More and more companies are preparing for the IoT project. What pitfalls lurk in the implementation. Device Insight learned in more than 150 IoT projects. Findings that we have summarized in 10 tips for IoT Projects.
According to the current IDG study IoT 2018 , every second German company is currently preparing an IoT project or informing itself. Whether the project will be crowned with success depends on whether the right prerequisites are created in advance. So the implementation of IoT is a highly complex undertaking: it requires in-depth know-how and concrete practical experience. IoT projects are fundamentally different from conventional IT projects.
Even years of knowledge from the introduction of IT systems help only conditionally. However, there is no such thing as a patent recipe for the successful realization of IoT projects. The individual customer requirements and operating conditions are too different. Nevertheless, experience shows that there are some tips for a successful implementation of an IoT project.
How complex the topic is, shows the following consideration: For example, in the industrial IoT , which is said to have the largest market growth, suitable IoT services in the automation segment are in demand. However, the industry mostly works with very heterogeneous systems, systems and communication protocols.
This makes the introduction of a new technology particularly complex. Another explosive factor is the fact that IoT projects change not only the processes but also the business model of a company. The search for promising solutions is therefore no easy task for those responsible. The following ten tips should help to set the right course right from the start and avoid typical “pitfalls” when implementing an IoT project.
1. Predefined internal and external benefits
IoT basically includes both new technologies and a wealth of process and business model optimization measures. It is therefore all the more important to become aware in advance of the processes and the internal as well as the external customer benefits that one wants to achieve with them. Based on these findings, it is important to develop a business model or to adapt the existing one with regard to IoT. In this way, it is plausible to determine how, with which architecture and with which technology, the IoT data flow can be managed.
For example, if a company wants to make quick money itself with the new IoT concept, it should be careful to define simple services based on the needs of its end customers, which can be quickly cleared. Thus, the IoT solution pays off quickly by itself and, more importantly, the company learns early on a lot about its target market and can target its services. The prerequisite for this is an IoT platform that can be adapted and commissioned with little effort and requires no high investment to support new, complex services.
2. Develop business model together with IoT service provider
The IoT service provider should be involved in the development of the business model. It thus happens that the business model itself demands the IoT platform or envisage processes that do not fit into the task area of ??the platform. In this case, communication must be open from the beginning. Thus, a company benefits immediately from the expertise and advice of the IoT service provider. And, that is, it is (almost) always a solution. Competent IoT vendors are always ready to integrate the implications of the services they want to deliver into the IoT platform and develop the right tools for them.
3. Start small – then remove
Investing in a complex IoT project pays for itself during ongoing operations. Therefore: Start small and gradually expand the IoT platform – for example, in terms of services with artificial intelligence and Big Data. Our tip: Start with forecasting services based on simple algorithms. Basically, the selection of technologies should be geared to the process-oriented challenges of the end customer.
A high focus is on the ease of use. In theory, a platform may be still economical, but in practice it is ultimately the case that the relevant users are barely able to handle it. Important in this context is a “proof of concept”, with which not only the technological, but also the economic feasibility is checked. Three questions have been asked at the beginning of the development of IoT solution: is the project going in the right direction? Can the internal processes keep up? Does the end customer really have the hoped for added value? Only if these questions can be answered with “yes”, one should think about an expansion of the IoT project.
4. Integrate early-experienced partners
Practical experience beats theory. What is important is a partner in theory, but he can only contribute his experience from previous projects. There are often unforeseen challenges in the implementation of IoT projects. Therefore, work with experts who have already solved or similar problem cases in the past.
5.Standards instead of innovations
In almost all IoT projects, users expect one thing above all else: rapid integration and rapid roll-out. Our tip: It is better to implement a basic service than to fail at innovation. Innovations are not always the measure of all things. Orient yourself to standards instead of technologies that they are not needed at the beginning of the IoT implementation.
Think of your target group, ie your customers and employees, who first have to make friends with the new system. Proven standard technologies minimize integration risks, accelerate the project, and create added value did end customers pay for.
6. Define clean project management
IoT projects are cross-sectional projects because they are not only managed by the technology, development, or service departments, but involve all areas of the business. This requires a project manager with a clear mandate from the management, who keeps the strings in his hands and controls the implementation of IoT across companies. The implementation of IoT and Industry 4.0 projects is a management task.
New customers, new business models and their own employees. The emotional side also plays an important role here. Superfluous. Instead, they have to credibly communicate what new perspectives arise through IoT .
7. Combine human and artificial intelligence
Just because a new technology or system was introduced in the course of IoT conversion does not mean that one should rely on ” artificial intelligence “. The recorded data streams must continue to be monitored, understood and above all interpreted by the employees. It is important that the machine intelligence of the IoT platform and human know-how be coupled. Otherwise, an IoT project will miss its purpose and give away the potential to transform a business forward-looking. The combination of artificial intelligence in the form of machine learning with rule-based approaches based on expert knowledge of the (end) customer has proved its worth.
8. Evaluate safety risks in IoT project
Of course, so-called “incidents” also occur in the IoT area: for example, IoT devices are attacked in order to use weak points and gateway, paralyze servers or steal data . For IoT projects, security should be the top priority, with the user bearing responsibility. Infrastructure, server and cloud platform including all updates must be sustainably secured in order to minimize attack surfaces.
The greater the number of self-sufficient IoT devices, the greater the risk of security vulnerabilities. The simpler the infrastructure is set up and the fewer interfaces the provider provides, the fewer entry points there are for criminals. Reputable IoT providers therefore already introduce their own security concepts during the strategy discussion. The selection of hardware also affects the implementation of IoT security and communication protocols. That’s why companies should be flexible and sustainable, because even the most powerful hardware will not hurt if they can not respond and adapt to new requirements in a year or two.
9. Train employees without over straining them
For most customers, IoT projects are new territory that needs to be linked to existing business. To speak in the words of Michael Dell, founder of the PC manufacturer Dell, it is as if to teach a successful football team suddenly basketball at a high level. For example, leading machine manufacturers and equipment manufacturers have to deal with the innovative and complex IoT technologies, and in doing so become the IoT service provider to their own customers. A central task here is the comprehensive employee training and the creation of new structures and responsibilities in order to build up the necessary IoT competence within the company over time.
10. IoT service provider should fit in with your own industry
Other than one might suspect, the Internet of Things does not have “one fits all” solutions. Technologies must fit exactly to the application. Therefore, it is essential for an IoT provider to have a good understanding of the specific tasks and requirements in a market, industry or project environment. Experiencing proven technologies and standards is therefore important in ensuring that new development works well in day-to-day business. Therefore, care should be taken in the selection of the service provider on domain and domain knowledge, which can therefore be proven.