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As obvious as it may sound, defining your IoT project's business case is an important step in starting on your smart journey. But it should not be the only one.

 

Starting your IoT project - step by step

In this episode of our IoT Masters series, Francis D'Souza, Head of Strategy for Analytics and IoT at Thales, talks through the key considerations that will help you create an effective step-by-step launch plan when starting your IoT project.

This includes determining your business's proposition and risk posture and how your technical specifications impact your priorities.

Francis also explains how IoT platforms can help you manage your IoT devices' fleet based on your use case. 

Let's jump right in.

I would break down principles when you’re starting an IoT project into three large buckets:

  • Business reasons, 
  • Technical choices,
  • Project execution.

#1. IoT and your business reasons

On the business side, you need to look at the value core proposition, the business case:

  1. What does that mean?
  2. Why are you doing IoT in the first place?
  3. Is it to do an existing business better? 

IoT to do your job better

If there’re existing machines out there and that you’re offering support services to your customers, you want to do that better and do predictive maintenance instead of – let’s say – after the fact.

That’s one use case of IoT. You might choose IoT for that.

IoT to transform your business

You might actually choose to do IoT to transform your business model completely.

Let’s say you’re a maker of coffee machines. Now instead of selling coffee machines to restaurants, you sell cups of coffee. That’s the reason you need to do IoT.

Because you can sell them fresh coffee beans when they’re running out of coffee in their coffee machine.

So, that is a completely different reason why you’re doing IoT.

IoT to amplify your business

A third reason can be that you want to use the data acquired from your IoT for your own business case, or you might want to monetize it elsewhere with other people of the ecosystem.

Of course, this needs to be done with the right privacy and encryption requirements.

Each of these three choices of how you do your business or your business case flies has implications on what follows.

What follows are the technical choices.

#2. IoT and the technical choices

The technical choices are based on your connectivity choices, security, battery, or not – things like that.

More importantly, when you’re just starting your IoT project, this area is important. It’s about the project.

How are you going to execute your IoT project?

That’s where you’ve got to decide:

  • Is it a pilot?
  • Is it scaling?
  • Are you doing a pilot and intending to scale?

If it’s the third one - as it most often is- because you’ve got the business case, you want to try one and then scale; you want to make the right choices during the pilot stage itself.

So, when you go from ten to ten thousand or a hundred thousand devices gathering data, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. 

You can reuse all the best security you’re building, all of the updates, and manageability to go from those ten to a hundred thousand devices and don’t have to start from scratch all over again when scaling.

So, there’s a lot of platforms out there in the IoT ecosystem.

What is an IoT platform, and what’s right for you?

Typically, the IoT platforms fall into five categories:

  • They help you manage your connectivity.
  • They help you manage your devices.
  • They help you manage your security.
  • They help you manage the computer infrastructure that you need for all the data that’s coming. 
  • They help you run analytics on your data.
What are an IoT platform and its benefits? In essence, an IoT platform provides a combination of advantages in building IoT systems by offering built-in solutions and features. It provides a head start for faster, easier, and cost-effective IoT architecture for developers. More here: Buy vs Build– Why use ready-made solutions?

#3. Executing your IoT project right

Based on your use case and what’s important to you, you might use a generic platform that does a little of everything or want to work with best-breed partners.

  • For example, if having secure devices and secure infrastructure is really important for you – from a liability or a brand perspective – you want to work with a security expert.
  • If, on the other hand, you’ve got millions of devices, and it’s okay if a couple of them cannot be updated or upgraded because it’s okay if a couple of sensors are lost, you might not want to focus so much on having device management and device updatability. 

Based on your use case, you decide what the trade-offs are and going for best-of-breed for each of these elements or a mix-and-match that suits your business case and need.

 

Where do we fit in?

To support its clients, Thales delivers innovative IoT technology that simplifies and speeds enterprise digital transformation.

For 25 years, our customers - in a wide range of industries - trust our IoT solutions to seamlessly connect and secure their IoT devices, maximize field insights, and accelerate their global business success.

And in the IoT, time is of the essence.

 

More resources on IoT technologies and solutions

Now it's your turn

If you have a question about IoT projects, how and where to start, or IoT technologies in general, we’ll be happy to help.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

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