December 20 2018
The promise of IoT [Internet of Things] is the connection of billions of sensors securely communicating data to the Cloud. This sounds great and very aspirational, but the reality is that in today’s connected world there really isn’t a “one size fits all” in terms of solutions. Whether it’s that no two organizations are the same and each has their own goals and objectives, or the fact that even off-the-shelf solutions require some level of customization, the IoT landscape is very much fragmented.
A closer look at those organizations wanting to initiate IoT solutions tells us there seems to be a common trait amongst them, a singular area of focus. This focal point can manifest in a couple of forms: it could be a point of pain stemming from either an under-performing or completely non-existent program or service – an example would be wireless meter connectivity for real-time data collection. This service can improve operations and the whole customer experience but can be expensive to implement or infrastructure was deployed recently, and wireless connectivity appears to have to wait. The second type of focal point is drawn from an area of expertise held by an organization – an example being a city that has an open-data platform but doesn’t have the means to feed the data that will help improve the it’s services and programs.
In both instances, the organizations have an idea of what they want or need to accomplish, but when looking at deploying complete solution, they find applications that aren’t scalable, doesn’t work properly or there simply isn’t a provider that can help them navigate from device to network to cloud to data. A common problem in the industry is that large incumbent companies have done an amazing job scaling up and are built for massive deployments. The question is, can they scale back to deliver the “right tool for the job” – a singular pilot or deployment, or is it a large platform that can only scale up?
IoT Made Easy by Selecting the Right Solution Provider
With organizations seemingly stuck in this state of “suspended animation” of not being able to easily go from concept to deploying a complete solution, how can they move forward? There are a myriad of solution providers making various claims of expertise levels and to ensure organizations do not overcommit or go with a solution provider who has overstated their expertise, each should do a thorough search and review of full integrated solution providers. The checklist outlined below will provide some direction on key attributes that should be vetted during this due diligence.
Key Attributes of a Full IoT Solution Provider:
- Knowledge of full “IoT stack”
Do they understand the full spectrum from device to wireless connectivity, cloud integration and connectivity of data pathways [from direct back office connectivity to customized data dashboards]?
- Understands wireless connectivity
- Connectivity is the key to any wireless data collection solution yet can be the most overlooked aspect. Secure, reliable wireless connectivity, without blowing budgets.
- Offers a complete, scalable platform from single pilots to full roll outs
From device to data, the key components include; sensors, a customizable hardware platform to ensure sensor integration when/where needed, reliable wireless network, network operations, security, sensor management, data visualization and data storage.
- Can demonstrate successful implementations
Lots of providers will say they can do something, but it’s a different story to be able to demonstrate with real-world applications and references.
- Has experience and expertise
Not only have they done the deployments, but they have a seasoned team of experts to ensure pilots and programs stay on track and functional throughout their lifecycle.
- Provides an exceptional customer experience
- Is the solution provider able to provide insight and support for every step of the way – from pre-project consulting including network planning, through deployment of the network and sensors to post integration support and maintenance?
Whether you are looking to get going with a Smart City or IoT pilot or moving to a roll out of an existing application that is currently being tested, know what your objectives and your success metrics are, and do your due diligence. Look for the right solution partner that will make IoT easy and help you efficiently go from device to data.