August 12 2020

As a growing number of industries look towards the Internet of Things (IoT) to maintain a competitive edge, some IoT companies are struggling to move beyond the proof of concept phase to provide solutions that deliver value.

The promise of IoT is the power to completely transform nearly every organization on the planet, from private enterprise to cities to campuses, with use cases including energy monitoring, smart parking, building monitoring, agriculture, healthcare and more. By 2025, the International Data Corporation predicts that there will be over 41 billion connected IoT devices generating over 79 zettabytes of data. While these predictions are extremely optimistic for the IoT sector, the fact remains that 75 percent of IoT projects fail, and 30% of these fail in the proof of concept stage for reasons that go beyond the technology.

Challenges Facing IoT Deployments

Segmentation is one of the biggest challenges of launching successful IoT deployments. When considering wireless solutions, organizations are typically looking to solve one particular problem at the outset, with an eye on scalability for the future. For example, cities may install a smart parking solution to reduce congestion and optimize their parking assets to support local economic development interests while improving operations. However, if the city wants to include additional IoT applications, such as wireless metering, additional interventions would be required with some technologies, which then leads to sourcing from different vendors that are unproven, unsecure and reliant on different technologies. This leaves the city with siloed data and a cumbersome infrastructure which limits the benefits of scaling its IoT solutions.

A shortage of expertise in the wireless IoT space is also a concern. New solutions being brought to market are being developed by companies that do not have experience in building or implementing IT stacks, project management, security or data analysis. These companies have the admirable goal of solving real market dilemmas across several industries, but a failure to integrate leaves these new technologies stuck at the proof of concept stage and unsupported.

For organizations that have implemented these problematic IoT solutions with the illusion that it will optimize workflow, the end result is often worse than before the technology was installed. Organizations are left with incomplete IoT solutions, integration challenges, poor device performance and a lack of trained staff to deal with complications that may arise from the new technology.

With the technological capabilities we have at our disposal to develop and implement real-time IoT solutions, these initiatives need to deliver results that will equip organizations with the ability to facilitate evidence-driven decisions.

Ways to Ensure a Successful Deployment

The most important component of delivering a successful IoT deployment is understanding the problem that needs to be solved. Whether it be energy conservation, mobility management or other types of infrastructure upgrades, your IoT solution provider must have a thorough understanding of the issue and whether it will require incremental improvements or increased capabilities that can be added to an existing system.

Following a thorough understanding of the problem, an IoT solution provider must have the insight and ability to determine if the viability of the solution is worth the technological investment. IoT solutions should deliver the data needed to solve an organization’s problem, and even though it may be tempting to “over-spec” the technology or device, it often jeopardizes its effectiveness. Some of the key aspects organizations should be looking for with their solutions include usability, connectivity, security, performance and compatibility, with key performance indicators to help ensure a return on investment.

IoT solution providers must also be able to determine what technology options are available to support emerging applications. Yes, 5G will arrive at some point to solve some of the problems, but cost is always a consideration when it comes to understanding value. In addition to future 5G solutions, low power wide area network (LPWAN) is a proven solution for applications requiring long-range and low power and low cost of ownership due partially to the fact the battery-powered devices will last for more than 10 years and require almost no maintenance. LoRaWAN®, a low power, wide area networking technology designed to wirelessly connect battery operated devices to the Internet in regional, national or global networks, is the market leader for LPWAN.

eleven-x is an industry leader when it comes to the integration and deployment of wireless IoT solutions. Tracking a 95% success rate, eleven-x provides complete device, network and application software solutions that deliver secure, real-time data and useful analytics to facilitate evidence-driven decisions. Staffed by a team of experts in hardware, wireless network connectivity, application software and data integration, eleven-x is one of the few solution providers that offer such a broad range of expertise applicable within public or private sector organizations.

Based in Waterloo, Ontario, eleven-x has been leading the way in the development of Smart Cities technologies including energy and water conservation infrastructure upgrades, as well as monitoring real-time parking stall occupancy which allows a municipality to reduce congestion (and GHG emissions), while optimizing their parking assets to provide an improved driving and parking experience. eleven-x has also developed and implemented smart building technology solutions to detect leaks, floods, and open windows or doors, monitor temperature, humidity, air quality and noise levels, room occupancy and waste bin level tracking. These technologies have also been deployed across campuses and private enterprises across North America.

While challenges remain in the development and widespread adoption of IoT solutions, successful deployments are rapidly transforming the way we live and work. As networks and IoT platforms continue to evolve through artificial intelligence and increased capacity, solution providers will be instrumental in developing scalable technology that has the opportunity to realize the vast potential of wireless IoT solutions across multiple segments.