When we talk about our digital transformation, we love to drop terms as “connected business” and “IoT strategy”. Not surprising, as the Internet of Things speaks to our imagination and enables us to become a digital business with all the benefits that come with it. But when we actually start deploying IoT, word-dropping is not getting us anywhere. There are choices to make, strategies to outline, technologies to explore and most important of all: mistakes to avoid. This is why, in this blog, I’d like to discuss the role of IoT devices in your digital strategy. I’ll share insights into device types, the goals they serve and the way they can help you become a successful digital organization.
What is boosting the IoT technology?
The rise of the Internet of Things is driven by three developments. First, customers are getting richer and more demanding, resulting in them looking for tailored products and services, speed and convenience. Second, new technological marvels like beacons and sensor technologies, APIs and high-tech cellphones allow businesses to offer more customer-centric services and products. Third, sector boundaries and entry barriers are fading, meaning competition is everywhere. Every day, new businesses are launched, doing the same things as you, but better and faster. Deploying an IoT strategy is the perfect answer to all of these developments, as it helps you to provide your demanding customer groups with better and faster services and products, while setting yourself apart from the crowd. And if you’re the first one to do so in your sector, chances are you’ll also benefit from the first mover-advantage. Tesla, Uber and Airbnb did it, meaning so can you.
Which types of IoT devices are there?
In a recent WSO2 white paper, director of IoT Architecture Sumedha Rubasinghe distinguishes two types of IoT devices: “mobile”, such as phones and laptops, and “other”, which can vary from a fridge to an airplane. When you use mobile devices as a main tool in your digital transformation, you turn yourself into a mobile business where employees, customers, systems, assets and processes are connected, which creates a ton of new business opportunities. To name a few: employees can work everywhere they want, teams can work together more efficiently, customers get offerings based on their location and personal preferences, business processes are integrated to optimize supply chain management and speed up time to market. A second IoT strategy revolves around “other devices” like cars, thermostats and machines. By adding sensors to these devices, you can monitor their state, collect valuable information and set in motion follow up actions. To name a few applications: predictive maintenance on cars, Big Data analyses on thousands of patients and real-time insights into energy consumption per household.
How to determine your Device Management Strategy
Mobile and other devices are perfectly compatible and can be part of the same IoT project. You can make your IoT plans as crazy and big as you like, as long as they fit into your Device Management Strategy that in turn matches your overall digital strategy. In other words: always ask yourself how each individual device will help you reach you goals. To get you started on your Device Management Strategy, I talk you through some aspects to take into account and which questions to ask. A broader description of these aspects can be found in the WSO2 white paper.
- Business planning: what are your business goals? How will devices help you get there? Which devices will you need? How will you collect, store and analyze data and integrate it with other data? How will you secure your devices and protect the privacy of all stakeholders? Can you use existing protocols or do you need to develop new ones? And often overlooked: how will you manage the power consumption of your devices?
- Product building: who will develop the product? Where will you get the devices? Do you need to hire external specialists or does your own IT department have enough experience and know-how? Who will test the product?
- Operational: what do you in case the product fails? Who is responsible for monitoring the solution after it’s been launched? How will you perform updates, maintenance and check-ups? And how much will it cost you?
- Scaling: chances are you will need more capacity in the future, meaning you need to look at scalability before you get started on your IoT strategy. What is the capability of your system, does it have the power to handle higher volumes of data and can it be expanded?
- Support: not all IoT devices will be in reach, meaning you need to find ways to remotely monitor and support them. If anything goes wrong, this allows you to take measures instantly, which is a great good when a part of your digital strategy relies on devices.
- Value creation: it goes without saying that you shouldn’t deploy IoT devices for the fun of it, but to realize a well thought-out plan. But even when up and running, always look for new and better ways to use your connected devices. Competitors either already work with IoT connected devices or will try and copy you, meaning you need to think ahead.
- Sustainability: when you combine all of the above, you’ll understand that your IoT strategy needs to tick quite some boxes if you want it to be successful. This is why a sustainable solution is crucial, as it will help you to anticipate any future changes or setbacks. This, in turn, requires a platform that can handle the amount of features and can easily connect with new ones.
This is the end…
Of this article: yes. Of your preparation: no. On the contrary. This is only the beginning! Want to know how to come up with a future-proof digital strategy that includes IoT, data analytics and APIs? Then download our white paper below.