Beginning an IoT project can seem daunting at first; there are so many things to consider, not to mention the fact that IoT is still in a nascent stage. If your company is thinking about starting an IoT project, here are five things to consider to get you started.
1. Proof of concept.
Many organizations considering IoT aren’t sure where to begin. Enter: quick projects and prototypes. Prototypes allow you to test hypotheses, gauge customer response, develop the mechanics of rolling out an IoT project, and fine tune security measures.
2. Think about the future.
More specifically, think about how users will connect to your IoT ecosystem weeks, months, and years down the road. Mobile devices are a great way to interact with the IoT world, but new services (like Amazon’s Alexa) are expanding how we interact with machines. If you’re thinking about voice services, augmented reality, or new devices, try to design RESTful services that help you move ubiquitously across devices. Most MBaaS providers can expose legacy services RESTfully as well as provide engagement services such as push notifications and identity management services essential for mobile to IoT interactions.
3. Look beyond current definitions.
Mobile devices aren’t just interaction points where users look at data or make decisions in an IoT ecosystem. Mobile devices are IoT devices, and they can be used to monitor a user, provide location, identity or other information. Mobile devices also have key support for NFC, Bluetooth, and iBeacons. It’s easy to extend IoT proof of concepts with WICID Bluetooth (pronounced “wik-id”) sensor packages, wearables, or near field stickers using mobile devices as an entry point into IoT.
4. IoT is about control and data.
Look at the tools that are going to lead your IoT ecosystem into making actionable insights. Think about how new data and new ways of interacting with that data can help automate or build better results. IoT sensors combined with third party services and contextual services can be used to create new ways of automating tasks. Showing graphs and trends may be useful at first, but finding ways to proactively make recommendations or control the IoT ecosystem will provide a greater value. If business rules aren't cutting it for what you have in mind, look at cognitive computing engines like IBM, Cognitive Scale, and Intel's Saffron.
5. Figure out how you are going to manage your fleet of devices.
How do you track the state of a device? How do you send a firmware update to a device? How do you secure your IoT ecosystem? The news is filled with poorly deployed IoT devices and IoT ecosystems that lack both security and management, such as nanny cams using default passwords. Determine how you are going to secure any apps and data on your devices as well as how you are going to secure the transmission of that data over the internet. Think about how you secure your mobile devices, laptops, and other electronics today. How can you apply similar technologies to manage and secure your fleet?
If you’ve recently rolled out IoT projects within your enterprise, feel free to post tips you have for others entering the world of IoT. If you’re thinking about diving into the world of IoT but don’t know where to begin regarding design and development, a Rapid Mobile App Development program such as Kony Visualizer can be a great jumping off point.