the IoT is still in its infancy. As such, there are bound to be fits and starts, failures and successes. Protect yourself by making your first projects manageable without over-committing. One smart idea is to add an IoT component to an existing program. If part of your scheme doesn’t work as planned, accept failure as part of the learning process, adapt and try again.
MAKE YOUR IOT PROJECT A PRIORITY
Although your fledgling IoT program might not be a money-maker for years to come, that doesn’t mean it isn’t vitally important. Think of it as a way to problem-solve for your company, uncover challenges, design and try out potential solutions and learn about your customers and your own business at the same time.
KEEP INFORMATION AT THE CENTER
Part of the attraction of IoT for businesses lies in the scope of the data it can channel towards your company. Once it is in your hands, you can become more efficient and can maintain a closer and more mutually beneficial relationship with each of your customers. To that end, ask yourself the following questions:
- What data can my IoT project help me to obtain?
- Where should the data come from, and how can I get it?
- Once I get the data, what happens to it? Does it need to be combined with data from elsewhere?
- Who else, including what devices and processes, also needs this data?
- What is the best way that I can deliver the data?
Answering these questions won’t happen in an hour or a day. It may even require help from outside professionals. However, once you have arrived at a road map you can use, it is safe to say that you can launch your IoT project with full knowledge of its potential pitfalls and benefits.