Common Pitfalls of IoT Projects: Reason Four

There is No Internal IoT Expertise

While IoT seems fairly straight-forward to business leaders, for many IT departments, IoT projects require a set of skills that might not exist in-house. For example, do we expect IT to figure out how to put sensors and radios into products? In some instances, the products in question are made by other companies and IT has no control over the internal mechanisms.

Retrofitting existing devices for IoT might be a recipe for disaster

Expecting your internal IT teams to figure out how to retrofit existing devices for IoT might be a recipe for disaster. And, it can be even more complex than that – in order to implement wireless capabilities in devices, you have to understand radio technology and the physics of radio waves. This is hard core physics – the kind of science that requires people with PhDs. Just designing an antenna requires very specialized skills. Thinking about what substrate materials radio waves have to pass through is equally complex. And, if you solve these challenges, you still need to get data out of the building. What technology do you use? Wi-Fi? Cellular? LP-WAN? NB IoT? Where do BLE and Z-Wave fit into the picture? Do you have to have multiple technologies to support a variety of implementations?

Confusing stuff.

IoT data is not like any data your IT department has collected in the past.

Let’s suppose you have the resources to get your devices connected. What about the data you’re going to be gen- erating? Where are you going to collect it? On-site? In the Cloud? Some IoT implementations have millions of devices talking constantly. The rate of data, the amount of data, and the time it takes to process the data all contribute to the quality of the data. It’s great to get accurate data about a dispenser being out of soap, but if it takes two days to tell someone about it, it might as well be bad data. Your data collection platform requires an extremely scalable, reliable architecture.

Consider the user and how they interact with the data

Who are your users? Are they external users?

Many companies we work with have never created apps or applications for their customers to use. Think about our imaginary custodian – what is he or she using to see that a dispenser needs attention? A smartphone? A tablet? A smart watch? Does your IT department have the skills to build apps for these kind of users? IoT apps used in the field require a whole new design philosophy. We’ve seen data-rich apps fail because they were just too complicated for the skill level of the intended user base.

Simply put, IoT projects require a lot of different skills and disciplines you might not have in-house. Coupled together with the significant number of technology decisions, you will be making, finding the right external partner(s) who can help you avoid pitfalls and mistakes is critical to your success.