How to Overcome 3 of the Biggest Obstacles to IoT Innovation

October 2, 2019 - 7 minutes read

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become an essential tool for modern businesses to maintain an edge over their competitors. As a result, organizations have either already established their own IoT endeavors or are racing to do so. In a recent study, 98% of businesses claimed that IoT was a top priority, with 25% saying it was their most important initiative right now.

Unfortunately, another study revealed that 90% of respondents are experiencing difficulty in implementing IoT solutions. To help you accelerate your IoT innovation, we’ll take a look at three of the most common pitfalls hindering IoT initiatives — and how you can overcome them.

No Clearly-Defined Objectives for Your IoT Initiative

Developing an IoT program that’s optimized for impact begins with identifying what you want to accomplish. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses start implementing an IoT initiative just because that’s what everyone else is doing.

To get the most value out of your IoT projects, you must build a compelling and sensible case for why this technology can solve specific problems for your organization. Whether you want to improve efficiency, boost productivity, or increase profitability, nailing down these ambitions helps elucidate what constitutes success.

Besides this, outlining these objectives also helps you recognize which data is the most important to monitor and use. Consequently, you’ll be able to measure progress towards your goals more accurately and figure out what’s working and what needs to be worked on.

Lack of Broad Expertise

All too often, organizations believe the key to success is bringing aboard expert developers from San Francisco to build out their IoT vision. While assembling a team of tried-and-true technical talent is certainly prudent, it isn’t the only factor that determines your results.

Most IoT initiatives will require a healthy mix of technical, operational, and management backgrounds to get the job done. By bringing together this variety of experts, your team will not only possess the deep technical knowledge required to build your vision but will also have a clear understanding of how it will help streamline business processes and solve longstanding problems. Similar to what we previously discussed, this, in turn, will help inform the team on how to approach deployment and what success looks like.

Because the ideal IoT team is comprised of members from various backgrounds, managing it presents a new challenge for most businesses. To address this, many organizations are creating centers of excellence (CoE) to simplify this process. A CoE is essentially a central governance system that enables your technical and operational team members to efficiently align on initiatives and collaborate openly. Establishing a CoE will help your IoT implementations stay on track towards the right goals.

Failure to Connect the Dots in the Data

Intelligent data processing is perhaps the most integrant component of any IoT endeavor; how you collect, connect, and understand your data will ultimately determine your results. But when you consider the vast scope of a typical IoT ecosystem, doing this successfully is easier said than done.

From monitoring sensors to smart buildings to internet-connected forklifts, there are usually numerous sources of data in an IoT ecosystem. Organizations must put systems in place to efficiently collect, analyze, and act upon this immense amount of structured and unstructured data. It is imperative to establish these systems early on since it’s likely you’ll be adding more connected devices to the ecosystem down the line, which will only make things more complex. But if you get ahead of this, you can actually tap into more efficiency.

To see this in action, let’s look at an example of a connected motor. Each time this motor functions, it draws a certain amount of current. By monitoring this, you can calculate the number of times the motor has operated. Once the motor starts drawing excess current to function, this may be an early sign that it’s starting to fail and in need of repair or replacement. If you integrate this data into the operational side of your business, you could automatically trigger the order and shipment of a new motor, thus reducing any potential downtime.

Now let’s pretend that this motor was installed on an elevator equipped with IoT sensors as well. These sensors let you know how often this elevator is used and when peak usage time occurs. By combining the data of the elevator and motor, you can schedule preventative maintenance when it’s least disruptive to the operations of your organization.

Obviously, this use case is simplistic compared to most real-world IoT scenarios. As more connected devices are added to your ecosystem, a mixture of different solutions will be required to pool all of this data together and make sense of it. It’s inevitable that your IoT system will keep on evolving. To get ahead of these changes, you must have a comprehensive platform in place that allows data to flow seamlessly between all connected devices. By doing so, you’ll be able to quickly parse through this information, identify what’s valuable, and take appropriate actions immediately.

IoT Innovation Takes Work

IoT offers infinite opportunities for organizations to improve their operations. But getting there can be an arduous journey. By establishing your objectives early on, recruiting the right people to make them a reality, and leveraging your data appropriately, this process can be substantially simplified.

What IoT initiative is your organization working on? What roadblocks have you encountered? How did you solve them? Let us know about your IoT experiences in the comment section below!

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