The Internet of Things has taken hold and is here to stay. What was first a vague buzzword has now become a household name, as people start to embrace these smart and connected devices. But what does this mean for your product or service, and business? How can you envelop this IoT trend?
IoT is different to Programmable Logic Controllers in that IoT devices are connected to the internet and have the ability to carry out multiple activities. For example a coffee machine maker that is connected to an app on your phone will freshly brew your coffee when you turn off an alarm on your phone because it knows you’re getting up. The app could also alert you to fill up the ground coffee beans because the maker is running low, all because the hardware is connected to the Internet and is constantly feeding information to and from your mobile app.
Programmable Logic Controllers, on the other hand, are pieces of equipment that have been designed to carry out processes and make engineering processes easier due to their controls – assembly lines for example. The machinery follows a specific set of instructions and doesn’t vary from the norm. IoT devices can take these a step further as they have information stored in the cloud that they can use to make future decisions, for example if something goes wrong on assembly, drones with cameras can pinpoint where the problem is and personnel can then control the connected device to fix the issue.
Things to Consider if You Want to Make an IoT Device
You believe your product can be transformed into an IoT but is this just a lot of hype?!
1. Think About Your Audience
At the end of the day, what you think might be a wonderful product might not be of the slightest interest to your audience. Simply asking your audience would they use your new IoT product is not enough either. You have to take the time to investigate your audience behaviours, what their real frustrations are and how your product is currently solving that. Would connecting it to the cloud and giving your user an app hinder or progress their situation?
2. Assess Your Resources
IoT devices are complicated to create and require a lot of cash flow to fund the new teams and rigorous testing process, as well as the updates afterwards. It is not simply a case of looking at your current engineering team and seeing who’s most eager to take on a new project. You need to plan and reach out to the wider network; technology, data analytics and security companies that help you build out your ecosystem.
3. Accept Failure
Wireframes and methodologies are still evolving in this area which means if you delve into IoT research and development, chances are you are going to have a few hurdles to jump over. Accept that your product may not work out the way you had planned it to, or that production will take a lot longer than expected. Finding the right teams that mesh well together and can take a “fail fast, fail often” approach will come out the better for it (once you have the funding!) in the future of IoT.
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