3 ways to avoid IoT misfires

  • Without proper planning, you could end up with a lot of IoT devices that don't add value to your business.

  • IoT projects should solve a quantifiable problem.

  • Data from IoT devices needs to flow seamlessly into your existing apps and systems to provide insights that could help your company run more smoothly.

First, there were basic mobile phones. Next came smartphones with enhanced features and functionality. Now there is the Internet of Things (IoT), the next wave of connectivity that could challenge many of the ways we live and work .

Perhaps the real challenge, however, is defining how IoT will benefit your business and how these benefits will shift as the technology matures. Without careful planning, you could end up with a lot of one-off IoT devices and technologies that don’t work together or with your existing systems. And that benefits no one.

To help prevent your company from spending time and money on IoT projects that don’t add value, make sure that IT and operations leaders are collaborating on deployments that will:

1. Solve a quantifiable problem. Come up with projects that support performance indicators like increased production, reduced shrinkage, or first call resolution in field service. If you work for a manufacturing business, you might design an IoT device that can warn you when a critical piece of equipment could be about to malfunction. Developers in the healthcare industry might propose building a sensor that constantly monitors refrigeration areas to help ensure medicines are stored at the proper temperature.

Ideally, your project should have quantifiable results (such as fuel savings), but it could also be estimated (like revenue gained by increasing uptime).

2. Decide what data will be analyzed when. While you should have a centralized store for your IoT data, you don’t necessarily need to store all your data. You can derive instant insights from some data by processing it immediately after it is collected, then store it with the rest if you want for further analysis. For example, data from an aircraft can be analyzed at the airport for immediate action, then sent to the airline’s headquarters for later use in tracking overall plane maintenance and operations.

You’ll need to define which situations require immediate analysis and evaluate tools that meet analytics at the edge and evaluate tools that suit the varying analytics needs. For example, a company might require streaming complex event processing at the edge and a combination of batch and predictive analytics at the data center. Eventually, most companies will move from basic machine learning alerts to predictive insights and, in certain cases, automation.

3. Build a comprehensive integration strategy. Too often, companies focus on connecting IoT devices, and storing and analyzing data. This is a great first step. However, actionable insights aren’t achieved until the data is seamlessly integrated into your applications and workflows. For example, a plant manager should be able to view and act upon an alert, such as abnormal equipment vibration, from his existing management app rather than a separate analytics dashboard.

Similar to the mobile industry, the Internet of Things will evolve over a period of years. But it’s important that you begin to build a solid foundation based on these three factors today. AT&T’s IoT experts can help you identify and implement the best strategy and technologies to link your networks, devices, and data.

Maribel Lopez is the CEO and mobile market strategist for Lopez Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in communications technologies with a heavy emphasis on the disruptive nature of mobile technologies. All opinions are her own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.


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