Guest post by Janeiro Digital
The Internet of Things (IoT) is speeding towards the future, and that future is a fully connected one. Nearly everything we bring into our homes and lives is tethered to the internet at all times and, as a result, significant gains have been unlocked that benefit our daily lives.
In the industrial IoT space, where scale, scope, and potential may be much larger, creating valuable connected products can be a hundred-fold challenge. Just because you are able to connect a piece of equipment to the internet and back to your enterprise systems doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. In many cases there is clear benefit for the end user, but not every piece of farm equipment or heavy machinery will suddenly become more effective or mission-critical once it’s connected.
Different organizations may find themselves at a different stage of the journey depending on their own levels of preparedness. In order to navigate the way effectively for your organization, it’s important to identify where you fall within the stages of the IoT lifecycle.
If your organization is just beginning to explore IoT as a key component of business and growth, it’s crucial to know where you’re starting, and what exactly you and your stakeholders are hoping to accomplish.
Your starting point should also factor in the realities of your current technology investments. This “technical debt” is a key consideration during the strategy phase. New efforts will need to be prioritized alongside existing IT deployments. The goals are to avoid neglecting core systems or creating any fresh technical issues and to position the business for more evolutions in the future.
Knowing what you have is as important as knowing who you have. The team may be a hybrid of new hires that have alternative skillsets alongside existing personnel ready to adapt their skills to this new IoT environment. Your plan will need to factor in any training or recruiting required to support your IoT efforts with your people – both short term during implementation, and long term on an ongoing basis.
Investigating these “whys, whats, hows, and whos” of your business will help establish a realistic case that justifies your upcoming efforts.
Any IoT deployment will require ongoing monitoring to ensure your device has consistent uptime to manage loads, handle security threats, and more. There are many options available for building out the monitoring infrastructure needed for your IoT initiative.
Building a scalable infrastructure requires making the right choices up front with business, product, and customer needs in mind. This will set you up to handle and analyze all of the new information coming in from connected devices.
At this point, the customer’s perspective really comes to bear as you learn how to deliver value. Always be certain you are introducing control mechanisms and features that lead to useful outcomes. Once you’re able to, it can be thrilling to continue adding enhancements. Be careful, though, to not spend time, effort, and money on infrastructure or features that don’t actually make the product more useful for users.
At the same time, plan, design, and build with security in mind. The volume of valuable personal information and device data travelling across the internet is growing every day. It’s more important than ever that it goes only where it’s meant to and is seen only by those who are supposed to see it.
Now you’re seeing for yourself the reason you’ve gone through this transformation – data. Carefully consider how to package, display, and react to the information you now have at your fingertips. New opportunities will begin to present themselves. For instance, a connected product may begin to feed data about its own usage back to the product design team. This creates a unique scenario for the product’s “voice” — captured and considered by design and engineering teams — to influence its own iterations and enhancements.
One of the most important human concerns when it comes to connected devices is how much autonomy your users will tolerate. Not every activity that can be handled automatically by a device should be. Finding the right level of unprompted behavior is extremely important for making sure your customers feel comfortable with the devices, machines, and hardware they’ve incorporated into their work and lives.
Keep the customers in mind at all times and make sure you’re delivering a level of independence in their devices that matches both their expectations and their needs.
A full exploration of what will make or break your new project and what the current technical landscape looks like is key to making informed decisions about what to build and how. Many organizations skip over this crucial stage because it can be a challenge to achieve full alignment across all stakeholders and “unstick” legacy thinking.
Some say the devil lies in the details, but with the right planning and approach, it can be avoided.
Webcast: Ask the IoT Experts
McKinsey predicts that the economic impact of the Internet of Things on product makers, factories and other complex systems will reach $11.1 trillion a year by 2025. To join in this potential revenue, organizations will need to transform the way they compete and work.
Join our panel-style webcast to learn more about the trends and use cases of the IoT phenomenon. Executives from PTC and Janeiro Digital will present and then take questions from our live audience. Don’t miss your chance to interact in real time with these IoT experts!
View the webinar now on-demand: https://www.ptc.com/en/internet-of-things/ask-the-experts