So you’re thinking of developing your own IoT (Internet of Things) project but have no idea what the process looks like and where you should start? Check out the guide below with all the necessary steps that will prepare you for the planning and development process.
What is IoT?
An IoT project is the act of connecting any physical object to the Internet to collect and share data. Pretty much any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the internet and controlled that way. The hype over IoT is reaching big data levels as sensor technologies such as near field communications (NFC) and radio frequency identification (RFID), wireless technologies and other M2M tools become cheaper and more available. If you have a vision on how and why your company’s devices should be connected you should start by asking yourself - Do I really need it? Because don’t fool yourself, developing an IoT project isn’t a simple process and it requires many steps and resources.
Do you need an IoT project?
Occasionally known as the Industrial IoT, the benefits of the IoT for business depend on the particular implementation, but the key is that enterprises should have access to more data about their own products and their own internal systems, and a greater ability to make changes as a result. IoT thrives in improving logistics of transport and production. It helps with tracking inventory, supply, demand and even consumer experience. It’s also extremely useful in developing Smart Cities where it enables monitoring of everything starting with public transport to waste management. It shows immense potential in the field of healthcare - like drug monitoring devices that could ensure patients are taking the correct doses of medication as well as measuring patient’s vitals remotely. Another domain where IoT is gaining popularity in agriculture and meteorology where it enables tracking and gathering information in remote places.
The challenges of developing an IoT Project
Most of the challenges of developing an IoT project stem from lack of knowledge and preparation. Some companies decide to develop it on their own to reduce cost and end up failing, in turn increasing the overall cost of development. Management often underestimate the complexity of the project and don’t take into account the necessary research, testing and time it takes to succeed. Like any project, an IoT one takes time and money to develop. So be prepared to invest both if you want to get it right.
Step by step how to and what not to forget
There are some differences between IoT solutions. That distinction comes from the fact that companies developing them, knew why and how their products can improve their process and/or the consumer’s life. It might sound trivial but many have failed simply because their idea was cool and smart, while not especially helpful. Therefore, when you figure out the use case of your project, you can start to develop an implementation strategy, set goals that are realistic and to put it simply - try your best.
Step 1 Find the use case.
Most common use cases for IoT are:
- preventative maintenance
- remote monitoring
- asset tracking
- environmental monitoring
- data gathering
When you establish the use case and audience of your project, you should start researching the software and hardware necessary.
Step 2 Research software and hardware.
Take into account the location of the devices, how often you’ll be able to perform maintenance, its geographic coverage, connectivity, etc. Afterwards make sure you know what features you want it to have and how it should perform.
When you know the answers to the above questions it’s time to pick out a team.
Step 3 Assemble a team.
For your IoT project you will need:
- mechanical engineers
- electrical engineers
- software engineers
- Q/A testing experts
- UX/UI designers.
Step 4 Build a prototype.
Only after you’ve assembled a team or engineers, designer and testers you can start building a prototype. Developing it allows to discover the minimum parameters for your IoT project before the full deploy.
Step 5 Quality Assurance.
A prototype should be thoroughly tested (both its software and hardware). Then it will probably…fail! But don’t worry, it’s just how the process works. You build something, test it, it fails and then you can improve it. It’s a crucial step to any project.
Step 6 Build and deploy your IoT project.
After you’ve improved and tested the hell out of your device you are ready to build and deploy your first IoT project. However this doesn’t mean you’re done…
Step 7 Practice makes perfect.
IoT projects need constant improvement and maintenance to justify their development. Plan ahead and reserve time and budget for this specific step because overlooking it may cost you the entire project!
The success of your IoT project depends on its use case, market demand, research, funding and management. The bottom line is - you need an extensive business plan and be certain you can afford to develop an IoT project. Make sure you actually need it and that there’s sufficient benefits to it, that justify implementing an IoT solution (the time and cost it generates). If it does - start building and testing, you need not rush it, otherwise you will lose a lot of time and money.
Look out for more articles about the development stages of an IoT project where we’ll explore each step in depth.
If you’d like to learn more or need a team to develop your IoT solution - contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.