You have an idea for an IoT project? That’s great! But what’s next? What is your business case? Are you going for a standard or a bespoke product? How do you tackle the implementation? And what are the pitfalls you need to avoid? Let us help you get started.
Before starting an IoT project, it is important to first weigh the costs of a business case against the benefits. “When a customer comes to us with an idea for an IoT project and asks us how best to go about it, we first consider all the options and together we settle on a project with the best odds of success,” says Chris Dubois, Product Marketing Manager IoT at Orange. “When deciding on an IoT project always look at things from a business point of view: what will this project bring to my company? Orange has the knowledge and the experience to think from the client’s perspective.”
What’s the next step once the business case is clear? Chris Dubois claims the first question you need to ask yourself is whether your project calls for a bespoke approach or if a standard solution will suffice: “The IoT market offers both horizontal and vertical solutions. Horizontal solutions are general enablers, such as track and trace. This type of solution is used in a variety of industries and applications: tracing products, vehicle follow-up, monitoring children or elderly people, etc. Track and trace is the perfect example of a standard IoT solution anyone can easily deploy.”
Or bespoke solution?
Vertical solutions, on the other hand, target a specific niche. “The more specific your requirements and importance of the business case for your IoT project, the more bespoke your solution will be. Companies that have founded their entire business on track and trace in order to offer specialised services to transport companies will need more than a standard track and trace solution. They opt for a bespoke solution because it enables them to set themselves apart.”
Rapid Development Kit
If your project requires a bespoke approach, then the next step is the implementation. Chris Dubois recommends testing your idea first. Thanks to the Orange NB-IoT Rapid Development Kit you can build a proof of concept and test your solution in a controlled environment. Such a prototype consists of an Arduino microcontroller, a number of sensors connected with loose wires and a connection with a cloud server. Although not production-ready, this setup is ideal to test your idea.”
Minimal viable product
If the results of this test look promising, then you can develop a new version, a so-called minimal viable product. “All components are soldered onto an initial version of a PCB, which is then tested in the production environment and under the conditions in which the end product will also be operating,” Chris Dubois explains. This way you can assess whether the solution is adequate for mass production..
If the evaluation is positive, the hardware and software are further optimised. The PCB is miniaturised, a housing is developed, the software is made stable and secure, an upgrade mechanism is provided and the back-end with cloud server is linked with your IT system. “In this phase it is important to find a reliable partner to manufacture the software,” Chris Dubois adds.
Chris Dubois concludes with a few tips that will help make your IoT projects a success:
- Invest sufficiently in change management for your projects. “Your project will run much smoother if your staff are convinced of your new and optimised processes.”
- Make IoT projects central to the operation of your business and implement them cross-company. “When multiple departments collaborate on the same IoT implementations and share their data this creates a great deal of added value.”
- Start small. “First find out if the project can yield a return, then implement your project on an industrial scale.”
- Take security and privacy into consideration from day one. “Security and privacy are key factors in the acceptance of an IoT project.”
- Integrate old and new technologies “Make sure your new IoT system is easy to integrate into your existing systems.”
Would you like to take your IoT project to the next level? Then come and talk to Orange. We have the knowledge and experience to help make your IoT project a success.