Every day, we see hundreds of articles on the Internet of Things. Slowly but surely, this concept is becoming a part of our lives, and we will be using it so much more in the future. But still, the Internet of Things can be a little confusing, especially when we are talking about making IoT a business basis.
What kind of technologies are required to actually make something “IoT”? How do you create an IoT solution that’s efficient, scalable, cost-effective, and still captures the interest of your customers? These questions undoubtedly crossed your mind when it came to IoT products. In this guide, we’ll try to answer all of them so that you can turn theory into practice.
However, let’s begin with the basics.
What Is the Internet of Things?
In simple words, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents the concept of physical devices, such as sensors, united into a network that gather data about the surroundings and communicate it to the processing center via the Internet. This data is then analyzed and turned into valuable insights.
IoT has been used in a number of industrial sectors, including healthcare, retail, smart cities, agriculture, and manufacturing:
These are surely not all industries and use cases because there is no visible end to developing IoT devices. According to Statista, the IoT device market will grow to 29 billion devices by 2030.
In general, IoT products can be classified into three categories: consumer IoT products, enterprise IoT products, and industrial IoT products. The consumer IoT segment includes smart home appliances such as smart thermostats that allow consumers to control the temperature of their homes remotely using mobile applications or voice commands.
The enterprise IoT segment includes devices such as security cameras that allow businesses to monitor their premises remotely using mobile applications or voice commands.
The industrial IoT segment includes devices such as sensors that monitor temperature levels in factories or oil rigs so that they can be controlled remotely in case there is any problem.
All of the IoT devices that were mentioned require a basis on which they will work and constantly communicate with other components that will gather and process the data that sensors gather. How to do this properly? First, think of the architecture.
How to Create an IoT Product: Choosing the Right Architecture
Building an IoT product isn’t easy. IoT solutions are complex systems that cover both hardware and software. To deliver a high-quality and stable IoT solution, you have to prepare the technological ground for it. It’s especially important to think ahead. IoT solutions are applied in spheres where the amount of data gathered can grow by leaps and bounds. This means that you have to be technologically prepared for future growth, more devices, and higher loads.
With IoT solutions, it’s critical to choose an architecture that won’t require a redesign in a few years and will be capable of responding to increasing business and customer needs, and will be flexible enough for the implementation of new functionalities.
In this case, the most appropriate type is a layered (or n-tier) architecture because IoT solutions consist of multiple components that can be properly organized through layers. Usually, you will deal with a three-layer architecture:
- A perception layer represents physical devices that collect information about the environment, equipment, and so on.
- A network layer is responsible for connecting all devices and transmitting the gathered information to cloud processing centers.
- An application layer is software that uses IoT devices and information gathered from them to deliver specific services to end users. In this case, you can choose a type of architecture for an application layer as well. A microservices architecture is a great one to build IoT applications, as it enables better scalability and flexibility than, for example, a monolithic architecture, ensures quicker data processing, easier integration, and better speed.
The specifics of your business can require the use of more architectural layers for your solution, if, for example, you would like to place an additional data processing layer for quicker data analysis.
Architecture is indeed important. The wrong choice can affect the scale of your business in the future. However, it doesn’t matter how great the technological side of your solution is if the solution isn’t profitable.
Let’s talk more about making your IoT product profitable.
How to Build a Profitable IoT Product?
The Internet of Things is one of the hottest markets around right now. However, many people don’t know where to start when it comes to creating an IoT product that’s both suitable for their business and profitable. All too often they either create an unusable product or one which is just a product with only limited use. We want to change this. There are four simple yet workable steps that are necessary to follow:
Step 1: Define the product’s purpose and function
This is the most important step in developing your product一you have to decide what your product will be about and what problem it will solve for people. You can either create a new product or modify an existing one in order to make it more useful for customers.
Step 2: Determine your target audience
After defining your IoT product’s purpose, you need to determine its target audience. Try to answer questions like these: Who will use your product? Does it solve their problems? What are their goals? How will they accomplish those goals? This step helps identify what makes your project unique from competitors’ offerings as well as what makes it valuable for customers who may be considering other options as well.
Step 3: Research the competition
Once you have decided on what you want to do, it’s time to find out whether there is a market for your idea, or if there are already similar products available on the market. You need to research the competition. How do other companies in your industry solve these problems for customers? Do they offer similar solutions as yours? If so, how does yours stand out from theirs? How successful are they? Are there any alternatives from other companies?
As soon as you’ve answered these questions, you’ll see how the market works, what businesses and customers really need, and what basis you should build your business on.
Step 4: Plan each detail
Develop an outline for how your project will work from start to finish—including both hardware and software components—so you know exactly what needs to be created for it to work properly when finished and how much time it will take to complete each phase of development. You can also consider building a prototype of your product that shows potential customers how it works.
After you have completed preparations, developed a strategy, and are ready to create your IoT product, there is a new challenge you have to solve: who should you build your product with?
Finding an IoT Development Partner
When you have an idea of what kind of IoT product you want to develop, it’s time to start looking for a reliable IoT development company.
It’s important to select a team that has strong knowledge of IoT development and can help you move your idea from concept to reality.
Finding the right software development company is not an easy task, especially if you don’t know what aspects to consider:
- Certification: You need to make sure that the company has been certified by an independent third-party organization such as ISO or any other international certification body. Thus, you’ll be sure that the company satisfies all necessary requirements for developing and implementing your project successfully.
- Experience: A reputable IoT development company should have years of experience developing similar projects for clients from various industries such as healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and so on. It also helps if they have worked with multiple industries so they can offer valuable insights into how different industries operate and what challenges they face while developing their own products.
- Team size: The size of a team depends on how big your project is and how complex it is too. You want someone who has enough resources for your project. If you need a team of 10+ developers, then make sure the company has enough people available for your project; otherwise, you will get stuck with someone who cannot meet your expectations, which isn’t good for either party involved in this type of business relationship.
- Reviews: It’s important to search for reviews about your chosen IoT development company before you sign any contracts with them. Make sure to do research on the internet before making any decisions so that you can find a good fit for your business needs and budget.
- Strategy: This step is crucial because it helps you understand how they work and how much effort they put into each project. It also helps save time, as you can quickly assess whether they are right for your project or not. To evaluate their strategy, look at how they approach each phase of the development process一from initial contact through communication up until delivery and post-delivery一and whether it suits your needs well enough.
You’re Ready to Conquer the Market
At the end of the day, there’s no single formula or recipe for success in your IoT project, but there are certainly some factors you can take into consideration and things you must do to set yourself up for success. Be sure to pay attention to choosing and bonding with the right development company, and make sure that you choose a solid IoT platform. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be more likely to create an IoT product that can truly stand out from the rest of the pack.