I wanted to create a place where companies transitioning to IoT could go to obtain fundamental knowledge governing the “IoT Critical Path” challenges in designing a commercial grade IoT device charted for global distribution and how to scale their business processes in parallel implementing artificial intelligence, business intelligence, blockchain and enterprise level data monetization technologies and best practices.
In doing so, we have aligned our business philosophies with many of the leading Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s) and have assembled the brightest minds amongst the most well positioned companies throughout the industry to form the new IoT supply chain of the future.
With our inaugural four-part segment, we will first focus on explaining the four major “IoT Critical Path” modules of methodology you should consider implementing prior to beginning your IoT product development project by adopting a “Concurrent Engineering (CE)” design process philosophy into your companies R&D organizational structure.
Establishing a Concurrent Engineering (CE) design process is critical when developing wireless-IoT devices to ensure all elements of a product’s life-cycle; from design, functionality, production, assembly, global certification testing, maintenance, environmental impact, and finally disposal and recycling are planned at the very beginning of the design phases.
Planning your design/certification activities concurrently will significantly increase productivity, product quality and will allow you to discover critical design flaws early on, otherwise resulting in costly redesigns and delays from failures encountered during official global certification testing processes.
The Critical Path in a (CE) design process is important to understand, ensuring all the design elements are taken into careful consideration at each step.
Service design is the activity of planning and organizing people, technology, infrastructure, communication and components of a service. In the Critical Path, service design is adapted to ensure service will be user-friendly and relevant to the customers, while being sustainable and competitive for the IoT Business case.
Service and Product development will ensure architecture, technology selection and cost targets will meet requirements by prototyping and using computational models. It is critical to design and validate products to meet operations and mandatory certifications to avoid critical and expensive re-design in a later phase.
Certifications and Regulatory Requirements planning is critical to be started in parallel with Development to keep development cost targets and timely delivery of solution. Depending on design and target markets, required certifications must be completed and mandatory regulations met, before being able to start operations and avoid liabilities.
Designing and controlling the process of production and operations of the IoT Service. Ensuring that business operations are efficient, high quality and effective in terms of meeting business requirements. Supervising production and the provision of service to ensure quality and overall cost of the solution offering.
Although IoT is a very popular term well-known by many, 74% of companies still fail in their IoT initiatives. (Cisco, 2017)
Despite these alarming numbers, a significant portion of organizations in the Manufacturing, Healthcare, Retail, and Energy sectors see IoT as critical to their overall success. IoT continues to rise in popularity by 90% in 2020 (Microsoft, 2020). Creating successful IoT solutions have become even more critical today than ever before and now the Pandemic is driving one in three organizations to increase investment in IoT, specifically safety and security with efficiency, optimization and productivity dominating the top reasons for adoption to IoT overall.
Research has determined the critical reasons for the challenges and failures companies are encountering in their transition to IoT are the following:
Challenges: Technical complexity in addition to lack of budget, people, and skills to implement and manage!
Failures: One third of IoT projects fail at the Proof of concept phase due to the cost of scaling, lack of clear business value/ROI and/or absence of necessary technologies!
There is a clear connection between the challenges with starting and actual reasons why companies fail in IoT
Companies perceive the right resources (human and financial) as their biggest challenge, but lack confidence in their abilities to acquire the necessary skills to create and operate successful IoT solutions. This limits their ability to completely grasp an IoT solution's true potential and restricts their ability to develop fact-based budget estimates. One of the primary root causes of failures in IoT today is the disconnect between business and technology.
Maybe you’ve heard the term “We didn’t plan to fail—We just failed to plan” for everything concurrently!
Two critical success factors of business IoT solutions and services to facilitate the deployment of successful IoT solutions exist. However, it's still a challenging task, requiring multiple integrations of several complex environments to connect different business processes with technical concepts. Unfortunately, the rampant hype continuously focuses on the new (and expensive) technologies in areas like sensors and wireless-connectivity rather than teaching companies the need to focus on generating value for the business with today's technologies.
IoT requires a new kind of thinking with a holistic approach!
Creating IoT solutions that focus on the customer is crucial to success. Above all else, companies need to establish harmony between understanding the end customer's needs, meeting the business objectives, and tempering their expectations of what technology can achieve. Building an IoT solution for your business should not only impact what technologies your company uses, but it should also affect how your company does business.
Build the right team to get started
Having a team with a holistic experience in business, technology and design is extremely important to bring successful IoT solutions to market! Collaboration between disciplines ensures companies have enough information and perspective to reduce technological complexities and often, the latest technology is not right for the IoT solution. If companies don’t have all the necessary skills in-house, they should partner with companies who can help them deploy IoT to ensure the success of their business.
Implementing the right business tools, processes and methods to foster your team's/stakeholders' abilities to achieve a more collaborative mindset will empower them to work together with greater efficiency to build a better product faster.
Service Design for IoT
Service design in this context is a holistic approach to creating value for the business. It prioritizes the solution first, then considers the processes, tools, teams, and technology to realize the service. Selecting the right methods is foundational. These steps will ensure your success with IoT.
Pinpointing the right technologies to the key areas of your business to mobilize to deliver the planned product or service is fundamental to Service design. After all, you are building more than a product. You are improving the services your business provides. This is a bold undertaking, and relying on qualitative and quantitative research to deliver data-driven insights is the support you need to progress with confidence.
Focus on value generation, not technology
Technology is developing at a furious pace and new technologies are continuously replacing one another. The latest tech comes with much hype and often under-delivers in added value. Rather than prioritizing tech, your organization should consider focusing on the tangible value that your IoT Solution can deliver to your business?
Don’t lose the big picture
IoT solutions are part of your overall business with digital and physical touchpoints. It is not enough just to design a single feature or process no matter how well you think you are doing. You must keep your focus on the overall bigger picture throughout your entire design/development project and treat your IoT solution holistically.
Take small steps and plan all elements of your design phases concurrently - (Rome wasn't built in a day)
With this in mind, your IoT initiatives should develop at the same rate at which your business evolves. Be sure that any short-term solutions align with your long term plans to avoid heading down a path towards failure. By achieving this, you will notice that IoT is serving your current business processes while generating new ways of working and identifying new growth opportunities.
With holistic Service Design, you can innovate and evaluate new growth opportunities based on facts!
There's no reason to approach an IoT project differently than you handle your business. Although, Short-term results are essential to garner support and maintain momentum, in parallel you need to plot out a long-term strategy. Thus, it is critical to take small concrete steps to develop and deploy IoT to help your business today while constantly measuring the impact of your IoT solution with corrective actions that will ensure your success for tomorrow. This long-term approach enables you to plan your investment wisely and will allow you to monitor the overall impact IoT has on your business and how evolving new technologies will keep you competitive.
Like anything new, it takes time for the market to adapt, which is why your services need to be designed with intent and deliberate caution!